HoW Talent Session – delivering a killer candidate experience


This week’s HoW Talent webinar was all about candidate experience and I was delighted to be joined by Dave Walstow, Client Services Director at Creed Comms.

Jobtrain has been working with Creed, experts in Employer Brand, for about 20 years now and we’ve collaborated on many joint client projects covering careers sites, employer brand, attraction and candidate experience. Aside from 10 years working within creative comms, Dave’s also worked for an ATS too, so who better to discuss and share expertise on the whole candidate experience lifecycle.

WATCH IT BACK - Giles from Jobtrain with Dave Walstow from Creed Comms

Candidate experience is as important right now as it has ever been. Especially as we reflect on how COVID-19 has displayed the best of kindness and consideration for one another in and out of the workplace. This reflection provides the perfect opportunity to review EVP (Employer Value Proposition) and ensure that the candidate experience demonstrates this consideration throughout with a focus on people, not just candidates. As we prepare to return to some kind of normality and restart hiring, we are going to be faced with high volumes of candidates and it’s critical to ensure that each and every candidate receives a positive, personal experience.

Getting back to basics with candidate experience

Dave kicked this area off with how to ensure you deliver a clear and consistent process. Creed talk about candidate experience in 4 phases:


The stage at which would-be candidates might be considering your organisation as a ‘destination employer’.

Application and onboarding

The process of applying and assessing candidates’ fit for the role they’ve applied for and then joining your business.


Employees’ role and contribution within your business and then living your business values.

Advocacy and referral

Engaged employees, confident and happy to promote your business and recommend to their networks.


Consistency and personalisation throughout the process is key here - from messaging, careers site, ATS and application experience, through to the interview and assessment process, and finally onboarding.

You might have the best creative campaign out there, but if there is a disconnect between your values and the careers site or the ATS application process, the hard work done can quite quickly be undone. That could be down to inconsistent imagery, advert copy, onerous application forms or the application form questions and tone of voice. This also extends to email communications and the interview experience too. All these must be joined up and consistent to create a seamless flow.

Challenge yourself with your own process and put yourself through it. There are a lot of quick wins to be had from small changes to ensure consistency. Is it easy to find careers information, jobs and apply?

Engage with stakeholders and work with them to enhance and showcase your stories and EVP (especially post COVID-19)

Remember that there will be several different stakeholders that should have an input on the candidate experience and journey, be that IT, HR, Recruitment and Marketing. Challenge yourself and ask the question, “who do I need to involve in the candidate experience project?” Marketing especially can be a huge ally here and contribute to workplace stories and creative but equally if you don’t engage with the right people, you might meet blockers along the way. Employee generated content (videos and images) are powerful – work with Marketing to provide a framework and guidelines to give your employees the confidence to create content for you.

Dave explained that job adverts with video have a 35% application/hire rate and higher quality of application too (stats from Total Jobs and Measure, refine and improve and make sure this is a joined-up approach with your employer brand partner, ATS and Marketing

Referrals and amplifying your message - use your employees to share your content to engage potential hires

Many prospective hires will be asking the question of how a prospective employer responded and acted during the pandemic. COVID-19 particularly has created some inspiring stories of how businesses demonstrated their values and made valuable contributions in a challenging period.

Capture positive and authentic elements of what it is like to work at your business with employee generated content (using the framework and guidelines mentioned earlier). This content could be blogs, video or just images.

Encourage and inspire your teams to share these stories amongst their friends, family and professional networks to create greater awareness of your business. This period has created many stories that potential hires will really want to hear about and there’s no better way to reach potential hires than through your employees’ social networks.

Huge thanks to Dave Walstow for sharing his experience and insight. Looking back on this session, we only scratched the surface of several areas and we will look to explore some of these in future webinars for you.

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