The candidate experience in virtual recruitment can easily be far from ideal. It’s OK to admit it! Recruiters in all sorts of industries are still learning to navigate how to offer positive recruitment experiences in today’s job market. With social distancing in place as many offices continue with remote work, keep in mind: You are not alone.
Sometimes it can feel like there’s a never-ending list of all the things with which candidates often struggle in the virtual recruitment process. And it’s natural to worry that the smallest misstep could cost you amazing candidates. But do not despair!
In September 2020, we surveyed over 500 job seekers on what they thought of the virtual recruitment process. With that research, we have developed the ultimate guide to help you secure top talent!
Here are the best recruitment solutions to optimize the candidate experience in the virtual recruitment process:
Create written guidelines to boost confidence
Showing your faith in virtual recruitment can help candidates enter the process more optimistic and open-minded. To help build candidates’ confidence with video interviews, provide guiding resources in advance so they can practice and feel prepared.
Most candidates prefer written guidelines and tips (38.3%) over a video tutorial on the software (28.8%) or individual technical assistance (15%). Include your written tips on your website or in personalized emails to help your candidates feel supported.
Develop different tip lists for different skill levels
Create different sets of tips for virtual interviews depending on the potential skill levels of your candidates. Have a list at the ready for Beginners who have never done a video interview, and one for Intermediate candidates who have some experience and want to take it to the next level. You can also add one for Advanced candidates familiar with the typical how-to’s and are looking for ways to highlight their strengths even further in a virtual interview.
Prioritize quality virtual communication
It’s vital that virtual communication be personable and helps form a connection with the interviewer.
A great recruitment solution to achieve this is through personalized emails, which 58% of candidates list as their favorite method of communication to receive from recruiters. According to our survey, video conversations (1.4%), video messages (0.2%), and social media (0.2%) are not nearly as preferred.
Be consistent and transparent
Today’s top talent have the perfect balance of understanding where to find information on the internet and life experience to know what to look for. In fact, 45.2% of our survey respondents rank transparent and frequent communication as the most important factor in virtual recruitment.
Evidently, transparency is essential. Use these recruitment solutions to maintain it:
Before the interview: Avoid making the job description sound more posh or exciting than the position really is. Top talent will be able to see right through that.
During the interview: Be clear about your timelines in communication, and stick to them. And answer candidate questions with the honesty they deserve. No matter what, stay frequent, honest, and personable. That way, candidates will look back on their virtual recruitment process as a positive experience.
Emphasize role expectations
Be sure, in your recruitment solutions strategy, to emphasize role expectations through every step of the candidate experience. As many as 21.9% of candidates say they would consider turning down a job if virtual communications made it difficult to understand role expectations.
Before the interview, double-check that the job description is clear. During interviews, take some time to talk about what exactly your company wants to see from new hires in this position. And after the interview, promptly follow up with candidates asking if they need any clarification about role expectations.
Provide alternative locations for interviews
Doing video interviews at home may not be an option for everyone, but you can still attract top talent by offering other options for your virtual interviews.
For one, you could interview for remote roles over the phone. While using the phone instead of video is not a preferred method of interviewing, it provides the candidate with greater flexibility while still being personable.
Additionally, if you’re still renting office space, you could set up a secluded spot with a computer for candidates to interview virtually in a private room with trustworthy tech. This alternative puts the candidate in a better position for success while still maintaining the benefits of virtual interviews.
You remove the pressure of in-person interviews, while keeping the interview experience fair and consistent for all candidates. Most importantly, interviewers still have the option of conducting or reviewing the interview from their home office.
Assist with tech issues
When it comes to recruiting solutions, many companies know to prepare a short guide for candidates about using their interviewing platform. However, candidates would also benefit from information about troubleshooting if something goes wrong.
Whether through written instructions, video, or individualized, live support, provide your candidates with somewhere to find the solutions to common issues.
Keep it authentic
In our survey, we found that 57.8% of candidates rank never meeting the recruiter in-person as their least favorite part of the virtual recruitment process, and over one-fifth (21.7%) believe that the virtual recruitment process is not at all personable. Yikes!
With so much value placed on developing a personal connection to make up for not meeting in-person and improve that personability, it could be detrimental to attracting top talent if your recruitment style comes across as fake or forced.
As much as you recommend to your candidates that they be authentic and relaxed on camera during their virtual interviews, don’t forget to take your own advice. Take deep breaths, meditate, throw yourself a mini dance party, or do whatever you need to loosen up. And try to keep your tone more conversational than rehearsed.
Practice authenticity outside of the interview as well. For example, in your personalized emails to candidates, it’s OK to come across as a little casual. Being human and having a personality is more important than being a rigid professional sometimes.
Balance professional and traditional
Keeping it authentic and down to earth is a useful tactic to form a connection with candidates. It would also be comforting for the process and conversation to be similar to their accustomed manners in a professional environment.
Don’t try to cut the tension with an awkward joke. Instead, offer your apologies for not being able to properly shake their hand at the beginning of the interview. Break the ice by connecting to family values, and make it extra-clear through your body language/tone of voice that you respect your candidate and that they have your full attention.
Leave your bias at the door
While no one likes to admit they have inherent biases, it is likely they can creep into the virtual recruiting process. For example, recruiters may underestimate Baby Boomers, especially if the position requires abilities with technology.
But maintaining these biases will only limit your recruitment solutions’ ability to be effective.
Instead of assuming that a candidate struggles with technology and, therefore, would struggle in the position, focus on asking about their learning style and approach to problem-solving. Do they get frustrated easily when they don’t understand something? How soon do they ask for help if they can’t find the answers on their own?
A candidate who has patience with themselves, is willing to ask others for help, and knows how to troubleshoot on their own or with the help of the internet first is a valuable candidate even if they admit to struggling with tech issues from time to time.
Reading through this long list of tips can feel like there’s a LOT to do. But remember, everyone — whether recruiter, candidate or even business leader — is in the exact same boat of trying to figure out how to make virtual recruitment work best for them. Take a deep breath, and commit yourself to adopt new virtual recruitment solutions as you build your way up to maximizing your candidates’ experiences. You got this!