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How to Establish Clear Role Expectations Throughout the Virtual Recruitment Process

It’s simple logic: candidates should have a clear understanding of job expectations before accepting a position. 

Just imagine someone taking a job without a clue of what their supervisors and co-workers expected from them. There’d be a significant amount of time spent feeling lost and confused, and the employee would likely start making things up as they go.

Ultimately, not understanding job expectations hurts productivity, teamwork, and employee satisfaction and engagement. In fact, Gallup’s 2016 research suggests that one of the most foundational factors in promoting employee engagement is setting job expectations early on. 

Unfortunately, difficulty communicating job expectations is a standard issue for the traditional recruitment process, and it’s heightened in virtual recruitment.  

Given the nature of the virtual process, candidates tend to frequently feel they’re missing pieces of information, such as a solid understanding of the company culture. Interestingly, they say a solid understanding of role expectations for a position is often one of those missing pieces. 

In fact, research from our September 2020 survey demonstrates that as many as 30.2% of candidates consider grasping a clear understanding of role expectations to be the absolute most important aspect in the virtual recruitment process. 

Here are our top tips for enhancing your communication of job expectations throughout the virtual recruitment process: 

Before the Interview

Candidates should have a general idea of the job expectations before sitting down with a recruiter. Whether it’s a traditional or virtual format, there are many digital resources available to help recruiters get a jumpstart on that communication. 

The first step should be to revisit the job description. This is where candidates get their first impression of the position and company. If transparency, clarity, and accuracy are not evident in this stage, candidates will walk away from the opportunity. 

You can also prepare a short list of FAQs about the position and the company to email candidates. This list serves as an excellent resource to provide clarification, resolve worry, and encourage candidates to invest more time preparing for the interview. 

Another method to help talent nail down what to expect is to send out a custom video to candidates. Emailing a brief video message has multiple benefits. It helps candidates feel more connected, but also it provides you the opportunity to elaborate on the details of the position with some personality. 

During the Interview

If you conduct live video interviews, you have a great opportunity to check-in on candidates’ understanding of the job expectations. Since the set-up is more conversational, it is easier to learn where they may need clarification and immediately provide it for them.    

During the interview, make space to talk specifically about the role expectations of the position. It can be a direct statement at the beginning or weaved throughout within the wording of questions. The approach isn’t what’s most important; it’s that you commit yourself to ensure that every candidate exits the interview with sufficient information about the expectations. 

Sometimes, candidates will ask specific questions about the job expectations and you won’t know the answer. In these situations, trying to give a vague response or redirect the topic of conversation only adds to their confusion. Be honest that you’re not 100% sure, promise you’ll find the right answer, and get back to them swiftly after the interview. 

Everyone knows that a good interviewer closes a live interview by asking, “What questions do you have for me?” At this point, you can also offer a guiding question like “Do you have any questions pertaining to the role expectations?” or “Is there anything you would like clarification on?” to double-check that you’ve communicated all of the necessary information. 

After the Interview

In an ideal world, being available and responsive to virtual communications from candidates after the initial interview would always be a top priority. Getting back to them quickly with answers helps resolve some of their worries and lets them focus on whether they could picture themselves in the position.

According to our research, over one-fifth of candidates (21.9%) would consider turning down a job offer if virtual communications made it difficult to understand the expectations. This is almost double the percentage of respondents who would consider turning it down if similar virtual communications issues made the company culture unclear (11.5%).

That being said, you’re only human! No one can reasonably expect you to stay glued to your email inbox all day replying to questions the second they come in. 

Instead, make boundaries for yourself. Find a couple times in your week when you’re available to sit down and catch up on candidate emails for about an hour. If that timeframe isn’t enough to get through all of them, send out a quick message to those remaining. Telling them you’ve received their message, you’re working on finding their answers, and you’ll get back to them as soon as possible goes a long way in reassuring candidates and building trust. 

Additionally, while you can send emails to candidates unprompted, you don’t need to flood their inbox. You can give them extra feedback on the interview, add a personal touch so they know you see and remember them, and link to more resources so they can prepare for the next steps in the recruitment process. Just try to limit it to about once a week or so. This consistency demonstrates to candidates you haven’t forgotten about them and keeps them invested in the opportunity.