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How to Improve Candidate Experience During the Hiring Process

Securing staff is essential to delivering pioneering life sciences achievements, but how do you make the right hire? It used to be a simple process of putting out job adverts, sifting through applications, interviewing a few people and choosing the best of the applicants. But in today’s world, this approach rarely achieves success.

Instead, biotech companies need to proactively market their culture and promote their successes to attract the attention of potential job-seekers. The trouble is that the skills necessary in startup and scaleup organisations are much the same across a number of industries, and the best candidates may not always consider a career in the life sciences field.

It becomes essential to create a captivating and flexible hiring process that attracts the attention of all suitably experienced and qualified candidates, one which allows the recruiting organisation to pursue those candidates that they believe to be the best fit for their vacant positions.

The way in which this is achieved is by focusing on the candidate experience.

What is the candidate experience?

In very simple terms, it is the way in which a candidate engages with the hiring process. It is the way that the interactions with the hiring organisation make them feel, and it determines the actions that they are likely to take as a result.

When a candidate has a positive experience with a hiring organisation, even if they are unsuccessful at an interview, they will tell others, and good news spreads fast. By providing each and every candidate with a good experience, it is possible to bolster the business’ reputation as a fair and transparent employer.

Conversely, when a candidate feels that they have been left in the dark or that the means and type of communication and engagement that they have had with the hiring organisation has been less than ideal, their feedback can spread fast and have negative repercussions for the hiring organisation.

What steps can an organisation take to improve the candidate experience?

The first thing to note is that all candidates are human and must be treated fairly and compassionately. Organisations must erase bias from the hiring process and fairly consider all candidates against the same set of evaluation criteria.

They will need to determine at the outset which vacancies they wish to fill and the qualifications and experience that the successful candidate must possess. They should also identify areas in which they are willing to be flexible. For example, a lack of experience dealing with venture capital funding may not necessarily be a blocker if the candidate can demonstrate a sound ability to negotiate and rationalise financial information.

The firm will want to identify the means by which they wish to target their chosen demographic and engage in relevant forums and networks to raise their company’s profile and pique the curiosity of potential job-seekers. This activity also enables the hiring organisation to begin to understand the types of people active in their chosen field, to identify any whose values and desires align with their own and to make targeted approaches to any particular candidates that stand out as being well suited to the vacancy.

The business should ensure that it projects an appropriate image, detailing insofar as is possible within the bounds of confidentiality and security, what someone could expect should they choose to join the firm. They could encourage existing staff members to contribute to social media postings, share achievements and engage in networking events that highlight the type of culture that is prominent within the organisation.

In-person interactions may be of particular interest to early stage European biotech companies who have yet to establish a loyal online following. Although participation in relevant LinkedIn groups and topics can generate interest, there are measurable benefits to attending in-person events. Attending networking events and conferences offers these organisations the chance to establish meaningful connections with others within the industry, to share information about the plans and past successes of the organisation and to promote the vacancies that are available.

Once the hiring process is well underway and a number of candidates are being assessed for their suitability, it is essential that the hiring organisation communicates clearly and regularly with them, letting them know which stage they have reached in the process, what will happen next, and the dates by which they will receive further communications.

It is essential that promises are kept and that candidates are never left wondering whether they have been forgotten about. Should any candidates be dismissed early in the process, the hiring organisation would be well advised to provide them with useful feedback to help them to improve their performance, should this be necessary, ahead of applying for their next role.

Candidates strive for clarity, so issuing clear timescales and providing the necessary supporting information at an early stage is key to ensuring that candidates are well prepared to navigate the assessment and interview process and to complete any necessary screening activities and tests that may be necessary. Appointing a designated individual to handle candidate queries simplifies this process and ensures that a fair and level playing field is maintained at all times.

Creating a good candidate experience doesn’t require innovation; it is really just all about people skills and treating others as you would wish to be treated. Make good use of the technology that is available to network, promote the business and communicate with prospective candidates. Consider the use of video interviews to streamline the process, saving time and money. Ultimately, creating a good candidate experience comes down to the effectiveness of the organisation’s culture and communication strategy.

For tailored support in creating a streamlined and effective hiring process for your organisation, please contact ScaleX Consulting today. Our expert team can help you to plug the gaps in your existing process, market your company to its target audience and secure the workforce that is necessary to achieve your next life sciences breakthrough.


If you found this insight interesting, we recommend reading What should you do when a candidate creates a strong first impression?

ScaleX Consulting offer trusted biotech business consulting and life science recruitment services, to help you take the next step in your journey.