I’ve heard the term “candidate experience” tossed around quite a bit since I began my career as a recruiter. At first I didn’t pay much attention to it. I thought, I’m doing my job, getting candidates on the phone, potentially getting them in touch with the hiring manager – isn’t that enough of an “experience”? It’s not.

Performing the bare minimum on the candidate side as a recruiter is certainly not promoting the right candidate experience. I believe at times recruiters are becoming too concerned with the client/company side of their job, and are not focusing as much as they should on candidate expectations.

Even if by the end of a phone call with a candidate both sides have determined that the job at hand is not a great fit, you still want that candidate happy. Why? Because as a recruiter, you are the face of the company. Your contact with candidates may very well be their first (and possibly only) interaction with the company you represent. You want the candidate walking away from that call thinking maybe I’m not the best fit for that particular job, but I’d still like to work for them someday. Let me tell ALL of my friends how cool they are! A positive experience is not only restricted to the 15-30 minute intro phone call – it includes before and after the phone call.

Here are four points to follow to ensure your candidate is having a positive experience after they have expressed interest in the role you are recruiting for.

1. Be the one to schedule: Be proactive here. Don’t assume that since you received a resume or an interested response to your email that the candidate should pick things up and run with them and offer a time to speak. Ask the candidate what time would work best for him or her, and adjust your schedule as best you can. This is your job! Make it easy and clear. Set expectations from the start as to how long the call will most likely be so the candidate can adjust his or her schedule, as well.

2. Don’t jump off the phone: “Oh you don’t have your Bachelors degree? Goodbye!” That is not professional! Engage in conversation even if from the get-go you realize it’s not going to work. Why? Because otherwise you are being rude. I am not suggesting to give the candidate false hope, but it’s extremely obvious if you end the call immediately after they say something “wrong”.

3. Pay Attention: Even if it’s your tenth call of the day, this could be the person to fill the job. Don’t let her get a bad impression by distracting yourself answering emails or checking your Facebook page. Pretend that each call is your first of the day – the candidate deserves it! She has probably been preparing and thinking about your phone call all day, so give her the respect she deserves by delivering your utmost attention.

4. Follow-up: “I’ll get back to you by end of the week!” If you end your calls this way, you better stick to your word! Even if you haven’t heard feedback from the hiring manager, at least update the candidate with that information. Otherwise, you are making it seem like this candidate does not matter at all, and proving negative recruiter stereotypes true. Don’t have enough time? If a candidate isn’t a fit by the end of the call, explain it right then so you don’t have to follow up. Does the hiring manager take forever to respond? Take the time to explain that in your first call, as well. Don’t set up false expectations and then not follow through. It looks SO bad – not only for yourself, but for the company you represent.

Overall, it’s important to remember that no matter how good or bad candidates may be, you should ensure them an excellent experience. Not only will they think highly of you and be more likely to refer a friend, but you are promoting the company you represent in the most positive way.

photo by: striatic

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