A good candidate interview experience is imperative

  • 24-03-21
  • Richard Lloyd Recruitment

​Hiring an excellent Accountant is really important and delivering a superb candidate experience will help you attract those people. But delivering a poor experience will risk you losing them to your rivals.

Candidate experience has a compound impact on your recruitment. Get it right, and you’ll see more candidates accept your job. Plus, candidates will tell their colleagues, which in turn makes them more likely to want to work for you. Get it wrong and the opposite happens. At Richard Lloyd, we are experts in knowing how to find and hire great employees. We’ve mastered the art of candidate sourcing, and condensed it into 6 simple steps: Here’s how we do it:

1. Understand what you need when hiring staff

Delivering an exceptional candidate experience starts with planning your hiring strategy. You will need to understand both the gaps that exist within your organisation and the types of skills a candidate will need to be successful.

This will give candidates a much clearer picture of the role and its responsibilities, which in turn means less chance of confusion or disappointment further along in the hiring process, and results in a better all-round candidate experience.

An experienced recruitment partner with deep knowledge of the accounting space can play a key part in this process as they understand the candidate market and know how to create a compelling yet realistic job specification that engages candidates.​

2.  Customise your messaging

When looking to hire an accountant or finance specialist ensure that you speak to your audience in a language they use and understand, and you’re much more likely to attract the right job seekers. To customise your messaging, you need to understand who you’re speaking to and communicate with them on a personal level. This means giving your job descriptions and other candidate messaging a human face.

Candidates are far more likely to engage with you and have a positive experience with you if they feel like they’re dealing with real people, rather than a faceless organisation. Build a tone of voice that’s consistent across all the channels through which a candidate might engage with you.​

3.  Communicate early & often

No one likes to be left in the dark about potentially life-changing moments - like applying for a new job. A common faux pas when hiring staff is that employers often underestimate the importance of this with many failing to deliver the standard of communication that candidates crave.

Two-thirds of candidates say they are either ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with the communication they receive during the hiring process, with 55% saying they’re rarely or never kept informed about their progress. 32% say they are only informed ‘sometimes’.

It’s important to note at this stage that ‘good communication’ doesn’t apply solely to the candidates you want to hire. Failing to communicate effectively with unsuccessful candidates can be just as damaging to your employer brand, making it harder to attract exceptional accounting talent down the line. If you don’t have the bandwidth to handle all your comms requirements, that’s understandable. You can’t spend all your time emailing and calling candidates. But equally, you can’t afford to ignore it. Working with a reliable, trusted recruitment partner will help lighten your load.

Discover resources and guidance for your recruitment needs with our hiring manager toolkit. 

4.   Tell candidates what to expect from an interview

Another point to consider during the hiring process is that most candidates find job interviews a stressful experience. On one hand, that can be a good thing; an appropriate amount of stress reminds us that we care and drives us to perform at our best.

But too much stress is overwhelming. So the last thing you want is to make the interview experience unnecessarily stressful for candidates by leaving them in the dark about key aspects. When sending calendar invites for interviews, be sure to incorporate as much information as possible, such as who will be in the interview, what topics you intend to cover, or any specific preparation they should complete.  

5.  Make interview tasks relevant & engaging (& quick)

You can obviously go beyond the standard interview questions, such as ‘Why should we hire you as an accountant?’ with testing geared towards assessing hard skills and personality, however, they alone, should not be the reason to hire a candidate.

By their very nature, lengthy, demanding assessments will put off all candidates except those that are desperate to work for you. Chances are, not all of those will represent the top tier of talent either. So, if you’re going to request candidates complete an assessment either pre-interview or part-way through, make it brief and focused on the specific value you want them to bring to the business. 

6.   Give (& be open to receiving) feedback

Candidates understandably want to hear feedback when they’re unsuccessful in applying for a job. The further they advance in the hiring process, the more likely they are to request meaningful and more personalised feedback on their application.

Failure to provide quality feedback when requested can transform a positive candidate experience into a negative one, leaving the candidate feeling like you never properly engaged with their application.

Whenever possible, you should offer feedback when asked. Your recruitment partner is well-placed to advise you on exactly what you can (and can’t) say.

At the same time, where possible, it is helpful to ask candidates for their feedback. Simply put, it’s the easiest way to understand where your candidate's experience has room for improvement. If you are working with a specialist recruitment partner, it is easy to garner feedback on aspects you could change in your style or technique, etc., however, when you have to slot this task in among all of your other day-to-day tasks, it is quite challenging.


If you’d like more advice on interviewing candidates or support with Accounting recruitment in Sydney, get in touch with the team at Richard Lloyd. Contact us today to see how we can help improve your candidate experience and attract better talent.