December 21, 2020 • 4 min read
Improve Your Employer Brand by Improving Candidate Confidence
Conventional thinking says that a good interview is a pressure-cooker situation, where candidates are put to the test. But at Atlassian we’ve realized that the traditional way of doing things is not the best way of doing things and we’ve begun to ask ourselves some questions.
How well have we set candidate expectations? How prepared have we made candidates feel? How do we build candidate confidence?
Candidate confidence is an element of the hiring process that tends to be overlooked by employers, instead putting the burden on candidates to get themselves confident. But it is an element that has a real effect on how an organisation is perceived before, during, and after the recruiting process happens.
It’s something that we at Atlassian now take very seriously, and having put our energy into building confidence, we’re beginning to see the rewards.
Why should we focus on improving candidate confidence?
At Atlassian our aim is to give our candidates all the information they need to fully prepare for their interview and start to feel comfortable with saying yes should all go well with their interviews. It’s our hypothesis that doing this helps build candidate confidence, which allows us to better assess their fit. Building candidate confidence is actually quite a self-serving act; it’s about better equipping us to evaluate candidates and feeling good about having a high bar for talent.
We weren’t always as transparent, but found that when our recruiting processes were set up in a way that made candidates more nervous, intimidated, or stumped on tough problems it was actually doing both our candidates and the company a disservice. The types of problems that Atlassian team members face are rarely simple enough to be solved on the fly and through gut feel. They require deep thinking and team collaboration–our interviews need to drive this point home.
Instead, focusing on building confidence means we’re helping candidates put their best foot forward. This, in turn, makes it possible for us to assess the candidate’s full potential. We give ourselves (as the interviewers) the opportunity to see candidates perform in an environment that’s very much like the day-to-day environment we create in our workplace. It’s also important to consider that in recruiting, our candidates are our customers. Accepting a job is the candidate version of deciding to buy what we’re offering. Yet even if that person doesn’t accept a job with us, we still want them to have a positive experience in the same way the shop owner wants all customers, even those that don’t buy, to have a positive experience so they consider returning or telling others about their experience.
We also want candidates to understand what the company and their team will be like if they do accept a role. We have a unique, open culture that’s driven by our values, and we want to ensure a candidate understands what this looks like before they join.
How we inspire candidate confidence at Atlassian
First, we aim to be as transparent as possible–inspired by our value Open Company, No BS. We want to make preparing for an interview to be simple and stress-free; we want candidates to walk in knowing what to expect, so we provide our candidates with information about how the interview will work and the areas we’ll cover.
Assuming a candidate gets the job, we want them to be confident and comfortable on day one and through year one, so we make sure we paint a clear picture of Atlassian life, sharing information about our culture and values, and potential career growth opportunities.
One of the primary ways we share this information is via our publicly accessible Candidate Resource Hub. We take a deep dive into what candidates will experience during the interview and beyond.
Atlassian’s Candidate Resource Hub
Since its launch in mid-2020, we’ve seen traffic to the Candidate Resource Hub rise steadily and entirely organically. It’s not something we’re actively promoting as we continue to layer content into the site, yet we see several thousand unique pageviews weekly. This is partially because it is easily discoverable through our careers site, but also because it is becoming a resource for our recruiters to share – they simply link to an article instead of sending a PDF or a lengthy email.
It also turns out that having a centralised and easily updatable source of truth brings benefits of its own. Before building the Candidate Resource Hub we had a series of 20+ PDF documents to share info about various interview types. Version control and content updates proved challenging. The Hub has streamlined and organised that content.
The hows and whys of measuring the subjective
Candidate confidence isn’t an easily quantifiable metric, but our candidate experience team has managed to find ways and means to measure it.
Atlassian’s candidate experience team runs post-interview surveys to gauge candidate satisfaction and preparedness levels while using preparedness OKRs to track trends over time. We don’t explicitly measure confidence in these post-interview surveys, but infer it based on how prepared a candidate felt for their interview. Our goal is to ensure–at a minimum–nine out of every ten candidates feel adequately prepared. This information is shared across TA, Talent Brand and Enablement & Operations teams, and contingencies like creating the Candidate Resource Hub, are a direct result of preparedness OKR performance.
That said, we’re only just beginning our journey in this space. It’s our aim for the Candidate Resource Hub to become the foundation upon which candidate confidence strategies can be built. In the long term we will strive to provide greater transparency, potentially outlining publicly how many of our employee programs work.
We’ve also just started to think about extending the time in which future Atlassians can get to know us by building our first talent community. This will allow us to educate people about what they can expect from us before they’ve even applied for a role.
But that’s a story for another day. In the meantime, we’ll continue to focus on minimizing the interview pressure while focusing on empathy, support, and providing insight to our candidates.
About the author: Devin is a brand marketer turned talent brand leader. He leads a small, crafty team as the Head of Talent Marketing at Atlassian. Devin a big believer that creativity and transparency are key to any successful talent brand. Besides his love for marketing and story telling, Devin enjoys strong coffee, brevity, and quick wit.