Delivering an amazing candidate experience is incredibly important for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the experience will give prospective employees a taste of what it might be like to work for your company. First impressions matter.
Even if you pass on the candidate, studies show that candidates who had a positive candidate experience will continue to have positive thoughts about your company. If they had a poor experience, however, watch out!
Over the last couple months, we've taken a deep dive into candidate experience:
- Eight strategies to improve the candidate experience
- Three quick ways to evaluate your current candidate experience
- How Good Egg creates better candidate experiences thanks to a candidate-centric background check process
But a question we've been hearing from customers lately is this: How can we improve the remote candidate experience?
Due to the pandemic, more and more hiring is happening remotely. How can you make sure you're still delivering a great candidate experience even if you're never in the same room as the candidate?
Here are four suggestions.
1. Add a chat bot to the career page on your website.
A chat bot is a good idea in general. But if you don't already have one set up, now is a great time to implement a chat bot since it will give your careers page a more personal, human touch during this age of increased isolation and social distancing.
So, what is a chat bot? A chat bot is an automated piece of technology—it has "human" qualities, but it's 100% robot. Unlike live chat where a real human "agent" needs to be available to talk to someone, a chat bot can provide a personal touch without requiring human involvement.
Once set up (and if set up properly), a good chat bot can be built to answer common questions that candidates have, direct candidates to further info, and even ultimately connect a candidate to a human when necessary.
When you set up your chat bot, you'll want to think of the most common questions people have regarding job openings and careers with your company. For example, if candidates are looking to see open positions, the chat bot should funnel them to that section of the site or to the platform you use where they can search open positions.
If candidates have questions about workplace culture, share a piece of content—like a video—that highlights what it's like to work for your company. If they have questions about the background check process, you can send them to your vendor's online Candidate Help Center or FAQs page.
The folks at iCims, a leading enterprise recruitment platform, note, "An AI recruiting chatbot can work for you around the clock, answering questions, screening resumes, directing candidates to relevant job postings, and even scheduling interviews."
2. Consider conducting interviews via telephone.
Phones not only eliminate potential technology issues, but also help eliminate potential unconscious bias that can arise from face-to-face interviews (whether in person or via videoconferencing).
Fast Company reports, "Implicit bias still exists in hiring practices, but job seekers who normally employ a raft of routines designed specifically to overcome those biases are now bereft of them. Consider the 50-something technologist acutely aware that her profession too often conflates youth with creativity and innovation, and so she dyes her hair to hide the grays. Or the African American woman who relaxes her hair before big meetings because she knows how deep discrimination against 'natural hairstyles' runs. But with salons closed and some products unavailable, those options aren’t possible or practical in a time of social distancing."
Phone interviews allow hiring managers to focus on skills and substances—the candidate's skills and the substance of what they're saying. Candidates, too, can benefit, since they don't have to worry about their appearance—or the appearance of their bedroom or home "office."
The best part? Phone interviews can result in better hires. Fast Company says, "Studies show that so-called 'blind hiring,' in which candidates are judged strictly by their skills, competence, and experience, leads to more successful hires."
3. If you do conduct virtual interviews via video conferencing, clearly articulate what candidates should expect.
In the "old days" of in-person interviews, people knew their roles—for example, how to prepare, how to dress—but we haven't achieved accepted standards with virtual interviews yet.
One company might conduct virtual interviews a certain way, while another company might conduct virtual interviews a completely different way. Even the technology isn't consistent. Sure, Zoom has become the default in many cases, but not for all. Some employers might opt for Skype, GoToMeeting, or something else. Not to mention, what's become second nature for hiring managers over the last several months isn't necessarily the case for the candidates you're interviewing.
The best thing you can do is to clearly articulate—in multiple places—what people can expect during a virtual interview with your organization.
Even better? Provide tips for how to prepare. That alone will generate goodwill among candidates because it demonstrates empathy to their situation.
Where should you include these tips and guidelines?
- At the end of job listings for as long as remote interviews remain a possibility with your organization
- At the end of automated email workflows confirming successful submission of applications
- Within any email correspondence with candidates when setting up a time to interview them (or as a link via text if that's how you're communicating—the link could lead to a page on the website that provides the virtual interview tips/guidelines)
- Within any calendar invite—if you send out an email with a Zoom link, for example, include the interview tips/guidelines
What should you include in your tips/guidelines for virtual interviews?
Address the elephant in the room. In your guidelines, you can say that you understand people might be extra nervous doing an interview from home. What if the dog barks? What if the doorbell rings or fire alarm goes off in the apartment building? Let them know that these are unusual circumstances and that you understand the setting might not be perfect, and that's OK—that your goal is to get to know them better and understand their experience/qualifications.
Identify the platform you use (Zoom, Skype, etc.) and how people can access it. Things to address:
- Is it OK for people to use their phone for a video call? If yes, do you recommend that it's mounted or is it OK if the person is holding it?
- Do you have a list of trouble-shooting tips based on past interview experiences?
- What should candidates do if the video call gets disconnected for whatever reason? Providing a phone number for them to dial into is always smart.
- Note: You might need to adjust directions over time. For example, Zoom now requires waiting rooms and passcodes to enter (this is new as of September 2020).
Provide guidance regarding dress code. People are unsure what to do! Virtual interviews have a more casual feel in general, since people are at home. But providing guidelines regarding your expectations will go a long way in relieving stress and making sure everyone is comfortable: "We understand you might not be sure of what to wear during a virtual interview via Zoom. We can only speak for ourselves, but we're perfectly OK with business casual. No need to wear a jacket/tie or dress/skirt."
Give a timeframe. Remember, the candidate will likely be at home. They need to know how long they need to keep the dog in the basement, their spouse out with the kids, or when their roommate can return.
Remind candidates this is new for your organization as well! Let them know that your organization has been learning, too, and that everyone understands that sometimes things don't always go smoothly—and that's OK.
Again, all of this will go a LONG way in reducing people's stress and improving the remote candidate experience.
4. Make certain processes—like background checks—mobile-friendly.
The easier you make it for applicants to complete their background checks, the better it is for them and for you. Don't waste their time by making them sign paper disclosures and authorizations (which would then require them copying, scanning, and/or snail mailing to you).
Instead, focus on creating a mobile-friendly background check process where people can complete everything on their phones. Same is true for reference verifications—make it easy for your candidates' references to participate and engage. A robust candidate text messaging feature can help with both.
Remember, an online system makes your life easier, too, since you'll be able to easily keep track of and access digital records.
As always, if you need further help creating great candidate experiences, get in touch!
We love helping our clients re-think and improve their hiring processes from start to finish. Experience the Good Egg difference. Let's chat!