Could 2020 get any more complicated? As if COVID19 wasn’t enough, we’ve had hurricanes, wildfires, and social unrest to deal with. I know when speaking to others in the industry, most of us share a sense of exhaustion with everything being thrown our way. Managing the Candidate Experience can be challenging enough in a normal year but 2020 has definitely made us innovate how we look at this critical part of our job.
One of the first challenges our team faced was managing the mindset shift of both our managers and our candidates to virtual interviewing. In an era of facetime and video conferencing, I thought this would not have been such a challenge. We had to coach our managers to become more engaged to accommodate the lack of personal interactions normally experienced during face to face interviews. Candidates had to be reminded to treat the interview as though it were in person and not just show up as though they rolled out of bed.
When offers were accepted, we then had to shift our focus to how to properly onboard someone with the necessary equipment virtually. Although logistically this was not that big of a deal, there were a couple of hurdles we had to manage internally to meet the needs of our new hires and internal controls. Our team also had to ensure candidates did not back out of an offer due to the volatility of the job market and the ever-present anxiety of changing jobs during the middle of a pandemic.
How did we do it?
We focused a lot on extra hand holding for both the managers and the clients. In some cases, we engaged the perspective new employee’s future team members to help us in the process. Some teams would email new hires to introduce themselves while other groups set up a Day 1 partner system to ensure our new employees did not feel alone on an island.
We also took time to evaluate our data to be sure we knew why we were losing candidates in the process. This data helped us reevaluate and innovate our recruiting processes to meet the daily changes brought about by the pandemic. Luckily, during the height of the crisis, our volume was low enough to allow us to spend more time on relationship management to be sure we took the time to ease any concern the candidate may have.
Our team also did some manager coaching on the interview process. Virtual interviews were complicated by barking dogs, young children who wanted to participate in the interview and bad internet connections. We worked with some of our more traditional managers on how to overlook these interruptions and not disqualify a candidate because they were unable to do a video interview in a soundproof room.
An interesting data point for us was the number of interviews we were able to do in a shorter period of time. Virtual interviews allowed us to work around less scheduling conflicts which increased the number of time slots open for candidates and managers to interview.
We also found that after about a month of the “new norm”, managers found the new format more conducive and convenient. A couple of hiring managers I worked with felt more at ease on video than in person so the interview flowed better and allowed for more personal interaction.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Max Notis on the podcast Recruiting Automation about how we tackled the pandemic and other 2020 related crisis. We’ve also used this time to pivot our Diversity Recruiting Strategy to become more relationship driven and impactful.
Listen to the podcast: If you’d like to listen to how we did it, you can find the episode at https://hubs.li/H0vB-Qx0.
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