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5 Things You Can Do in Interviews to Make Your Candidates Love You

Hiring Developers

Do you remember the best interview you ever had?

Two stand out the most to me—the first with my previous employer, One Inc., and the second with my current role at CoderPad.

They both had these in common:

  • Quick and consistent feedback: No phone call tag or “We’ll get back to you in a week after we’ve interviewed other candidates.” 
  • Short interview process: The interview process for both companies lasted only 2-3 weeks; it would have been shorter if I had more availability for calls.
  • Having the last interview call be with the CEO: This was a benefit of interviewing with smaller companies, but I love the fact that not only were the CEOs involved in the interview process, but they asked my opinion on how they could improve the business. And they held an actual conversation with me, not just a grilling of my qualifications.

While these things stand out to me, there are traits that all interview processes share that make for a great candidate experience—things like honesty, transparency, and open communication.

While some job lures are out of your control – a high salary, 4-day work week, unlimited PTO, etc., you still have it in your power to integrate beneficial traits into your own recruitment processes so that you make accepting a job with your company a whole lot easier.

Below are five actionable ways to enhance your interview process and stand out.

Maintain a policy of open communication about their application status

Remember the ABCs of a good relationship: Always Be Communicating.

Most mishaps and bad relationships stem from poor communication. It’s no different when you’re trying to establish a great relationship with your candidates. Always be clear about the stages of the hiring process, especially if the candidate asks about them. 

Clearly laying out a process and timeline and sticking to it was important to me. It built a lot of trust. And within that, quick responsiveness if I wasn’t the pick for the job.

Maxen H., Revenue Operations Engineer

If there are any changes or delays, inform the candidate as soon as possible to maintain trust. As you get further along in the hiring process, your communications should become more on-point and regular. If a candidate has any other interviews with other companies scheduled, you risk losing them to competitors who provide a more open line of communication.

An excellent way to do this is to set yourself follow-up reminders. Even if you haven’t heard back from the hiring manager, let the candidate know what progress is being made and when they can expect follow-up messages.

Some more things you can do to establish open communications:

  1. Utilize the communication features of your ATS: If you’re using an ATS, an easy way to automate the reminders to message your candidates is to use its built-in features. Just remember that automated messages can be a big turn-off to candidates, so add a human touch with a personalized message if you can.
  1. Offer personalized video updates: This can make the communication more personal and engaging compared to standard emails. It’s worth the effort for candidates closer to the end of the hiring pipeline.
  1. Use a candidate portal: If your ATS has it, use the candidate portal so they can see real-time updates about their application status, upcoming interviews, and feedback. This portal can also serve as a repository for all communication, ensuring transparency and accessibility.
  1. Encourage questions at every stage: Candidates should know that it’s okay to ask questions. Regular emails reminding them that the recruitment team is available for any queries they might have can facilitate this.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for open communications, but the more you can proactively communicate with your candidates, the more they’ll appreciate your application process.

Provide specific feedback promptly 

Notice there are two parts to this one:

  • Specific feedback
  • Prompt feedback

Especially in the beginning stages of the recruitment process, you might not have the time to delve deep into specific feedback, and that’s fine. If you can mention some *appropriate areas of improvement from your notes or the interviewer’s notes, great.

But further on in the process, you’ll make a great impression on candidates if you can open up more about why they did or didn’t make it to the next stage. The more actionable the feedback (“We’re looking for someone with a bit more experience with React frameworks; if you want to pursue this type of role, we recommend practicing that more”), the better. This could include recommendations for professional development, resources for learning new skills, or even other roles or industries where their skills might be a better fit.

Jenny, the best recruiter I ever had, took the time to know me as a person (we were friends by the time the process was done).  Before every interview, she shared who I would be meeting with and the topics they would be covering.  After every interview, she took the time to speak with me and get my feelings on how it went.  She showed so much respect and interest in me as a person.

Molly L., Product Marketing Manager

If candidates aren’t moving up in the interview process because of a mistake they’re making, you’ll give them a significant boost in their job search if you can help them figure out what they’re doing wrong – and they’ll appreciate that. 

It is also essential to provide timely feedback. If you wait more than a few days to communicate the success of moving to the next round, you risk losing your candidate to other companies. Even if the candidate is not a good fit, letting them know immediately (and gently) will reduce the chances that your company gets labeled as a “ghoster,” which can reduce the number of candidates you see applying for your positions.

Two other tips you may want to consider:

  1. Feedback follow-up: Suggest a follow-up call or meeting after the feedback is given, especially for candidates who made it to the later stages of the interview process. This gives them a chance to ask questions, clarify feedback points, and understand how they can improve.
  2. Feedback training for interviewers: Discuss the importance of training for those providing feedback to ensure it is always constructive, specific, and delivered in a way that encourages candidates, even if they’re not selected for the role. This can include how to balance positive comments with areas for improvement and how to tailor feedback to the individual’s experience level and role applied for.

* I don’t need to tell you that you can’t pass someone up because of their race, religion, ethnicity, marital status, neuro-diverse status, maternal status, or any other protected status. If you mention any of these things as an area for improvement, you will get your company sued and yourself fired. Focus only on how they didn’t meet the particular requirements for a job, such as not having enough experience in a particular technical skill.

Create a customized interview prep package

Based on the specific role and company, assemble and mail a package of materials that includes company background, interview format, example questions, links to candidate guides, and tips for success. Put the information in a company-branded folder, and add some company-branded gifts or even a small gift card.

Sound over-the-top? Maybe, but there are some significant benefits to putting in the effort for this:

  • You’ll easily differentiate yourself from other companies the candidate may be interviewing with.
  • You’re getting a head-start on onboarding by including company info.
  • The candidates will feel more confident in their interviews and perform better.
  • They’ll also see that you’re invested in their success, which increases the chances they’ll accept an offer with you.

Once you’ve sent the package, offer a prep call to walk through it and address any questions. Your great customer service will easily put you positively in their minds.

Some other tips to consider:

  • Personalized video messages from the team: Create short, personalized video messages from potential team members or the hiring manager, introducing themselves and expressing excitement about the possibility of working with the candidate. This can make the process feel more welcoming and reduce interview anxiety.
  • FAQ session recordings: Compile a video or document of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the interview process, answered by members of your team. This could cover everything from logistical questions to insights into the team’s values in a candidate, providing a deeper understanding of what to expect.
  • Customized prep timeline: Design a preparation timeline that candidates can follow during their interview. This timeline could suggest when to review certain materials, when to complete the prep challenge, and when to relax and focus on mental preparation, ensuring they feel organized and ready.

Celebrate personal milestones and interests

Many candidate complaints around the application and interview process revolve around the lack of human voice. When you spend time getting to know candidates and their interests, you not only are better able to help them through the interview process – and help your company find the right fit – but you’ll send waves of appreciation through your candidate to help make your company a more attractive place to work.

How can you do this?

Note any personal details the candidate shares during your interactions, such as hobbies or significant events. Mention these in your conversations to show you see them as a whole person, not just a potential hire. For example, wish them luck on an upcoming marathon they mentioned training for or ask how a recent move went.

If you don’t find them a good fit for the role they’re applying for, tell them about other roles within the company that you think they’d be interested in. Or introduce them to other people in your network who can help them pursue careers more aligned with their interests. 

Here are a few other tips you can implement:

  • Implement a ‘Get to Know You’ survey: Consider sending candidates a brief, optional survey with questions about their hobbies, interests, and any milestones they might be approaching. This information can be used to tailor conversations, making interactions more personal and showing candidates that you’re interested in them as individuals beyond the professional sphere.
  • Virtual coffee breaks with team members: Arrange for candidates to have casual, virtual coffee breaks with potential future team members. This provides an opportunity for informal conversations about shared interests, hobbies, and experiences, helping candidates feel more connected and valued by the team.
  • Interest-based matching with interviewers: Whenever possible, match candidates with interviewers who share similar interests or backgrounds. This can lead to more engaging and relaxed conversations, helping candidates feel more at ease and connected during the interview process.
  • Host a virtual ‘Meet the Team’ event: For candidates who reach a particular stage in the interview process, host a virtual event where they can meet potential colleagues. This can be an excellent opportunity for candidates to see the human side of your company, learn about the team’s hobbies and interests, and envision themselves as part of the community.

Give your insider’s perspective

You’re the company insider candidates have the easiest access to. Use this position to give them honest opinions on the company culture, including both the highs and lows. 

Just as candidates have shortcomings that they’ve overcome, your company will too. Share stories or examples of how challenges are addressed and highlight the company’s commitment to employee development and satisfaction.

The recruiter wasn’t just screening me and checking off boxes before passing me on or turning me down; they enabled me to screen the company and role because they had intimate knowledge about the role and company. I didn’t have to wait until I spoke to interviewers 2, 3, or 4 to actually see if it would be a good fit.

Mike K., Demand Generation Manager

By being honest with candidates, you’re building a long-term relationship with them that will last beyond the confines of a single interview process. You’ll meet more candidates than you’ll ever give jobs to, so keeping the relationship on favorable terms can drastically increase your talent pool for future roles.

Here are eight more ideas we recommend implementing:

  • Highlight employee success stories: Share specific examples of employees who have grown within the company, highlighting their journey, achievements, and how the company supported their development. This can help candidates visualize their potential growth and success within the organization.
  • Talk about community and team dynamics: Give an insider’s view of team dynamics, community involvement, and collaborative projects. This can help candidates understand the social fabric of the workplace and how they might fit into the team.
  • Share insights on leadership philosophy: Offer your perspective on the company’s leadership style and philosophy and how leaders support and interact with their teams. Candidates appreciate knowing how accessible and supportive leadership is in their potential new workplace.
  • Discuss how challenges are addressed: Go beyond stating that challenges occur and share how the company proactively addresses them, including specific strategies, support systems in place for employees, and examples of challenges turned into opportunities for improvement.
  • Emphasize the role of innovation: Talk about how the company encourages innovation, whether through dedicated time for creative projects, innovation labs, hackathons, or employee suggestion programs. This shows candidates that new ideas are valued and that they’ll have opportunities to contribute creatively.
  • Transparency about work-life balance: Provide an honest assessment of the work-life balance within the company, including any programs or policies in place to support employee well-being, such as flexible working hours, remote work options, or wellness programs.
  • Detail the feedback culture: Explain how feedback is integrated into the company culture, including the mechanisms for giving and receiving feedback, how feedback contributes to individual and company growth, and examples of feedback leading to positive changes.
  • Future vision and growth opportunities: Share the company’s vision for the future and how it plans to grow or evolve in the coming years. Discuss opportunities for employees to be part of this growth, highlighting potential career paths, learning opportunities, and areas where the company is looking to innovate or expand.


The essence of creating a memorable and positive candidate experience lies in the attention to detail and the personal touch you integrate throughout the interview process. From maintaining open lines of communication to providing specific and prompt feedback, every action you take signals to candidates your company’s values and commitment to their success and well-being. Celebrating personal milestones and giving candidates a comprehensive perspective on your company culture humanizes the interview process and builds a foundation of trust and mutual respect.

Remember, regardless of the outcome, every interaction with a candidate contributes to your company’s reputation in the job market and can turn applicants into advocates for your brand. By implementing these actionable strategies, you’ll enhance your interview process and position your company as a desirable workplace, attracting top talent and fostering a culture of appreciation and inclusivity.

Some of this blog post was written with the assistance of ChatGPT.