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One Chance to Make The Right Impression to a Candidate

Whether it’s a new client your pitching for, or trying to hire the right person, the challenges are the same – they have options and can be choosy! Candidate experience during the recruiting process is make or break. You will be judged, and it’s very hard to shake off a bad first impression. Negative experiences are not only a turn off for candidates but in smaller communities can damage your overall brand reputation.

If you want to bring the best into your business, you have to work for it. You have to sell candidates on your organisation and why they would want to be a part of it.

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It’s not rocket science but here are a few tips from Jessica Jones at ‘Glassdoor for Employers’ ( that will separate you from the competition and make a great impression on candidates.

  • It starts with the job description. Get rid of the old boring, bullet pointed list and just tell them what they are going to be doing every day and why they want to do it. Short, simple, and to the point. This is your marketing message—get them to click ‘apply’.
  • Make the application simple. Candidates won’t spend hours filling out a tedious application that repeats itself and asks irrelevant questions. Boil it down what you REALLY need to know up front. You can find out the rest when you meet them.
  • Focus your efforts. Understand the demographic and experience level of the person you are targeting and align the interview process to that. Depending on the role communication or technical skills might be higher priorities so focus your efforts where the key competencies are.
  • Set expectations. Let candidates know how long the application will take, how long the interview will be, when they will hear back, and when a decision will be made. And stick to it! Nothing is worse than having them think they can fit in a 30-minute interview over lunchtime and you wanting them for a couple of hours to add in some testing.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. We live in a world of instantaneous feedback. Waiting days or weeks to hear back about a job is not only painful, it is completely ineffective. You will lose the better candidates if you don’t maintain contact. Even if the answer is, “I don’t have an answer just yet,” say that until you have a better response.
  • Know what you are looking for before you start interviewing. Using the candidate’s time and the interview process as an exploratory exercise will not make your organisation look best-in-class. Create an experience where the candidate knows what they will be walking into, what is expected in the role, and how the role fits into the organisation.
  • Be timely. Most people will lose interest in a hiring process that drags for weeks. If you are prepared before you start the process, and dedicate the energy and time to making the recruitment a priority, you should be able to evaluate your options and make a decision quickly. If you are first to the candidate with an offer you have the best chance to close the deal.
  • Make it an honest conversation. Provide candidates with honest information about who you are, what you value, and how you operate. Transparency is key and providing it up front will ensure that everyone can make the best decision.
  • Ask for feedback. People will talk about their experience—good or bad. Survey your candidates (hired or not) on how their experience was and bring accountability to those involved including external recruiters.
  • The way that you treat your candidates from the moment of their first interaction with your business will have a lasting impact on the way they view you.
  • Treat your prospective employees they way you’d treat a prospective client and you’re a long way to creating the right experience!



Have you ever made recruitment decisions you lived to regret?  Are you given recruitment responsibilities on top of your day job and struggle to find time to do it all?  Get our compact Accountant & Bookkeeper Recruitment Guide for free.   


An easy reference document covering the whole process from scoping the Job Description for upcoming vacancies, right through to making better job offers than your competitors and sealing the deal, and every step in between.  Written by Accounting firm Partners, HR/People Management professionals within the accounting and bookkeeping sector and drawing on established and emerging best practice in selection techniques in Australasia, the UK and US, you can have access to a wealth of practical recruitment and selection knowledge and links to external expertise and reusable templates whenever you need it.


 About the Authors

Giles Pearson FCA was a PwC Partner for 18 years before jointly setting up Accountests.  

Steve Evans has a whole career dedicated to enabling employers to attract, recruit, develop and retain talented individuals and teams, with particular expertise in candidate testing and assessment before setting up Accountests.

Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical knowledge tests designed by accountants for accountants and bookkeepers.

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