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4 Tips For Providing a First Class Job Candidate Experience Remotely

As businesses around the globe begin to map out their return-to-work plans, many are hitting the pause button – and some are now extending remote work polices into summer 2021.

Even as some companies return to the office, it will likely be in a staggered approach or with limited capacity requirements. Masks and social distancing will be required, and in-person interactions will look vastly different than they did in our pre-COVID days. For companies that paused or slowed hiring because of the pandemic, resuming regular recruiting activities will likely come with an even steeper learning curve.

While long gone are the days when phone screens were the only remote aspect of the interview process, the good news is that many elements of the candidate experience are relatively easy to move online. Face-to-face candidate meetings, for example, have been replaced with video interviews – and online assessment tools can help evaluate candidates’ skills.

Embracing virtual hiring and onboarding solutions, even if temporary, will only help companies expand and supplement their long-term recruiting strategies.

Here are four tips for providing a first-class candidate experience while EVERYONE IS WORKING REMOTELY:

1) Inform candidates about the remote recruiting experience so they know what to expect

Given the current circumstances and how fast everything is changing, it is critical to keep candidates informed about every step of the hiring process in order to develop trust early on. This is always important in providing a positive candidate experience, but communications become even more important during times of crisis and change. Candidates are going to need even more transparency and clarity than usual to feel comfortable.

Clearly define what the process will look like up front, and if it’s something that’s fluid, just be open and honest about this. It’s okay to let candidates know that timelines might shift and that processes might start and stop again. Proactively communicating these changes along with any other hiring delays will help you avoid confusion down the road and dramatically improve the candidate experience.

2) Prepare candidates and internal stakeholders fully for video interviews

Ensure that interviewers and candidates have the necessary information to connect to video conferencing tools including technology guides and communication best practices. These important details can be attached or included in the virtual invite.

Prepare both the candidate and the internal decision makers on how to participate in remote interviews. Test the internet connections at least 30 minutes before the interview to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Prepare candidates with additional information about the company – such as links to the company’s social media pages, relevant team member bios, or recent articles. This gives candidates a firmer understanding of what the company does and allows them to formulate better questions.

We’ve all gotten a little comfortable in our extended WFH scenario, which might mean our new work uniform has become sweats and baseball caps, but your panel will want to make a good impression on the candidate as well. Dress for a virtual interviews like you would for an in-person interview. Show up early and be well prepared.

Incorporating video conferencing tools and other virtual technology doesn’t mean you have to abandon the feel of an office visit altogether. One way to replicate the onsite candidate experience is by using office pictures as backgrounds during video interviews (just be sure to test this in advance as well, so you’re not inadvertently floating in outer space or sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower).

3) Use video to creatively showcase company culture

When office visits aren’t an option, companies should consider turning the tables by bringing the office to potential hires in the form of a virtual tour. Whether it be a high-level tour of a facility or highlighting each step of the process, this type of video can help you connect on a more personal level with your stakeholders.

In addition to showcasing the space, this is a potential opportunity to spotlight various team members and incorporate sound bites that will give candidates added flavor for the types of roles and personalities of their potential co-workers.

Additionally, companies can take this one step further by creating presentations or sharing photos from various company events and team outings. The end-goal is to help candidates visualize working for your company, so think outside the box and creatively when it comes to ways you can showcase your company culture.

4) if the candidate gets the job, make the welcome feel special

Celebrate new hires on social media and in company communications. While many companies have been doing this for years, this strategy is especially useful right now when you may not be able to welcome a new hire in person.

If new hires start while your company is still working remotely, provide a smooth onboarding experience by ensuring they have everything they need for their first day. This stage is critical because it will instill a new hire’s confidence in your company, as well as set the tone for their first several weeks on board.

Logistics at the stage will likely be the most complex to manage, so the key is to focus on communicating openly and often to set the right expectations. Help your new hire feel welcomed and at-home by establishing regular check-ins and setting up get-to-know-you calls with other team members.

Final Thoughts

While the COVID-19 pandemic changed almost all aspects of our lives overnight, the upside to this worldwide experiment in working and hiring remotely is that your company can better prepare for what the future holds.

For many companies, shifting to an entirely remote hiring process was uncharted territory. Remember that there will inevitably be hiccups along the way and know that it’s okay to be human.

Whether you’re the interviewer or interviewee, the majority of us are all still working from home, which means spouses might walk in the room, dogs may bark, or a child might need you. Plan ahead to minimize the chances of unplanned interruptions, but if it happens, don’t sweat it. And if your 4-year old comes running into the room wearing nothing but his ‘birthday suit’ and Mickey Mouse crocs (and yes, this really did happen to me), just roll with it and enjoy a good laugh.

For some candidates, this may be the first time they’ve interviewed or started a new job remotely. Showing them that you understand and care by being patient and accommodating will make a lasting impression and speak volumes about your company culture.

Things are different right now and everyone is doing their best to make it work. The good news is that there are some things you can continue to control despite the circumstances, and the candidate experience is one of them.

At Fahrenheit, we work with hundreds of companies across all industries that come to us for our straight-forward approach and consultative guidance when it comes to finding the right talent to take their organization to the next level. Our Executive Search & Recruiting team spends extra time with our clients on the front-end of the search process to ensure we understand their strategic issues, cultural nuances, and leadership needs. Then, through competency interviews, leadership questionnaires, cultural assessments, references, and our deep market knowledge, we help our clients make the best placements for long term success.

Reach out to me so we can discuss your company’s unique talent needs- 804-955-4440, kprado@fahrenheitadvisors.com.

About the Author

Kim Gunst PradoKim Prado brings over a decade of experience in account management, business development, and talent acquisition. Working with clients across multiple industries including marketing, advertising, and nonprofit, Kim partners with companies to understand their business, industry, and culture. Fahrenheit’s customized approach to hiring allows Kim to strategically source qualified individuals. She prides herself on developing and maintaining strong relationships with clients and candidates to make the best match for long term success.

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