5 candidate experience tips by a graduate candidate – From us to you. By Bianca

Starting in the ‘big bad world’ as some would say, can be quite daunting, exciting and at times tedious. But, we have to become adults eventually. With that, you want the job of your dreams. It doesn’t come easy, as many of us know, myself included. With evolving Recruiting Software and Applicant Tracking Systems, it can feel even more difficult to get ahead of the computer beast. Now, you’ve studied for three years, apply for as many internships as you can, and update your resume with all your fancy references. Fingers crossed. 

Whether you’ve graduated or not, you start to look for jobs and opportunities. You apply, and apply and keep applying to wait for anyone or anything to spot you in the crowd of millions. Do the majority of jobs require you to have at least five years of experience? Yes, but I’ll get to that.

But please, and yes I’m talking to you, please call us back. Or email us and let us know someone else got the job. That way, we can let go and move on. Some applications can take ages to finish, they even ask for every single result from your three-year course at university. When I apply for these jobs, I ask myself “do I want this?”, and the majority of the time I slowly pull away from the application.

Let me make this simple for you to understand. Here are my 5 top things you ‘should’ do when seeking talent. Please note these are my own experiences and any mentioned names will be changed for security purposes.

Tip # 1 – Make your ads more appealing

To be honest, there have been times where I’m so desperate for a job that I apply even when it has little to no information, no images or videos to explain the company or corporation, no person to contact for more details and no real explanation on what the job entails or even if it’s a paid job. Desperate times call for desperate measures as Obert Skye once said.

But, it shouldn’t be like that. When you place an ad to recruit new talent, you want to excite and motivate them to want to work for your company. There needs to be information on what exactly this job entails. Include these such points:

  • information about the company
  • details about the role
  • what you’d be looking for about the person who could apply for this role and what skills they possess to be successful
  • location/accessibility
  • benefits and future opportunities to grow in said company
  • state whether full-time/part-time/contract etc.
  • average salary and/or future roles

Make sure to add the company’s logo and include images that will set the environment and energy of the workplace. Colour is also something I find lures me into a job advertisement. ‘Researchers have found that 42% of consumers (or in this case, individuals seeking for a job) form an opinion of a website based on the site’s design, including colour, more than any other factor. And 52% of the time, poor use of colour will influence a consumer’s decision to avoid returning to a particular site’ (Lant, K. 2016).


Tip # 2 – Email or call us back

Or even worse, you have called us, and haven’t called us back to let us know if we were successful. I get pretty excited when my phone rings and its an unknown number. The first thing that comes to my mind is, ‘okay calm down, this could be it,’ the second is ‘this better not be Optus trying to get me a better deal’ and third ‘I bet mums phone battery died and she’s using a strangers’ phone.’ I’ll say 80% of the time it’s my mum; God bless her, and then on those beautiful rare occasions it is a phone interview.

Now, please be aware that when you do call us to discuss this position, know we are jumping for joy. We sound calm and collected, but no, we are going crazy. I tend to walk up and down my room and use my hands to create gestures like I was walking in Italy waving to all my neighbours and blowing them kisses. These gestures do happen.

Now, the phone call can either go well or terrible. Thankfully I’ve never had a terrible job interview phone call; that could tell you just how many jobs offer I get; few but some.

I had one experience where let’s say, Mrs Smith, offered me a casual position one day a week, but I needed to take three weeks off from my current work as soon as possible to do full-time training before I start. In hindsight, for me to take those three weeks off, I had to quit. I expressed to Mrs Smith, my determination to do this job and that I would first discuss this with my current boss to see if I could get it off. She told me she would get back to me as she had others to phone and interview.

Then what happened…

For two weeks I was very anxious and stressed, as I knew that if I quit my job solely for this 1-day-a-week-job, that I would be struggling financially. But I knew it was an opportunity, and I had to take it. Alas, Mrs Smith never rang me back. Don’t. Do. This. It was terrible and made me never want to apply for that company again.

So please, do call us back, or if you don’t like giving people bad news email us. When I first started applying for jobs, and I would get emails back informing me I wasn’t successful, it did sting a little bit; especially if it was the job you always dreamed of. But I appreciated it, especially when the company encourages you to keep applying for future openings. This was a better graduate candidate experience so apply I did!


Tip # 3 – Make your ads realistic, especially for graduates.

graduate candidate experience

When an ad has a bullet point that says these magical words, ‘accepting graduates,’ I click straight away. But wait, it now states I need years of experience. But I need the experience to get experience. What is this nonsense? I sometimes hope when they say ‘experience,’ they could mean internships or volunteer work, maybe an excellent reference. It never is.

Just say it how it is. Keep it simple and always include whether the applicant needs ‘all’ of these skills or such years in the industry.

When a job states that it would be ideal but not a necessity to have said skills or experience it encourages myself and many others to feel hopeful that they can get a job and also grow within that company. We want to be motivated and inspired to learn and develop skills, so make a note of that. There have been job opportunities where I possess every profession, and then the final print always lets you down.

Such occasions when I am seeking a job, I could have 20 tabs open, and I only apply for 4; just because I don’t possess or have the skill for one or two things. You get frustrated, and in my case, I speak out to the ad as if someone is in front of me and I say “just give me a chance I know I can learn.” Sadly, no response back. Poor graduate candidate experience…


Tip # 4 – Quick and easy application steps.

graduate candidate experience


The ad looks great, and you can’t wait to apply. You make sure your resume and cover letter are all up to date, and you click the apply button. You’re aware of the uploading steps, then the questions and your eligibility to work in the country. Then it gets confusing.

Such companies like Company X and Y have asked me to answer questions in essay form. It takes time, but once you’re done, you feel a sigh of relief when you click ‘next.’ Now Company X and Y need you to fill out all your information just like in a resume, including education, jobs, references. Why do this? It makes no sense to me. Before I finish, I have a break. That break then turns into never completing the application. Company X and Y made it too complicated, and I lost my motivation very quickly.

If you want to know about the talent, merely read their resume and cover letter. Give them a call and ask them questions on the spot. Applications shouldn’t take 30 minutes to complete, or half complete in my case. This is not good for the graduate candidate experience.

The process of application sets the tone and energy of the company we apply for. You want to feel like there is a middle ground or a sense of freedom and when an application process feels more like a police check it can be quite off-putting.


Tip # 5 – Give us a chance.

graduate candidate experience

In this world, there will always be someone better than you, and you will be better than someone else. A particular individual may be perfect for the job; they may possess all the skills and experience, have excellent references and be the right person. Perhaps, now and then, you could consider the people who don’t have an impeccable resume. I know many young individuals who are hard workers and have an extreme passion. It’s important to have people work for you who are loyal and honest, who never give up and love a challenge. You may be surprised with whom you can meet and come across through job applications.

Even certain life events or experiences such as travelling the world alone, or speaking different languages can make an individual unique and special.

Look outside the box and be open to the possibilities to improve the graduate candidate experience.

That’s my personal take on the graduate candidate experience!

Recruitment Software and Applicant Tracking Systems help in the process of finding the right candidate. Learn more now with MyRecruitment+

This blog was written by the brilliant graduate and upcoming writer & journalist Bianca Compagnoni.

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