In the weeks since our lives were turned upside down due to COVID-19 I have seen several posts on LinkedIn about poor candidate experiences – from the jobseekers applying for roles and hearing nothing – not even an acknowledgement that their application has been received – to those seeking advice and being met with silence. Of course, it’s important to note that there are exceptions to this rule, and some recruiters have ramped up their comms activity to ensure that candidate experience remains on point. In fact, I saw a great post yesterday from a recruiter who is currently on furlough asking her network to get in touch if they have lost their job and need help with CV writing or simply a chat about what their options are.
Despite this, however, it appears that some companies are failing to put systems in place to ensure that each and every individual that communicates with them is not only responded to, but also provided with added value content or directed to someone that can assist them based on their current situation. And the action recruiters take today will determine their ability to attract talent in the future when the market picks up, so it’s perhaps more important than ever to get candidate experience right.
Put a process in place
While the latest data from APSCo suggests that hiring levels are certainly showing signs of improvement – permanent vacancies added in the last week of May were up 23% compared with the first week – levels are still much lower when looking at year on year comparisons. So, while recruitment activity is going in the right direction as we move further out of lockdown, the fact remains that many recruiters and marketers are still on furlough. Consequently many of the people responsible for ensuring a seamless candidate experience are currently away from the business, leaving many staffing firms resource short. So if your firm is contending with staff shortages, it’s important that you have a process in place – to ensure that those who remain in the business are not only responding to all candidates, but they are equipped with the tools to do so. And this doesn’t need to be burdensome, it can be as simple as designating an individual or a few people to be in charge of monitoring interactions and providing all staff with the necessary content to share with candidates.
Produce content that speaks to your candidates’ situation
Having a process in place is key but it’s just as important that the information you are sharing with candidates is appropriate and relevant to their situation. Don’t be tempted to produce generic advice that doesn’t speak to individuals’ current situations, or use evergreen content that is irrelevant in today’s climate. We’ve seen a range of great content in recent weeks from recruiters that are maintaining their communication strategies with clients, such as live social media Q&As where candidates can ask for advice on their current situation, webinars offering tips on upskilling while on furlough, ebooks on virtual interviews, and blog posts on protecting wellbeing during COVID-19.
So whatever format you decide to disseminate your content in, make sure it adds value, is relevant to today’s jobseeker and that everyone in the business has access to it so they can share it accordingly.
Top 3 tips to ensure a seamless candidate experience
While producing content that resonates with your candidates is key, it also worth bearing in mind the way in which you are communicating with candidates. Here are our top 3 tips to add greater value to the candidate experience:
- Don’t dehumanise the process, get personal: Many candidates will be facing an anxious period while they seek employment at a time when vacancies have dropped – or in some cases disappeared altogether. They need your support more than ever in the current climate so it’s important you are adding a personal touch. Call people or send a personalised email with links to content, or a text instead of generic system generated emails that fail to address a candidate’s individual circumstances or show empathy.
- Communicate the good and the bad: It’s also key to manage expectations. Make sure you are communicating the good and the bad with your audience – and in the correct way. So whether a candidate has been unsuccessful at interview, there has been a delay in the hiring process, or there has been a freeze on recruitment altogether, let them know quickly and as mentioned above in a personal and empathetic manner. Silence really is a killer when it comes to candidate experience so make sure you are relaying updates even if they aren’t positive.
- Think outside the box: With the number of candidates currently in the market, you are competing with numerous other recruiters to get heard. Consequently, think about what other ways could you add value to candidates at the moment? Think about whether initiatives such as mentoring, training, or podcasts could be created to offer help and highlight your brand as one that was there for candidates at an incredibly challenging time.
Set yourself up for future success
There’s no denying that things are tough for everyone at the moment and while we tentatively move out of lockdown the fact remains that the recruitment market is still fragile. However, when we emerge from this crisis, you want to be seen as a recruiter that treated candidates well when the going was tough and one that they gravitate to for help with their employment search. The steps you take now to ensure a seamless candidate experience will pay off in the long run. Fail to do so and you risk losing out to your competitors that have placed a strong focus on going above and beyond to help in these challenging times.
For more tips from the BlueSky team to help navigate through the current climate, check out our resources.