3 questions to ask around candidate experience

Written by
Changeboard Team

29 Jul 2016

29 Jul 2016 • by Changeboard Team

A keynote speaker from the 2016 TREC conference, Adrian Wightman, UK head of resourcing for global energy group RWE (owners of UK supplier npower) helps answer some frequently asked questions around creating the best candidate experience. He identifies three key questions you need to ask:

1. Are your candidates getting what they need from the resourcing team?

RWE used surveys to try and understand if candidates were getting what they needed from the experience they had when progressing with the hiring managers. For Wightman, it was vital to find out whether candidates were performing to a high standard at interview, and if they were coming away with a great impression of the organisation. 

Questions were asked around the interview experience and quality of feedback given. While answers were generally good, Wightman felt the business could only be properly judged by reference to how other companies were performing. Being able to speak with peers facing similar challenges is key for Wightman, which is why he has joined the Good Recruitment Campaign which gives him the opportunity to benchmark his organisation against others, and use the campaign principles to improve candidate experience within RWE.  

2. How are you gathering feedback from candidates?

Finding out if candidates get what they expect during the application process is key to understanding candidate experience and improving on it. Within RWE, the candidate experience feedback survey has now evolved from questions on the specific interview process to exploring the whole candidate lifecycle. All candidates were asked, regardless of interview outcome about their experience of the candidate portal, whether the website had all the information they needed, the quality of their interactions with the resourcing team and the overall environment. 

The answers have helped shape amendments to the overall recruitment lifecycle. Each candidate now receives a pack that provides them with all the links and information that they need to perform well. Previously some of this information was stored in different locations and not always visible to the candidate.

Considering the interview process as a one-way street is naive, argues Wightman. As well as introducing an interview toolkit for all hiring managers, which helps to ensure a consistent approach to  interviewing and assessment, survey results are also regularly fed back to managers. This helps them think about the way they interview and how successful they are in selling opportunities to candidates, as the observations of interviewees are crucial. Using such an extensive survey helps RWE gather feedback from candidates throughout the process, not just at the end i.e. once the candidate knows the outcome. Instead, on the same day of each month, all candidates in the recruitment process are invited to take the survey, so RWE gains an objective view of the process from candidates at all stages. The survey asks whether they would be interested in working for the organisation regardless of the outcome of interviewing. 

3. How are you acting on candidate feedback?

Candidate feedback is very important, but it must result in action from the business. Wightman believes that sharing feedback with the person who interviewed will improve the experience of the next person interviewed – and this is the primary purpose of the candidate feedback survey.

Underpinning all recruitment activities at RWE is the opportunity for benchmarking against other organisations, which the Good Recruitment Campaign enables.

Wightman says: “The Good Recruitment Campaign is important because it promotes best practice across the recruitment industry and the organisations involved in it. The value we have got from it is twofold. It’s given us the opportunity to compare our performance with other organisations, and it’s also given me the opportunity to learn and share best practice. We have been able to attend events where we have heard practical solutions that we can implement.”

Adrian is on the advisory panel member of the REC's Good Recruitment Campaign, for more information on the Good Recruitment Campaign click here

To find out more about REC and its work, including The Good Recruitment Campaign, visit: