candidate experience

Like Your Kindergarten Teacher Taught You

“Candidate experience.” It’s a phrase you are seeing and hearing everywhere these days.

Many blogs, articles, podcasts, and webinars cover this topic, and you will hear about it during any HR or recruiting event more than once. It is definitely trending right now.

But what everyone is calling candidate experience, I call good old-fashioned manners. Like you learned in elementary school.

Be sure to say please and thank-you, respond when spoken to, don’t interrupt, etc.

This is what we in recruiting need to remember.


I have been in the recruiting world for a few years and have worked with different companies, a lot of different recruiters, and many, many candidates. I have seen the best and worst of them all. What was always mind-boggling to me was the recruiters who became a black hole.

They would engage a candidate and then leave them in the dark – sometimes after an email, and even at times after multiple interviews! Ghosting, as they like to call it now. It has never made sense to me whether we are in a hot or cold market.

First, like mama said, that is just plain rude.

Second, it makes you AND your company look bad. Candidates remember the ones who leave them high and dry. And they aren’t afraid to share it. I myself had this terrible experience after what I estimated was eight hours of interviewing!

Any time I spoke of that company, I steered people far away from it.


Being dishonest is an obvious no-no! But some recruiters still do this.

They lie about the openings they have, the clients they have, and some will even submit someone to a client without even telling the candidate. Be honest with your openings. If you do not have a current opening a candidate fits, let them know.

Share with them how often you usually get these types of roles and do your best to keep them warm. Most times, they are willing to continue working with you, especially if you have that great reputation and are known for candidate experience.

And if not, that is OK, too. Sometimes it is all about timing.

With clients, every recruiter works with different clients, and candidates understand that.  Do not try to pretend you are working with a client if you are not. This almost always comes out and can potentially harm your reputation and make your company looks bad. And again, it has always been mind-blowing to me when a firm will submit a person’s resume to a client without their permission! I have heard about this multiple times in my career.

This situation is bad on several levels. First off, this is being dishonest with your candidate and your client. It can put the candidate in a bad position if they have given another firm permission to submit them to that role. It can put the client in a bad position. If they receive the resume from two different firms, they have to decide on how they want to proceed, and it can leave a sour taste in their mouth.

And sometimes they just rule that candidate out completely to not deal with it. They could also show interest and NOW the candidate is unavailable when contacted. Remember: Honesty is the best policy!


If a candidate applies, even if they are not a good fit, respond, and thank them for their application. It only takes a few seconds and you never know how that can reap rewards in the future.

If you have spare time, you can even share suggestions for the candidates. Kindness really does matter. As a candidate goes through the process, keep communication open. Share with them steps, helpful feedback, suggestions, etc.

If the candidate is not a good fit, no matter the reason, let them know. People would rather have closure than wait and wonder. If you are able, share constructive feedback to help them in the future.

People appreciate the simplicity of good manners, and they also remember it. If someone asks them about you and your company, even if they weren’t hired, they will say positive things which leads to positive outcomes for you and your company!

Remember, it’s as simple as doing what your kindergarten teacher taught you.

Jennifer Jamme

Jennifer Jamme is a Senior Recruiter with Impact Advisors focused on Healthcare Technology Recruiting.  She has been involved in the recruiting industry for over 20 years in a variety of industries.  She is passionate about recruiting and helping candidates and clients to succeed and candidate experience is very important to her. She loves spending time with her family and supporting her kids in all they do.