How Does a Candidate Interpret Your Office Décor? (And Why It Matters)

A vacancy in your organisation has recently opened up, you’ve had the first round of screenings, and you’re excited about the potential of a couple of the candidates.  

You know what you’re looking for in your new employee, what skills and personality traits you desire – you are hoping that one of the candidates is going to be the perfect match and will willingly accept your offer. 

Umm, maybe not. 

Many employers consider that the recruiting process is a one-way street, but sadly this is not the case. 

There are a variety of reasons that a candidate decides against going in your ‘direction’. In the current skills-short market, candidates hold the power, and the most trivial of reasons can help them make up their mind. 

Your office décor can be a significant factor in the candidate deciding that this is going to be their next workplace – and they usually decide in the first few moments. 

What does your office space say about your company? The way the office space is laid out, the artwork on display, and even the colour of the walls can turn a candidate off In this article, I want to share with you the secrets of what your office décor is relaying to candidates and how to turn it around if it’s sending out the wrong message. 





First and foremost, your office should be in a respectably tidy condition, not just when you are expecting candidates, but all of the time. 

It is not a fallacy that people live by the mantra ‘tidy space, tidy mind’. Tidying guru Marie Kondo states in her book, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ that when you live and work in a tidy space, your life starts to change for the better.   

There is nothing more off-putting to a great candidate than walking into an office for the interview they have been excited about to find that their prospective new workmates have not made the effort to make the place presentable – if they lack the drive to keep the shared space tidy; what does this say about their work ethic? 


The Manager’s Office  

After encountering the communal area, the candidate next gets to experience where the interview usually takes place – the manager’s office. Whether this is your personal office, or is being used by the hiring manager for the purposes of the interview; this is where the candidate will spend most of their time, and is the room that will impact upon them the most. 


How is your office set out?  



Is the desk at the very far end the room, a long walk from the door and with one small solitary chair in front of it? You should hopefully be able to see in the way that I have described this that set-up can be intimidating for candidates, or indeed anyone who enters your office. If your wish is to be intimidating and assert your dominance, then this set-up is fine, but if the kind of candidate you want to attract is dynamic, forward-thinking and with whom you want to share a mutual respect, this will be an instant turn-off; it creates a distinct feeling of a ‘them and us’ relationship between management and employees.  

Arrange the chairs and, where applicable, the furniture in your office to create a more open interview space. Use chairs that are the same height and use a smaller, round table for interviews if possible. 


All About You? 

It’s fine to have personal touches in your office space, but how much is too much? I had a candidate tell me that the manager was highlighting the importance of teamwork and collaboration in his company, while his room was full of pictures of his family and items celebrating his own achievements – what kind of message do you think this sends out? 

An office that looks like a shrine to the manager can highlight to candidates that if they were to become an employee, they would have to fight for their place to be noticed and respected in this organisation. 


Candidate-Attracting Décor  



So, now I’ve discussed the things to avoid in your office set-up and decoration, what are the most dynamic, forward-thinking and valuable candidates looking for from their first impressions of your workplace? 

  • A light and bright office space – somewhere that feels like the needs of the employees have been considered. Yes to white and light colours, no too dark or brightly coloured overbearing walls – these can create a feeling of claustrophobia and can even lead to headaches and visual disturbances. 
  • No clutter – an untidy office space gives the impression that the people who work there lack diligence and a good work ethic. 
  • Up-to-date technology – this is specifically important to candidates looking for employers who can provide them with cutting-edge devices. 
  • Keep personal items tasteful – the new team member doesn’t want to feel intimated by a ‘clan’ mentality that they aren’t a part of. 



We match the right candidates to roles in which they will excel and grow with your company – 98% of our candidates stay in their role for at least two years. 

If you need help recruiting top FinTech talent into your organisation, get in touch with us today to discover how we can help.  



Amrutha Murali