Career & Jobs

To Hire Better Talent in a Virtual World, Get the Candidate Experience Right

Obviously, with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, hiring has changed completely. Companies have gone remote to continue their regular operations, which has necessitated a shift to virtual hiring.

While we’re coming up on the first anniversary of the pandemic’s onset, many organizations are only now starting to embrace the one thing that can ensure the success of their virtual hiring efforts: improving the candidate experience.

It Starts With Us

Everybody is going through this pandemic together. As the gatekeepers, which most recruiters are, we need to take an active approach in helping our teams (from hiring managers to onboarding teams) understand the unique challenges posed by hiring in a virtual world.

More people are applying for jobs, which means the overall talent pool has grown exponentially. As potential employers, we need to bring empathy and compassion into our dealings with job seekers to improve the candidate experience and hire better talent.

Empathy starts with getting everyone aligned on a role before posting the position. The hiring team needs to share the same set of expectations, and candidates should get a clear sense of the position from your messaging. If you don’t do the work on the front end, you’ll only end up wasting your and your candidates’ time as you deal with the influx of bad-fit applicants.

Take the time to talk to your hiring manager and hash out all the job details before launching an active search. It will make the experience better for you and your candidates. Candidates will know they’re applying for a role they could thrive in, and the hiring team will see more applicants from candidates who meet the role’s requirements.

Changing Long-Held Views

Virtual hiring does not look the same as in-person hiring. The face-to-face cues that have long informed hiring decisions aren’t as readily perceptible in video interviews.

Yet there are pros to virtual hiring, too. One is that virtual hiring can mitigate some of the unconscious biases that creep into the recruiting process. The communication channels of virtual hiring can help a team focus on each candidate’s qualifications and abilities rather than on irrelevant criteria.

Virtual interviews will also impact the candidate experience. From technical difficulties to the nerves that come with being on camera, video interviewing poses quite a few new challenges for candidates. The same applies to hiring managers, who may find themselves conducting interviews from home while their children are attending remote classes in the background.

Technology is not perfect, nor is the situation we find ourselves in. Recruiters need to keep this in mind and extend everybody (themselves included) some extra grace during the interview process.

That said, there is a difference between extending grace and turning a blind eye. As recruiters, we need to help our hiring managers adapt to virtual hiring. Otherwise, they won’t be able to accurately assess candidates’ skill sets and potential fits in this new environment.

Keep Candidates in the Loop

One of the questions I am asked regularly, as are many recruiters, is: “What was your company’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and what have you done to help employees?”

Candidates want to know what’s going on within the companies they apply to and what to expect from the hiring process. That was true before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is even more important to candidates now that so many job seekers fear they will get lost in the digital crowd.

Job seekers want to know whether your company will require an in-office presence. They want to know whether they’ll be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. They want to know how you support and reward your remote workers.

In this new virtual world, we recruiters have a duty to go above and beyond in communicating with candidates. We need to tell them exactly what we’re doing to make the virtual hiring process the best it can be, and we need to be available to address their questions and concerns. For example, I make sure all my candidates can reach me by giving out my cellphone number along with my email address.

It’s hard, but by making ourselves available, we recruiters can reassure candidates and reaffirm our organizations’ commitments to improving the candidate experience for all.

Today, the candidate experience is more crucial than ever before. A bad experience can turn job seekers off from a company, but a positive candidate experience can improve a candidate’s opinion of your organization even if they don’t get the position.

By streamlining the process, educating their teams, and communicating with candidates, recruiters can deliver a better candidate experience and boost their chances of successfully hiring candidates virtually.

Sarah Dewey is a recruiter and career expert at Jobscan.


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