3 Ways to Strengthen the Pre-Candidate Experience


Pre-Candidate_Experience.pngAbove, an image of CloudLock’s careers page

If you think candidate experience only starts to matter the moment a candidate applies or when you source them, think again.

With the wealth of information available online and the simple power of word of mouth, your employer brand is working for or against you to shape your candidate experience before you even know it. Every experience a candidate has with your company counts – including the ones they have with you before they’re candidates.

You’ll never be able to control one hundred percent of how a person perceives your company. A negative Glassdoor review or less-than-happy former employee are inevitable for a company of any scale. But while companies can’t eliminate every negative impression and experience, they can go a long way in maximizing the positive ones.

Here are three tangible ways you can take the pre-candidate experience into your own hands.

Build a recruitment marketing team 

Central to the recruiting philosophy of Eventbrite, the world’s largest self-service ticketing platform, is the belief that relationships rule. As their director of recruiting, Mike Bailen, says, he wants to shrink the overall pipeline by filling it with warmer, more qualified talent at the very top of the funnel so that recruiters have more time to create relationships with candidates throughout the rest of the process.

To make that vision a reality, Eventbrite has more than a recruiting team, they have a recruitment marketing team too. The full-time team is dedicated to building out “warm” talent pipelines through efforts like blogging, social branding, and events. Their talent pipeline manager (which is a position Eventbrite actually invented), Kathleen Kiang, says that this approach is what “sets us apart from other recruiting teams. Even if prospects aren’t looking for a role today, we treat everyone as if they’re an active candidate.”

By building such a strong online presence and positive reputation in the tech community, Eventbrite has less “selling” to do once the best people officially become candidates.

Leverage video

CloudLock, a cloud security company, has a careers page that makes their culture shine. It’s packed full of the awards they’ve won (like ranking #3 by Glassdoor for best places to work in 2016 for small and medium companies), photo after photo of team outings and activities, blurbs sharing their culture and values, and even fun facts about the team.

One of the most unique parts of CloudLock’s approach is how they use video to differentiate. “People need to start thinking about how to redesign their careers page to capture interest. Writing a bullet point description of a candidate’s responsibilities is not enough anymore,” says CoudLock’s HR manager, Jess Miller.


The story of the “chicken llama” is a pristine example of the way video brings a company’s culture to life to attract talent in a way that text, or even photos can’t. The fun, two-minute video describes how CloudLock’s co-founder and CTO, Ron, tried to draw a dinosaur on a whiteboard while on a call with a customer to convey the message that the person on the other line was stuck in their ways. It looked more like an odd combination of a chicken and a llama – thus, the chicken llama. Forever after, the drawing become a symbol at CloudLock reminding employees that they’re part of a transformation, helping customers take advantage of what the future has in store. By turning it into a video, it’s now a story that candidates can appreciate, too.

Of course, writing about CloudLock’s chicken llama doesn’t do the culture quirk justice – that’s why there’s a video.

Provide transparency

18F, a civic consultancy inside the General Services Administration (GSA), focused on modernizing the way government approaches technology, also invests heavily in their careers page. Whereas CloudLock leverages video, 18F focuses on radical transparency, providing great detail on their mission, benefits, and pay.

18F even sets interview expectations upfront by explaining the process step by step, giving candidates (and those who are considering applying) a level of transparency that they wouldn’t receive  at most other companies. Before you interview at 18F, you know you’ll have a preliminary screening, followed by an in-person or video chat interview. You know the qualifications you’ll be evaluated for. You can even find information on the specific team you’re interviewing for. If you’re applying for the content team, for example, you can expect a technical, problem-solving, and core values interview.

Candidate_Experience_Ebook_-_18F_Careers_Page.jpgCompanies all over are thinking of innovative ways to attract top talent and generate inbound interest. We’ve provided only a tiny set of examples, so don’t be discouraged if you’re not positioned to initiate these three efforts immediately. A simple audit of your social presence on sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn is a good place to start.

To see more examples from what companies like you are doing today, and learn how to shape your candidate experience throughout the entire recruiting process, download our ebook, Connecting Your Talent Touchpoints: How to Build a World-Class Candidate Experience.