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Improving candidate experience while hiring recruiters: 7 solid tips from James Vizor

“There are certainly no ‘magic tricks’ behind giving candidates a good experience. It just requires effort with the mindset that this is a priority, not a chore.”

James Vizor
Director of RULE Recruitment
James Vizor on candidate experience


Recruiters spend days educating their clients on how to attract the ‘best in class,’ yet so many get it wrong themselves.

If you are serious about candidate experience, you should know it requires a real investment. People often pick an offer based on the elements of the job that are not tangible, a gut feeling, to be precise.

Here are a few things to follow to provide the finest onboarding experience for recruiters joining your agency – 

1. Keep it quick

Pretty obvious, but too many agencies drag their heels. 

Candidates lose interest in firms that take too long. In my opinion, grad recruitment should take 5-8 days from submission to offer with two stages. 

Consultant through to Manager should be 2-3 stages and take around 2 weeks, and Director 3 stages taking up to 3 weeks- 4 weeks.

2. Wheel out the CEO

Candidates often prefer to hear directly from the top leader rather than meeting with an internal recruiter. 

They want to understand the vision, the background, and the full story from the person leading the company. 

If recruiters aren’t given an opportunity to meet someone in power, they may question the priority given to them by the firm.

3. Leave a positive impression

Even if you are going to say ‘no’ to a candidate, do not sling them out after 5 minutes. I hate agencies that do this. 

While it can be frustrating to interview candidates who aren’t suitable, it’s essential to leave a positive impression. You want every candidate to leave your office wanting the job, regardless of the outcome. 

Word spreads in the market, so ensure that the message relayed is a positive one.

4. Have something solid to sell

Many agencies offer the same selling points, such as top billers, weekly social events, or potential future opportunities. 

To stand out, focus on what genuinely sets you apart from the competition. 

Discuss specific case studies, clearly outline the support and expectations for the candidate, and articulate your unique value. 

What do you provide that adds real value to your network, and what can candidates gain from you that they can’t find elsewhere? 

Having something solid and distinctive to sell can make all the difference.

5. Be honest

Many firms fall into the trap of misrepresenting themselves. 

Statements like “We have very light KPIs and zero micromanagement” can quickly be contradicted by actions, such as requiring a candidate to dial 150 times on their first day.

Such inconsistencies can lead to dissatisfaction and short tenure. Remember, there are many ways to do this job, and different approaches resonate with different candidates. 

Being honest about your practices and expectations can build trust and lead to more successful placements.

6. Balance challenge with charm

Good candidates often seek a challenge; they want to feel they’ve earned the offer but also need to be wooed. 

When I started recruitment back in 2004, it was common for candidates to leave an interview crying (at grad level). Those days are well behind us.

Push candidates while maintaining rapport, as recruiters often choose agencies they connect with best. 

Once you like a candidate, charm them so they leave smiling. Avoid a harsh first interview with plans to sell in the second; you may miss your chance.

7. Value every candidate

Once someone has accepted your offer, ensure you get in touch. 

A call from the agency’s CEO or Director expressing excitement about them joining can make a significant impact.

It not only fosters a sense of value but also helps mitigate the risk of counteroffers. Avoid treating candidates like mere numbers; make each one feel valued and unique.

There are certainly no ‘magic tricks’ behind giving candidates a good experience. It just requires effort with the mindset that this is a priority, not a chore. 

In a market that is hard to find genuine talent, I think it’s an investment worth making.


James Vizor

James has worked in the R2R market since 2004. He has supplied over 500 agencies with candidates across Executive Search and Contingent recruitment. Although he focuses most of his time on the London market, he has delivered across various global locations, including the USA, Asia, Europe, and Australia. 

James is a Director of RULE Recruitment, an agency that supplies the recruitment market with both graduate trainees right through to Director level candidates.

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