In today’s marketplace attracting the ‘right’ candidate to your growing organisation will be vital for your success; yet making that happen consistently is one of the biggest challenges in the current marketplace. 


In recruiter speak many recruitment agencies (rather than specific search consultancies) will talk to you about the challenge of finding the right passive candidate for your software sales role. In other words, the highly skilled software sales pro that remains hidden; only coming out to play for the right opportunity in the right organisation.





It might be logical therefore to leave this in the hands of your internal recruiter who with a well-placed advert and Linkedin campaign will attract the exact candidate you are looking for; wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.


The all-important candidate experience

The challenge that in-house recruiters face is the huge pressure to advertise every single role, follow up referrals, and find that needle in the haystack; whilst in theory, giving a good impression to the candidates about the organisation they are applying to – and on a tight time deadline. All a recipe for a potential poor candidate experience. 


Picture this scenario: 


A ‘brand’ hoping to build a presence across the EU, though known in the US, not everyone has heard of them in Europe - or vice-versa. An attractive branded advert is commissioned with applicants encouraged to apply directly, all great PR in theory until you consider the candidate experience. The downside is the role is specialist. The likely hood is the majority of candidates are rejected upon application or after a first interview when, unfortunately, the initial ‘hype’ has done its job in making them emotionally invested in working for that company.


The standard ‘no thanks’ email does or doesn’t get sent (often the latter), and the impression of the new ‘brand’ literally goes down the toilet. This isn’t an exaggeration. Have a look at how candidates communicate their experiences to each other on Glassdoor. The conversation down the pub over a glass of wine or pint of beer will often stray into our latest positive or negative experience in our working life. We are human after all, and like to ‘warn’ our friends and family about ‘poor’ organisations based on our personal experience.


What makes a good candidate experience?

The truth? Attention to detail and a process. This is where using the skills of a specialist search consultant aligned to your sector comes in, either working specifically for an organisation or working hand in hand with your internal recruitment function. When this happens, the majority of the potential pitfalls listed above can be avoided.


A specialist agency has the luxury of picking battles because it’s less of a volume-based game, and one in which they have significant experience. A classic example is screening. A key advantage of the candidate not knowing who the hiring company is until mutual interest in progressing to a more in-depth discussion has been established makes for a different experience.


Coaching through the process

An important aspect that many general recruitment agencies forget. There is now a whole global industry that has sprung up to help people develop their careers. Though who is better placed to do this than an experienced search consultant? A conversation with prospective candidates about their career goals and aspirations can save everyone time, money, and disappointment.



Commitment to the whole process is vital if you want a candidate to be totally bought into your organisation. Time is a huge factor, and this is where your preferred search partner will add value to the delivery of your recruitment process. Internal recruiters often don’t have enough hours in the day to keep everyone in the loop, happy and informed.


Positioning, expectation and over-promising

There is a saying that ‘the truth hurts’. I disagree. The truth hurts when it's either not delivered or communicated far too late in the process. One of the reasons we have continued to be successful at Teem, for approaching 20 years, is the fact that we tell the truth and set expectations about what may or may not happen for both our candidates and clients.


Tailoring applications and CVs

Over the last 18+ years, we have helped many stellar software salespeople tailor their applications and CV. All too often, experienced pros don’t appreciate that their past experience in a specific area or project is exactly what the client is looking for.


Communication skills

An obvious point but communication happens at many levels from; active listening to what the candidate and client really wants, through to the common decency of staying in contact throughout the process; especially if the news isn’t as good as the candidate or client was originally hoping for. Professional candidates want constructive feedback because then they can do something about it. In many cases, your search consultant is best placed to deliver this as a professional and experienced ‘go-between’.



If you’re a hiring company wanting to attract the best whilst still ensuring good candidate experience, then do get in touch!

Read a CROs guide to hiring A-players here: