We Can’t Put the Candidate Experience on Ice

Kevin’s quick thoughts below on how employers everywhere have had to freeze their hiring plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But there is no freezing the candidate experience. It rolls on, whether we acknowledge it or not. Check out the below video and article today!

By Kevin Grossman from July 13th, 2020

Employers everywhere have had to freeze their hiring plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But there is no freezing the candidate experience. It rolls on, whether we acknowledge it or not.

Frankly, I can understand why some companies might want to pause the candidate experience, given all of the other challenges we face right now. But that’s not really an option—especially not if we care about our future. In fact, as I’ve written previously, how we treat candidates during this challenging time will define our companies and employment brands for years to come.

The truth is we have an incredible opportunity, while hiring is frozen or slowed, to focus on the other foundational aspects of our candidate relationships: recruitment marketing, sourcing, application, screening and interviewing, etc.

I always beat the drums here –  because we need to focus on these items because there’s a tsunami headed our way.

Every Touch Point Matters

Due to record unemployment in the U.S., more candidates than ever will be clamoring to engage and apply at your companies in the weeks and months ahead. As a result, you’ll be turning away scores of candidates, and I don’t mean just unqualified ones. Plenty of them will be qualified, even desirable as potential hires. There simply won’t be enough jobs to go around.

Even so, we’ll want many of these people to remain in our pipelines even though we’ve rejected them. We’ll also want them to say good things about our companies on social media and to their networks. That isn’t going to happen if we’re delivering a poor experience.

At every touch point of their journey, we need to treat candidates with care and respect. Here are three ways we can do this better:

  • Invest in the right technology. Talent platforms, for example, automate workflows and unify the experiences of your candidates, recruiters, hiring mangers, and employees. A growing number of employers are using chatbots to answer candidates’ general employment questions, which frees up recruiters. (Interest in chatbot technology increased 100% in 2019, according to our research.) And mobile text-messaging campaigns increased 56% among employers in 2019. These technologies help make your candidate experience as easy and convenient as a top-notch consumer experience, which is a huge draw for top talent.
  • Provide consistent communication—particularly feedback. It’s more than just the respectful thing to do. It actually helps reduce candidate resentment, which has risen 40% since 2016. Our research shows that resentment decreases nearly 30% when rejected candidates get feedback regarding their qualifications and job fit. And feedback given during screening/interviewing, increases candidates’ perception of a “great experience” by over 20%.
  • Set clear expectations. Most candidates won’t know much about your recruiting and hiring process, so it’s important to set clear expectations from the start. Candidates want to understand how they’re progressing through your process, so you should set and clarify expectations at every phase of their journey. CandE-winning companies (companies that have the highest positive candidate ratings in our annual benchmark research), for instance, routinely tell candidates how to learn about their application status, and many explain why they use specific assessments during application. Informing candidates of the “next steps” at every phase of your process not only reduces their apprehension but it also saves your recruiting team time and effort in the long run.

The bottom line is that we have an unprecedented opportunity to future-proof our candidate experience. Candidates will definitely remember which employment brands reduced their stress during this difficult time and which ones added stress. Once we complete the 2020 benchmark research, we’ll see what the impact has been.

I’ll be publishing a series of posts focusing on each phase of the candidate experience and its renewed importance in our shifting, post-COVID-19 reality. Be on the lookout for them. Also, this is a perfect time to download our free candidate experience research and to participate in our benchmark research so you can start accurately measuring your own candidate experience.

Be safe and well.

—Kevin Grossman, President, Talent Board

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