Four experiences successful leaders expect from their candidate journey

Amy Speake, managing partner at Holmes Noble, explains how important it is to inspire and excite senior-level candidates during the recruitment process.

Today’s leaders expect more during their candidate journey, they want a professional and insightful process that provides deep intel into a potential role whilst also being exposed to everything from the current workplace culture to employer brand personality.

She selects four, important experiences, top level candidates expect from a successful recruitment journey:

  1. A bespoke process tailored to the individual

A candidate in the upper echelons of their profession has earned the right to be choosy and hesitant about next steps. Options need to be weighed-up carefully and any decision should not be rushed.

Candidates expect their recruitment journey to be tailored to their needs. They are busy people with very demanding roles.  They expect patience and respect rather than pressure and unrealistic timetables. There needs to be a clear plan and timeline in place for the candidate journey.

Senior candidates expect to be matched with positions that fit their needs. They expect their career path to date to be understood. A prospective role should not just match their CV but also their personal characteristics and offer exciting, multifaceted challenges.

The whole process needs to operate with a high-touch, consultative approach. When a candidate applies the brakes during the recruitment process, it’s most often because they have experienced something unsettling.  For instance, inconsistencies in how the position has been described. At other times, it’s because the candidate has been brought back for multiple repetitive interviews that prompts him or her to have second thoughts about the business.

This is unacceptable at this level.  The process needs to be smooth and all communication must be timely and clear.  Feedback must flow both ways and candidates treated respectfully.

  1. Nurtured, coached and supported

High calibre candidates want to feel fully supported throughout the corporate courting process.  This will involve being provided with market-leading industry insight, analysis and cultural fit assessments to guide them through the primary stages of the recruitment journey.

All the facts, insights and information must be laid bare – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Candidates need to be able to trust that all the leg-work has been done before they walk into any meeting with a potential employer. They are armed with all the knowledge for this role and understand how their skills and abilities match what is needed. They expect to be fully briefed on how the cultural fit and personality of the business matches their own and the employer brand has already been accurately articulated.

  1. Candidate’s personal goals are the focus rather than organisational goals

It is easy when recruiting for senior levels roles to focus all conversations around the needs of the business rather than those of the individual fulfilling a position and who will address those needs. However, a candidate’s personal goals and career path progression should be approached first rather than business targets and objectives.

Senior level candidates want to be shown how the organisation will support their personal and career growth plans. They want to understand how a position will  challenge and grow them across many and various facets of their lives – high level skills and connections, right down to character traits.  All this must be made clear during the recruitment process.

Leaders are always looking to the future, wanting to grow and learn. A senior level candidate must come away from the process feeling that this organisation matches their personal aspirations and growth goals and that they can progress their next ‘top priority’ and ‘next step’ instead of trying to fit a role that was needed.

  1. A thorough on-boarding process

A formal on-boarding process needs to be in place during the critical first few months of candidates being in a new role. New c-suite hires expect the on-boarding process to help shorten ‘start-up’ times, help speed learning and traction while improving their personal productivity so they get off to a great start.


Characteristics of leaders are changing and so too are the employment positions they are attracted to. Candidate journeys need to be fluid, personal and thorough but, most importantly, they need to excite.