If you think candidate experience best practices include picking each of them up in a limousine and having their favorite meal waiting for them, you probably aren’t alone. But while the competition to hire developers is undeniably fierce, treating them well throughout the interview process doesn’t have to be expensive. In many cases, all it takes is a little extra planning in advance. To help you make a great impression on developers at every stage of your hiring process, here are a few common elements of a great candidate experience.
All too often, developers travel to interviews with little to no knowledge of where they’re going and who you’ve scheduled to meet with them. To put them at ease before the big day, email every candidate an interview agenda in advance. Start with logistical details like a clearly defined date and time, directions to your office, and the name of the person the candidate should ask for upon arrival. Including a list of the interviewers they’ll be meeting, each person’s job title, and the order in which they’ll be meeting them helps you create an even better candidate experience off the bat.
One of the biggest candidate experience mistakes I made as a recruiter was letting my outreach fall through the cracks. I’d often chalk it up to the fact that I didn’t have any news to share, but I ended up losing sight of the fact that this radio silence made candidates anxious. Not only that, but it also gave them the impression that the entire organization was disorganized and didn’t consider them a priority. Of course, it’s tough to wait on a hiring manager. But if you tell a developer to expect an update from you on a specific day, reach out to them at that time whether you have an update or not.
Let’s face it: sometimes your interviewers run into a broken dishwasher or an unexpected delivery at home on the day a talented developer is scheduled to meet with them. And while it’s never fun to reschedule an interview, developers tend to understand when these types of things happen. Whenever you need to find a new time, give the developer an honest reason. Developers are much more empathetic about the situation when you mention that your engineering manager came down with a sudden cold and isn’t available to chat (as long as you’re not lying through your teeth).
Any developer you interview is a potential advocate for your company. Simply saying “thanks, but no thanks” to candidates you’ve decided not to hire might save you some time now, but could harm your employer brand. If future candidates hear through the grapevine to expect a negative candidate experience with your company during the technical hiring process, it’s not very likely that they’ll want to come work for you. In fact, atop the list of candidate experience best practices is to offer feedback to developers you’re rejecting. While this won’t necessarily ease the sting of being declined, this feedback will also show developers that you were on their side throughout the interview process.