The Role of HR and Hiring Managers in the Candidate Experience


The Role of HR and Hiring Managers in the Candidate Experience

Hiring managers are a critical piece of the candidate recruitment and onboarding process but are often left out of the loop. In a recent CareerBuilder survey, 82 percent of hiring managers say they view the candidate experience as an important issue, yet only about 16 percent of hiring managers are prepared on this topic. HR needs to take the lead and bridge a partnership with managers during the hiring process.


Start by showing managers why the candidate experience is important. Many hiring managers forget how frustrating the hiring process can be from the candidate’s perspective. Reminding them of negative interview experiences from their past and how those experiences made them feel may help them to relate to the applicants. Having data on hand, such as statistics on the current labor market and how that impacts the candidate pool, may also convince managers of how critical the candidate experience is.

Areas where candidate experience can be improved graph


It is always important to approach the recruitment process with a sense of urgency, but if it is a tight labor market then this becomes even more important. The hiring manager should understand they need to sell their organization to the candidates. Some managers may still be under the assumption the labor market favors employers, with a large labor pool and few available jobs. While that differs from industry to industry, the market is now largely candidate driven.


HR should give managers a review of the recruitment process before it begins so they know what to expect. Setting clear expectations about each phase and how long it will take can help ease a hiring manager’s frustrations with the process. Some managers may expect to submit a position requisition and see applicants the next day, which is unrealistic. They need to consider realistic time frames for each phase.


Formal training for hiring managers should be comprehensive, starting with an overview of the hiring process, how to begin and end an interview, what questions are appropriate to ask, any prevalent legal matters and finally, how HR will follow up with a candidate.

Managers may also require training on competency-based behavioral interviewing. A behavioral-based selection process works by asking applicants to provide answers from past experiences. It is based on the premise that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, while at the same time being objective and consistent.

For example, an interviewer may ask the applicant to describe a time when they had a problem with a customer or coworker. Questions are focused on selection criteria such as knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs). These competencies should be defined in the position description and be the same KSAs a person will be evaluated on if they were in the position.

Bringing hiring managers into the candidate recruitment process earlier and giving them the insights and tools to conduct appropriate and thorough interviews will have long-lasting effects as it improves the candidate experience and creates a more seamless hiring process.

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