What is the Candidate Experience and why does it matter?

I believe that nowadays when talent attraction and talent acquisition as terms are vital to every growing company, there is also a new term to add to the list. A term to describe recruitment processes from the candidate’s perspective – and it’s simply called the Candidate Experience. Defined in a few words it means how candidates perceive and react to the hiring company’s sourcing, recruiting, interviewing and on-boarding processes.

Let me tell you why I find this very important.

Companies do not have almighty power anymore when it comes to recruiting and hiring. They are the ones choosing one candidate over the other, so in a sense they do have the power to make or break a career, but the true power lies with the candidates. The candidates can say if the service they received (service being the interview, test assignments, communication with the hiring manager or HR, etc.) was so good that they would do it again, or recommend it to a friend – or if it’s something everyone should avoid – and the answer can be found from the Internet. Together with all the modern communication means, communities for social sharing and apps to review and rate, the candidate has the power to tell what she/he thinks of the company, and they do have an audience.

How often have you started boycotting some place after receiving bad service? Not going to that certain restaurant as the food is always cold or there’s a fly in the soup? The same applies in recruitment these days. If you get bad service from a company, why would you buy their products or play their games?

Glassdoor is probably the most widely known TripAdvisor for candidates – and employees. If you had a poor experience you can simply leave a bad review on Glassdoor, and future applicants can read those when doing their background checks of the company.

We, Games Factory Talents, have decided to take action regarding this and have created a specific Candidate Experience program for our Talents. It includes giving advice in employment matters in general, advice and webinars about creating a CV that gets recruiters’ attention, practical information on how to prepare for the interviews, what to look for in an recruitment process, among other topics. We realize this is just the start. We are ready to define this program along the way when we get to interact with our talents, and shape our services to meet their needs and wishes at the same time as we try to locate good job opportunities for them.

Many of our customers are studios without a dedicated recruiter or HR person who would own the recruitment process. Despite this we are happy that most of the hiring managers we have met understand the need for good communication during the recruitment process. For applicants the days can feel like weeks, and keeping them informed about the process is very much appreciated. If you are an employer wondering how to handle the candidate experience, what it means in detail and what it takes, send us an email and let’s chat. We want to bring excellent experiences to people applying to games industry positions – and that’s easier to do with the hiring company.

Here are my thoughts for the candidates – when it comes to sharing your inner thoughts on Social Media about a company that didn’t realize your potential for the role they had. Remember that there are many moving parts going on in recruiting and hiring functions, so please think before you post anything negative. You do not need to fully understand all the reasons or excuses (if you get any), but you can show compassion even if the company chooses to ignore you fully. It’s always better not to burn the bridges you haven’t stepped on – even if you decide to not cross that bridge now.

Of course, in case you have experienced harassment, clear discrimination or similar bad or even illegal behavior that no human should need to face – please do speak about it and let someone else in the same company know (higher rank executive or HR person), as there are cases where those kinds of interviewers are let go from the company.

You have the power – use it well.

-Miia Hakala, Talent Manager

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