Tips for a Great Candidate Experience

I am so proud of Chess Capistrano, one of our amazing Recruiters. (All our Recruiters are amazing!) She was endorsed for Niche Talent Acquisition by one of the candidates she gave regret feedback to. Of course, selected candidates had wonderful words to say, too, about their Candidate Experience. Cheers to Bev Geronimo and Nic Sigua here, too!

I have made a few friends from when I was myself a Recruiter. Most of them from those I gave feedback to which helped them land a job elsewhere eventually, some were hired. We still talk and they still consult me on HR, leadership and career move matters.

A note from a candidate who reached the final round of the interview process.

Now, that Candidate Experience as opposed to…

Jen who was invited for an initial interview in the Shared Services of one of the biggest global Companies. Jen was excited and even though she lived far from the office, she was willing to commute for a chance to work with this Company.

She arrived early, only to realize that there were 11 others booked on the same slot as hers. Everyone arrived early.

Problem was, there was only one initial interviewer, who did not start on time… Anyhow…

Alas, after 5 hours, it was her turn.

Regardless, whether you hire this candidate or not, the starting point of the relationship was not nice and was very likely to make an impact – a negative one. For sure, the interviewer had no intention of this whatsoever and maybe just thinking about efficiency. So, here are tips, small and big changes that we can employ in our Recruitment process to make candidate experience a better one.

Why is Candidate Experience So Important?

I will give you 3 reasons.

  1. This is to be the starting point of your employee-employer relationship. You want all sort of relationships to have a sweet start.
  2. Even if they don’t end up working with you, they could be an ambassador for your brand. You always want good things said about any and all associations with you better be positive.
  3. Last and certainly not least, they are human beings who deserve respect. Respect that is shown by the below tips…

5 Tips for a Great Candidate Experience

Map the interview process and set proper expectations.

It’s never a positive experience to not know where you stand and what will happen next. Everyone needs clarity and certainty. So, from when a requisition is filed, lock your interview process in place. Then, communicate this to the candidate from the get go.

Don’t make them wait.

Properly and thoughtfully schedule interviews. Be there on time if not ahead of the candidate. No one wants to be in Jen’s shoes as in the above story. Everybody’s time is precious, including the candidates’. This is a basic expression of respect.

Nowadays, employers are no longer giving candidates a favor by inviting them. Candidates are more like customers. Now that changes things, doesn’t it?

Make Interviews Conversational

What you want to do is to put them at ease. Not to scare them. Not to position yourself as the all powerful. Especially, not to drain them. Some interviewers are, themselves nervous and stressed during the interview. The candidates then feel uncomfortable as a result. So, foremost, relaxed and comfortable recruiters and hiring managers are key. You want to simulate your actual work atmosphere (which we hope is nice and friendly) in the interview.

This way, too, you get the best from your interviewees. People generally perform better when they are at ease because they can focus on the question or task and not worry about anything else.

Provide real-time, honest and tactfully crafted feedback

I think this is most popular, and not in a good way. Recruiters’ seeming inability to provide feedback to candidates. They use the term “ghosting” as in when someine initially pursuing you suddenly and without warning disappears to thin air. In a sense, this is understandable, especially in cases of volume hiring. Difficult, but it can be done. There’s technology nowadays that recruiters can leverage. So, no matter how challenging, it is an imperative to give feedback.

But what’s key here is how much personalization you can do and how helpful your feedback is. It is also wise to onboard the Hiring Managers in giving feedback becuase this is something that they can do even before they end the interview. There’s higher percentage that they already know whether pass or fail midway through the conversation.

Collect Only the Needed Data Per Application Step And Keep All Records Confidential

Many years ago, I was invited to apply by courier service Company. I was scheduled for my initial interview and was asked to bring all necessary documents which included my birth certificate, entire family’s birth certificate, transcript of records, several 1×1 photos to name a few. Seriously? Initial interview documentation requirements? No!

Each document for a reason and requested at the right time.

What other candidate experience best practices would you like share?

Any candidate experience nightmare so far?

Coming Up: 30-Day Confidence Challenge

Join me and my team as we take on the 30-Day Confidence Challenge. Here, we build on the confidence that we already have. Yes, even the shyest person has it deep down. It just needs to be unleashed for greater success and happiness in your career and all your relationships.

More on this on Feb 26th. Day 1 of 30 days start on March 1st.

Thank you for visiting. 

For Strengths Coaching and HR Consulting, please send an email to As a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, I am happy to join your personal, family and team development journey.

For more HR, Employee and Leadership related topics, follows me on Engagement Imperative, LinkedIn and  Facebook

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

5 Reasons Recruiters Should Not Discriminate Against Employment Gaps and Short Tenure

Once Upon A Time

When I did Recruitment for the very first time, I was keen on looking for lengthy tenure with no employment gaps. Back then, lengthy tenure would mean about 5 years or more.

There are more qualifications, of course, on top of these two, but these were filters.

I had my reasons. I wanted to hire for keeps. This would of course mean minimized attrition and no backfill hiring.

Don’t get me wrong. It has worked! The folks I sourced and endorsed have been with the same Company for about 4 years now. All 40+ of them, save but 1 who went back to a job in another country.

But, what about those whom I screened out? Was it fair for them?

Then It Struck Me

I had to experience a short tenure + employment gap myself to realize that it’s not all so bad. It also wasn’t a reflection of bad attitude and not always about poor performance. No. Not always.

I started to be fair, I realized. The more I spoke with individuals who have these gaps and short tenure or both, my perspective widened. I am sharing my learnings with you.

For starters, there are certain factors beyond an individual’s control. Then, there are decisions that you make because of stronghold to your principles and values.

Here’s Why

It is a possible indicator of inner strength and stronghold to values.

My friend from college left a multi-national Company (hence an employment gap) because of Company practices that went against her principles and sense of integrity. Indeed, this Company was in the news in the past due to involvement in a huge public health scam.

Now, in comparison, I interviewed someone who has been with the same Company, a local brand, for the past 10 years. She said, she’s now exploring because she got tired of all the errands, both work related and personal requests from her boss. Up to this point, it’s understandable. As we went on in the interview, she said that she has been asked many times to re-write their books to lower their tax obligations. Which she did. This was not even the reason this lady was exploring. No employment gap and not clear sense of integrity.

S/He is Certain about his/her priorities in life.

Some life changing events may entail leaving the workforce momentarily to focus on ones health or baby or family. For example, some women may opt to leave a job to take care of her baby when no one else could. She might then later re-enter the workforce when the the circumstances are more favorable.

Of course, my dear Recruiters, be very discerning because this is also a popular excure. Just cross check when this is real vs. a publicity reason.

A rested mind make a stronger comeback.

It’s been a year since I started drafting this article (and I do hope to publish this tomorrow) and I have started hiring, regardless of the gaps in employment. And boy, what gusto, life and energy they brought to the table! They are just so excited to be back, so willing to learn and absolutely fired up to not only meet but also exceed expectations.

There are Managers who aren’t good (to say the least) at managing nor leading. Let’s face it.

Culture is a popular concept nowadays. However, while culture might be a broad concept, it can be simplified into one person – the immediate lead! To the employee, this lead is the Company culture’s ambassador, a representative. So if they experienced poor leadership, they leave, and they say it is because of Company culture. When in fact, they are leaving because of their Manager or Supervisor.

I have a coachee who opted to leave a rather good Company, with good benefits with clear prospect of career growth and awesome colleagues. This coachee was and still is an A-player, a performer, a key contributor. So, the stakeholders are taking good care of him/her. Yes, his/her own Manager wasn’t. His/her Manager have been a micromanager and credit grabber, let’s just put it that way.

If indeed something went wrong in the previous work, next Company benefits from all the learnings.

Now, let’s say, something indeed went wrong and the employee was either terminated or is at the brink of being terminated, do you think this employee would want to repeat this experience? No. This employee would want to redeem himself. This is a natural tendency of the human being.

In Certificates of Employment, rarely would you see “terminated” or “had disciplinary issues.” This is true. Why? Because we all want a second chance for the employee to have a good life, a chance at redemption.

So, should you go about hiring people who’s been let go by other organizations? This is not what I’m saying. But you may choose to. The key is honesty. To start a good relationship, you need full transparency.

One high ranking Director was let go owing to a harassment case. He was a performer but values are strong and there’s just no room for such behavior. You might think, what will become of him after what he’s done?! Now, he is now a Vice President, still a top performer, and a lay minister in church. Now, talk about a total turn around!

Events in our lives teach us lessons and how we grow from them is what defines us as individuals, not the events themselves.

Do you have an employment gap? Would you like to share how it came about?

For Recruiters, what’s your principle around this matter?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting. 

For Strengths Coaching and HR Consulting, please send an email to As a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, I am happy to join your personal, family and team development journey. 

For more HR, Employee and Leadership related topics, follows me on Engagement Imperative, LinkedIn and  Facebook.

Featured image by makyzz at

10 Employee Onboarding Tips

What was your best employee onboarding experience?

Certainly, your worst onboarding experience came to mind, too, am I right? How was it?

The onboarding stage is when the employee joins the Company up until 6 months or one year, depending on the complexity of the Company and the employee’s role itself.

I’ve seen an instance where 40% of employees in this stage left the Company, disengaged and probably regretted their decision to join. That’s a lot of waste in Recruitment and Training (if any, that is) cost and a dip in employee morale – both that employee who left and those who were left behind, time and again.

Why is that? Can something be done?

Yes! Employee onboarding experience need not be a gray area. Regardless, whether an employee decides to stay or leave, the onboarding experience is still very crucial to speed of adaptability, sense of belongingness and overall employee engagement to the team and the Company. 

So, let’s get started, shall we?

Special thanks to Leziel Ramos, my model for this blog post.

Pre-Onboarding Preparedness

Before any hiring could take place, a demand (in most Companies) has to be logged. It usually takes 30-60 days to actually hire a candidate. In between logging the demand and employee’s 1st day, both HR and the Hiring Manager are involved in the process – interviews to approval of compensation package. So, everything’s planned. Or should be.

Apart from recruitment activities, the Hiring Manager should also be mindful of the needed physical assets – workstation (clean and clear of anything from previous occupant), laptop, headset and phone requests, should be made as soon as a demand is logged. Can you imagine starting work only to find out that your laptop would arrive in 2 weeks to 2 months’ time? Well, believe me it has happened. If it has happened to you, your team or the project that you support, don’t worry. It doesn’t have to happen to your next hires.

Now, have a discussion with the employee again to set expectations – both what the employee can expect and what is generally expected from the employee. An example would be culture, dress code, schedule adherence or flexibility, etc. HRBP or Recruiter does this. The more thorough setting of expectations will be with his/her Manager.

Onboarding/Training Plan

In some Companies, the Training Plan is a requirement for Managers to submit so they can log a demand. I think that is a clever idea. This is very important, however often missed out.

A good onboarding/training plan has entries from employee’s day 1 to 6th month or 1st year. It does not have to be a daily run down of TO-DOs but can be weekly for the first 2-3 months to a monthly plan after the 3rd month of employment. It should incorporate required trainings, meet-and-greet, shadow/reverse-shadow exercises, goal setting, feedback, everything that’s important for the role.

This should be ready before employee joins.

Your Onboarding Plan should also include timelines, expected completion dates, owner/responsible and status. It is best for the employee, the hiring Manager and the buddy (if any), to each have his/her own copy for progress monitoring.

If you have budget, there are apps now that help you in the process, but you have to build it with content that you like.

HRythm is one such application.

This is not a sponsored post.

Day 1 Special

Nothing beats opening the door and being pleasantly surprised by what you see. A warm welcome always adds positive points to the Company and to your employee’s engagement.

One of the Companies I joined had my name on the LCD screen in the building lobby, with remark “Welcome Emile Bautista!” Now this does not cost any and very little is needed in terms of preparation, but that made me feel special + lunchout with my boss and client + some pancit (stir fried noodles) and team salu-salo (to enjoy a meal together) in the afternoon of the same day. Boy, did I make the right decision.

New Hire Swag

This is not really required but a great statement. A great way to advertise your Company, too.

What is the new hire swag? Here are some examples…

Be creative, whatever your budget maybe, you can come up with your own new hire swag. It doesn’t have to be as grand as these examples. Remember that any small thing you do will be greatly appreciated by your employees.


Part of proper onboarding is helping them find their anchor, and part of that would mean helping them network with other employees who may have similar interests or background.

Usually, this takes the form of joining clubs or employee organizations. Sometimes, as simple as introductions will do. For Companies with big headcount, having new hire meet-and-greet activities is beneficial. This means all hires within the defined dates will be invited to this networking event where they have the opportunity to get to know others who share the same employment phase as themselves. Most new friendships develop from this activity.

Office Tour/Plant Tour

No matter how small or big your office or plant is, this is an important step. It is helpful from knowing the emergency exits, to where the rest rooms, the cafeteria, and other offices are. This is a good opportune time, too, for the new hire to meet his/her new officemates and visit the office of the Leads.

Welcome and Inspiring Talk from Top Leaders

A sense of purpose is very important and exactly is served and ignited by this conversation. Top Leaders to welcome the new hires, share with them the vision of the business, and how new hire’s role can contribute to fulfillment of this vision.

A recording from the Company President/CEO/COO/CHRO will be great! However the top leaders in the site would create more impact here especially because they can do so live and in person. This is what’s more important. It doesn’t have to be 1-1, it can be groups of new joiners for the month or so.

Sharing own career journey, engaging new hires with more getting to know you questions and sharing growth story of the Company are all excellent topics within this meet-and-greet and inspiring session.

Set Objectives/Goals

Now, within the first month the objectives or goals should have been defined. This is a non-negotiable. It has to be documented and agreed by both the manager and the employee. Again, a non-negotiable.


Another non-negotiable. Managers should provide documented and acknowledged feedback on the employee’s 3rd month and 4th month. On employee’s 5th month a decision for regularization should have been made. Note that in the event that you would have to non-regularize the person, due to performance issues despite coaching and support from the manager, you would need these documentations or you run legal risks (following the Philippine labor standards, at least) or have to keep the employee for a longer period.

That’s the legal and real aspect. But please, don’t do this for that sole purpose. Remember that feedback is a gift. This is something that you also give your best performers and everyone else in between. It doesn’t have to only happen on the 3rd and 4th month. The best feedback are given real-time. Let’s not forget to emphasize the purpose, too. The purpose of the feedback is to help the employee improve. That’s that.

Celebrate and Recognize

They say work hard, party harder. I believe in that. Employees put in their fair share of efforts and contributions. Why not celebrate that during important milestones? Like employee’s 6th month or the graduation from probationary period, or 1st year anniversary.

An acknowledgement or recognition during Company townhalls, a greeting card, a petite cake or a congratulatory note from the leaders all make great ideas for this purpose.

Remember the app I mentioned earlier? The HRythm. It has news feature, too, where the milestones could be broadcast and also so you can “freeze” a portion of time for these celebrations.

Myself and Leziel last year on a random black and white day.

I hope you found this helpful. Thank you very much for visiting and feel free to check back in for anything workplace related – inspiration, health, financial and mental wellness, processes and employee engagement tips.

For your questions, topic suggestions and help needed in building your onboarding program, please reach out to me thru:

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I’s be happy to hear from you.

Let’s talk again soon! 🙂