The importance of managing candidate expectations

5 minutes

The importance of managing candidate expectations

We’re currently experiencing a candidate-driven market, where there are more jobs available than there are candidates to fill them. And when candidates have the upper hand, it’s up to employers to make sure their businesses are more attractive than the competition. So you need to think about the impression your organisation gives – from the very start of the recruitment process to the very end.

Why is this important? Because you want to attract the best candidates. That means not just looking like the employer of choice, but backing that impression up with action, culture and approach once candidates turn into employees.

So here are our top tips on how to manage candidate expectations within your recruitment and onboarding process:

Be consistent

From your initial job advert to your induction presentation, the look and feel of your communications should be clear and consistent. That means using consistent messaging and delivery across all the places candidates might come into contact with you – whether it’s face-to-face, on your website, or on company review sites like However a candidate comes across your business, they should get the same feel and impact.

Be clear

You want your candidates to feel that your organisation is for them. If your communications around job adverts and applications aree unclear, dismissive, confusing or off-putting, you’ll have fewer applicants and those you get are likely to be lower quality than you want. Being clear and upfront about salary, benefits, working environment and culture will help to attract the best candidates and will demonstrate that you’re a company that knows what it wants and will work collaboratively with candidates to achieve your goals.

Communicate well

Good communication is a crucial part of the recruitment process. Candidates should always know where they are in the process, what is expected of them and what the next steps are. It will also help you to keep the process organised internally. This includes how you communicate what you expect at interview – a presentation or a report or an in-box challenge – so that your candidates can prepare. The better you communicate, the more confident your candidates will feel, and the better able you are to assess their qualities and abilities.<

Have an efficient process

You need to keep your candidates engaged and motivated – especially when there’s no shortage of other roles for them to apply to. So making them go through five or six stages to get to an offer position means you’re wasting your time and theirs. Ultimately, candidates will go for the easiest option, and that means they’ll choose other companies over you if your process is too long. Before you start, know exactly what you want to get out of the process, stick to your plan, and ensure it is efficient for all parties involved.

Give feedback where you can

A candidate-rich market means that there are more disappointed applicants. Being a good employer isn’t just about how you treat the people who work for you – it’s about how you treat everyone. So make sure that you get in touch with candidates who didn’t make it at interview, to let them know they haven’t been successful, and to give positive feedback if you can. This will be good for your reputation, and may encourage good candidates to apply for other positions within your business.

Many employers are surprised at how much difference managing candidate expectations can make. You get more motivated candidates, more open candidates and a more manageable recruitment experience. It doesn’t cost much to do, and yet it can help you find the best candidates for your organisation. Are you doing everything you can to help your candidates have the best experience?