Recruitment in Covid-19 has been a learning curve for managers and candidates alike. How can you provide applicants with a supportive and positive candidate experience when there are so many barriers standing in the way? This article outlines two processes to refine in order to combat a candidate's feelings of isolation, stress and rejection in these unprecedented times.
To say that Covid-19 has been challenging is an understatement. Uncertainty has manifested in all aspects of life, and the job market is no exception. Unemployment rates have spiked, which could mislead employers to believe that the candidate experience is no longer a priority.
Why provide candidates with a positive recruitment experience... when we’re in an ‘employer-market’?
Of course, HR managers must be proactive in adapting their recruitment processes to meet the current health orders and restrictions, but it is equally important to cater to the overall wellbeing and mental health of candidates. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that kindness goes a long way. A company’s values and EVP should be embedded throughout the entire recruitment process to provide job seekers with authentic support and reassurance while they navigate this unique job market.
Taking that extra step to provide candidates with a seamless, stress-free experience will not go unnoticed. People talk, even during a global pandemic. As they say, your candidate today is your customer tomorrow. A positive employer brand may be the factor that keeps a company’s head above water throughout the economic recession. Let’s discuss how we can ensure that candidates will look back on their recruitment experience with positive sentiment.
1. Communication makes ALL the difference
Implementing a clear line of communication between HR managers and candidates is especially important in 2020. The virtual nature of Covid recruitment distances candidates from the process. HR managers must overcompensate for these physical barriers and implement communication strategies to ensure candidates feel as though their time and energy is valued by their potential employer.
Keep candidates updated, or else they’ll feel deflated
Candidates want progress updates! Automatic email or text message notifications are ideal to keep candidates informed throughout each point of the application and recruitment process. When candidates know how they’re progressing, they are able to adequately prepare for each phase and manage their expectations accordingly.
During lock-downs, candidates don’t have the usual distractions of daily life, and nothing to stop them from overthinking about the outcome of a job opportunity. Regardless of whether the outcome is in their favour or not, candidates will always prefer to be ‘in the loop’, rather than having false hopes and helplessly refreshing their emails.
Miscommunication = missed opportunity
When HR managers are honest with their applicants, it minimises frustrations and candidate dissatisfaction. For instance, HR managers should communicate unexpected delays or prolonged pauses in the recruitment process to their candidates, rather than leaving them in the dark. Even the slightest miscommunication from a potential employer can fuel a candidate’s anxiety and uncertainty. A lack of communication leads to a lack of momentum – causing candidates to mentally check-out of the process all together!
Removing the unknowns at every point possible will put candidates at ease, contributing to an overall positive experience. Candidates deserve to feel they are respected by a potential employee at the very least. Effective communication is the answer.
2. Humanity through technology
How can HR managers achieve the feeling of personalised contact with each and every candidate? The answer is advanced, modern recruiting technology. It is ironic that Covid has caused us to rely on technology to feel closer to people, but nevertheless, it’s the only way to achieve some level of normality. Let’s discuss specific technology capabilities that can be used to mimic the authentic, ‘in-person’ experience that candidates value.
How can candidates sell themselves when time is scarce?
Pre-recorded video Interviews are a practical tool that are perfect for isolation, where an in-person interview is not an option, and conducting live-online interviews aren't feasible for time-poor HR managers. Candidates have the opportunity to showcase their unique personality and professional attributes from the comfort of their own home. The beauty of pre-recorded videos is that they can be completed in the candidates own time.
Although live online interviews are effective in theory, they do pose some challenges in catering to lockdown laws. A candidate’s living situation may not allow them to access a quiet, interruption-free environment for an extended period of time in a live interview (thanks to uncontrollable kids, housemates or partners). Pre-recorded video interviews are the solution.
Short recordings to each interview question provides HR managers with enough content to determine whether they are interested in pursuing a candidate. This means more flexibility for candidates and greater efficiency for HR managers. It’s a win win! No more conflicts in scheduling or availability, leading to a better candidate experience.
Testing a candidates suitability should not be one dimensional
Psychometric testing is another layer to recruitment technology that mitigates recruitment bias, reassuring candidates that they are on an even playing field. Recruiting software can analyse video-interviews using artificial intelligence, determining whether a candidate’s soft skills and personality type would be compatible with the role they are applying for. The collaboration of technology and behavioral science means no human prejudice – leading to an objective understanding of a candidate’s potential.
For example, Covid has seen a surge in unemployment among people over 50; a demographic that may be concerned about age-bias when applying for new jobs. When candidates are aware that a potential employer has put in processes to reduce such bias, it reinstates their confidence and trust in the process.
Any modern recruiting software should provide these technological capabilities. HR managers are able to access modern and customisable software that allows for a seamless candidate experience while finding the best talent for their available positions.
What can we take away?
It’s human nature to share our negative experiences, more so than the positive ones. Creating a positive candidate experience will help maintain a strong employer brand, which is crucial in the current economic climate. However, the importance of providing positive candidate experience cuts deeper in 2020.
Let’s adjust the notion that recruitment has to be ‘cut-throat and merciless’. Now more than ever, HR managers must practice compassion, implementing processes to support candidates in navigating this tumultuous time. Providing candidates with a seamless recruitment journey will reinstill their confidence in the job market. making them feel valued on a personal and professional level.
You never know what someone is going through – a little care can go a long way.
About the author
Perry Timms is the Founder & Chief Energy Officer of PTHR, with 30+ yrs experience in people, learning, technology, organisation change & transformation. His personal mission is to see more people flourish through their work, and help shift organizations as a force for societal good (not just profit machines). PTHR's mission is defined as "Better Business for a Better World". In October 2017, his first book, Transformational HR - was published by Kogan Page and the Energized Workplace published in August 2020. He was an extremely proud new entrant to the list of HR Most Influential Thinkers for 2017 and again in 2018 + 2019 (in the top 10 both years).