Free-Range Thinking: A Room of HR Disruptors Explore the Candidate Experience

5 Minutes

Recently, in NYC, Kristin Dudley and I held a ‘free range thinking’ event - as m...

Recently, in NYC, Kristin Dudley and I held a ‘free range thinking’ event - as mentioned in my last blog.

Our aim was to get a group of HR experts together to collaborate in a pressure free and innovative way. The event was a huge success, we challenged convention and came up with some pretty cool ideas along the way. The focus of this session was ‘candidate experience’.

Candidate experience is something that’s at the forefront of a lot of challenges in the HR world. It’s an issue of great importance to me; as a Recruiter, I am the bridge between the client and candidate, I am often entrusted with managing the candidate experience for my clients, keeping them engaged and ensuring they have understood what working at their prospective organisation could be like. NYC is full of the best and the brightest so it wasn’t hard to pool together 10 enthusiastic HR professionals for our event.

We kicked off the evening with an ice breaker from a project of Kristin’s called Candidate Chemistry™: a collaborative activity built to disrupt the job interview/employee on-boarding experience in an effort to breakdown unconscious bias and neutralize power (If you would be interested in a customized version for your organization, you can sign up at

The main activity for the night was a mass brainstorm, where we let our minds roam freely without any limitation, and fed off each other’s ideas. We scribbled ideas onto paper and passed these around at 3-minute intervals, the aim was to create a string of thoughts, adding to people’s ideas each time you were passed a different sheet. By the third round everyone had got into the ‘free-range’ spirit, resulting in some pretty adventurous ideas. We then picked one solution that we all thought was unique and interesting: a “Pop-up Job Shop”, where candidates could literally shop jobs. Together, we explored how we could make this unusual solution a reality.

I was impressed to see how quickly an idea can be taken and expanded by bringing together a group of passionate minds. In 2 hours we had moved from listing a multitude of problems to narrowing in on an abstract, out-of-the-box solution. There was definitely a palpable feeling of excitement in the room.

As HR Professionals, we all understand that there are certain logical parameters that you need to consider and put in place when formulating solutions (such as size, type, maturity of your organisation and budget), but I think there needs to be a bit more room to exercise creativity around those parameters.

Our greatest take-home from the event was what we had experienced in that room; an open space for professionals to get together and problem solve in a unique way. Most importantly, we all left inspired and excited by the idea that we could carry this creative space into our daily lives and work.

So what’s next?

Kristin and I have some big ideas about how we can make these events a regularity. We would love to bring more people together for our ‘free-range thinking' events, to openly brainstorm creative solutions to some of the major HR roadblocks we all face in a safe, pressure-free space. 

I welcome your thoughts on these ideas and would also love to know: what would you like to see changed in the candidate experience?