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Rethinking Candidate Experience in the New Normal

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With recruitment processes going online, coffee conversations and in-person meetings are no longer always an option. You may be on the lookout for new ways to create a positive candidate experience. 

In our recent webinar ‘Rethinking Candidate Experience in the New Normal’ we caught up with two wonderful talent acquisition leaders who shared their first-hand experience and tips as we all adjust to the ‘new normal’. Below you will find some of the highlights from the discussion, however, you can also check out the full webinar here too if you want to go into more depth.

How the Candidate Experience Can Impact a Business

If a candidate has a negative candidate experience with a company, it can have a direct impact on that person’s perception of the company going forward. This is especially important for consumer brands to be aware of as often their target audience overlaps with the same group of people they’d like to hire. 

"We’re in a consumer-based business and if people don’t have a great experience with our team then that can influence the decisions that person makes at the bottleshop or at the pub or at the restaurant the next time they’re there." - Katharine Davidson, Lion 

Naturally, there may be one-off candidate experiences that cause an individual to avoid a brand, which may not be cause for concern. However, the real problem occurs when a recruitment process is consistently creating negative candidate experiences simply as a result of the faulty recruitment process they currently have in place. These systematic negative candidate experiences can also lead to difficulties attracting talent in the future as negative experiences can easily be spread by word of mouth and on social media.

"We’ve all had friends, family or colleagues who have gone through a recruitment experience that’s been negative and straight away you think: well I wouldn’t want work there if that’s how they treat people." - Katharine Davidson, Lion 

Thankfully, a recruitment process that strives to create positive candidate experiences can have a powerful impact on a brand and do wonders in helping that brand attract the kind of great talent they’re looking for.

PRO TIP: Take the time to ask all of your candidates for feedback about their recent candidate experience. Continue to measure this feedback so that you can make the necessary tweaks or big changes needed to help improve the overall recruitment process.

What Can be Done Differently During Uncertain Times

#1 Redirect Talent 

During the Coronavirus Pandemic, a common experience for many companies has been receiving a larger than ‘normal’ influx of new applicants due to suddenly higher unemployment rates. Often, a large per cent of these candidates are applying for roles that they may not be suited for or that they don’t have the appropriate experience needed for that particular role. Instead of turning these candidates away, companies who have multiple roles on offer might benefit from taking the time to consider if these candidates could be utilised in other roles within the business.

"We’re currently on a big growth trajectory, even though COVID-19 so our candidate experience is vital to attracting the right talent. We are seeing a lot of candidates applying for roles that they’re probably not suited for, but for us, it is about working with great talent to see if we can find a better fit for them as we have a lot of different roles available." -  Maur Bell, Torrens University Australia

Communication is key to ensuring that candidates have a positive experience, especially during uncertain times. If you’re open and honest with candidates about the role or the different situations that your company is facing then candidates tend to be a lot more understanding and flexible than they would be if you kept them in the dark. 

#2 Proactive Talent Sourcing

During uncertain times, it is important for businesses to be as nimble as possible and be open to new ideas or trying a different recruitment approach. One example of a different approach is seeing if proactive talent sourcing could better meet your recruitment needs by potentially helping you avoid a large influx of inappropriate applicants. This approach may give you more control over the kind of talent you screen and if done well, could result in great candidate experience outcomes as you’re proactively reaching out to talent that you’re interested in hiring.

"We adapted to the changing market by proactively reaching out to some of the organisations like Flight Centre who we knew were letting people go. This gave us the chance to work with businesses directly to source great talent without having to reject hundreds of applicants who applied via an ad." - Katharine Davidson, Lion 

#3 Journey Mapping

When a crisis hits or as you're rebuilding after a crisis, rather than trying to keep going as you would have beforehand it is important to make time to rethink how a process is undertaken. Adapting to sudden change is difficult at the best of times but it can have its benefits and help you look at an old process with fresh eyes.

A great place to start is by taking a moment to pause and get a birds-eye view of the current processes you have in place by mapping out the entire recruitment journey that you currently offer. Once you have a good understanding of where you are at, you can begin to identify areas that need urgent attention as well as small tweaks that will help improve the overall efficiency of the process. 

"When the pandemic began, we responded by taking a moment to reflect on our current processes. We used the time to map out the candidate journey, map out the emotional journey and also revisit all of our comms and rewrite them accordingly. We’ve done a lot of this work with the candidate experience in mind and are confident it will have a positive effect on outcomes going forward."  -  Maur Bell, Torrens University Australia

#4 Video Interviewing

While the practice of video interviewing isn’t new, how businesses use this technology has certainly needed to change suddenly. Before COVID-19, many companies started experimenting with using video interviewing as a way to screen candidates and. Fast forward a few months and almost everyone has needed to adapt to using some form of technology to recruit remotely, often without ever meeting candidates in person before they’re hired.

With any new process, there needs to be room for a learning curve to take place. It isn’t just about getting the candidates used to a new way of interviewing but also about getting your own team and hiring managers familiar and comfortable with new technologies and the new process that comes along with it.

"When suddenly all of our interviews needed to be via video interviewing, we found that we underestimated how hard that transition would be. We were familiar with video interviewing for screening candidates but weren’t prepared for the unexpected challenges that came with involving our hiring managers in this process. We found that we didn’t have enough time to conduct change management with the leaders and ended up needing to come up with a solution with existing technology." - Katharine Davidson, Lion 

PRO TIP: Help to manage expectations by providing candidates with a clear understanding of what form the remote interview process will take and what the subsequent steps required might be. Clear communication is an essential component of creating a positive candidate experience. 

Looking to Delve Deeper?

This recent webinar was bursting to the seams with practical insights and experiences. So, if you’ve enjoyed this taste tester of the discussion so far, feel free head over to our resources page to listen to the full webinar: ‘Rethinking Candidate Experience in the New Normal’. Katharine and Maur shared so many great examples of how to adapt to these challenging times while also implementing changes that will help them well into the future and ‘new normal’.

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