According to a recent survey from the Talent Board, employers cite improving the candidate experience as their top primary recruiting activity for 2021, and a full 98% of employers stated they believe that improving the candidate experience can enhance and protect their employer brand.
But there's just one problem - in response to COVID-19, a significant number of employers have had to shift from an in-person hiring process to a virtual one in the past year, and it hasn't been easy.
With recent research showing that a positive virtual candidate experience makes candidates 38% more likely to accept a job offer, it's important that companies plan and implement a positive virtual candidate journey, taking into consideration every step of the recruitment process, from outreach and initial screening through interviewing and onboarding.
Here are the four foundations to providing a compelling virtual candidate experience:
#1: Making communication a priority
Leaving your candidates waiting and wondering is one of the biggest virtual candidate experience fails there is. For example, in one HR Technology survey, 63% of candidates surveyed were dissatisfied with communication from most employers. And, almost a third of job seekers rank responsiveness as most important to them when it comes to candidate experience.
Prompt, consistent, and clear communication makes all the difference when someone is interacting with your hiring team entirely virtually. Reaching out to candidates during each phase in the process will create a strong initial connection. Employers that also provide guidance and resources such as FAQ guides, pre-interview technology checklists, and tips for online interviewing to help candidates understand what to expect from the process will make a positive impression.
#2: The right technology speeds up the process
According to a survey from Yello, a talent acquisition platform, more than half of employers report their time-to-hire is three weeks or more, but 81% of candidates say they expect a two-week process. If you get the sense a similar disparity is lurking within your own process and frustrating candidates, that creates a great opportunity for artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and enhanced analytics to streamline the virtual candidate experience and shorten their time-to-hire.
Another area where technology can help is in the initial application. Ensuring that the application process is fast and easy to complete increases the number of submissions you'll receive and gives a positive first impression. For example, when the job application process takes longer than 5 minutes to complete, companies have experienced drop-off rates as high as 75%. In addition, the majority (85-95%) of candidates are using their mobile devices during the application process, so employers should look for tools that support a seamless search application process optimized for mobile.
#3 Survey tools allow you to make hiring a two-way process
Employers increasingly conduct surveys and gather feedback from candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers at key stages of the process to create a better virtual candidate hiring experience. HR tech tools can automate sending candidate experience surveys such as the following:
- Receipt of application survey: a short questionnaire to collect input on the ease of use of the application platform and gather information on how accurately the position and responsibilities were described.
- Post-interview survey: this is the opportunity to ask both candidates and hiring managers questions in order to make any changes needed to improve and enhance the process.
- Offer rejection/candidate withdrawal surveys: asking questions such as the likelihood of applying in the future. When applicable, why the candidate rejected the job offer will help employers gather feedback about the overall candidate experience and employer brand.
#4 Social media and employer sites set accurate expectations
Employer branding is always an important part of the hiring process, but in a virtual experience, it's even more important because it's the default format candidates use to interact with a company. For example, one survey from HR Technologist indicated that more than half of candidates say they will share their experience through social media. Furthermore, 69% of candidates reported posting about their negative experience on social media, while an even higher number (82%) said they have posted about a positive experience.
There is also a positive correlation between a higher Glassdoor rating and click-to-apply rates. Conversely, more than half of candidates say that negative Glassdoor reviews will prevent them from applying for a position. Thus, employers can-and should-leverage their digital and social media channels to facilitate the candidate experience and boost their employer branding.
Virtual recruiting and hiring opens candidates up to more options than ever before. This is great news for candidates who are now eligible for positions they may not have been interested in before, but it increases the competition organizations face in attracting those candidates to new open roles. The more organizations can do to create a consistent, compelling virtual candidate experience, the better - and it all starts with making communication a priority, using the right tech, capturing data and feedback, and leaning into your digital employer brand.
Glassdoor can help you manage your employer brand in order to reach the right candidates and convert them to ideal hires. Contact us to learn more.