Candidate Experience

How to Create a Great Candidate Experience with Virtual Recruiting

Jul 14, 2021 - Cat DiStasio

When competition for top talent is steep, as it currently is in many industries, candidate experience gets a lot of attention. That’s because employers that deliver a great candidate experience are able to attract more and better candidates, move them more quickly through the recruiting process, and enjoy higher offer acceptance rates. It makes sense that employers who want to stand out from the competition should work to create a candidate experience that reflects their brand values and gives job seekers a taste of what it will be like to work for your organization. Virtual recruiting can help every step of the way.

But before we dive into the strategies and practices that will improve your candidate experience and strengthen your employer brand, let’s take a step back and review the basics.

What is Candidate Experience?

Not surprisingly, candidate experience is the cumulative experience of a job seeker moving through your recruiting process. It begins with the first impression and includes every interaction a candidate might have with your organization, from social media posts and job listings to emails, virtual events, interviews, and even what they hear on the street. Every touchpoint is an opportunity to create positive feelings or leave a bad taste in their mouth. And because candidate experience is a reflection of your organizational culture, more than a procedural issue, it takes a lot of time and work to remedy poor candidate experience. At the end of the day, the quality of your candidate experience impacts whether a candidate will accept your offer of employment or go home and write negative reviews about your brand online.

How Virtual Recruiting Improves Candidate Experience

I’m hesitant to make a fast food reference when it comes to virtual recruiting, because there are a lot of important differences, but it’s true that both fast food and virtual recruiting allow candidates to have it their way. Virtual recruiting makes it easy for candidates to decide how and when they want to interact with potential employers, especially when your virtual recruiting strategy involves on-demand content (such as videos on your website’s career hub) that candidates can access whenever they choose.

Virtual hiring events also make the recruiting process easier for candidates, by reducing the time commitment, eliminating the time and expense of travel, and offering access to more employers. Virtual recruiting events give candidates the opportunity to speak to someone right away, which is much more attractive than the typical process of submitting their resume online and into what can seem like a black hole. Rather than leaving candidates wondering if anyone will even look at their resume, virtual hiring events help candidates feel seen and valued as individuals.

Top Tips for Your Virtual Recruiting Events

One of the key benefits of virtual recruiting events is their speed, which is tied to their convenience. Candidates can hop on at a time that works best for them, and connect with a recruiter or hiring manager quickly. Even when you have a queue, job seekers can take advantage of videos or recorded presentations while they wait for their turn to chat with a recruiter.

Here are a few ways to use your (and candidates’) time wisely.

  1. Prepare in advance. Make a list of frequently asked questions and prepared some canned responses that recruiters and hiring managers can copy and paste into chats with candidates or use as scripts for video/audio chats. This is a huge time saver.
  2. Add videos and recorded presentations. Give candidates something meaningful to do if they have to wait. As I mentioned before, loading your virtual recruiting event with videos and presentations that help candidates learn about your organizational culture, benefits, community involvement, and other topics top talent are curious about.
  3. Communicate clearly and consistently about next steps. Job seekers don’t want to be left hanging at any stage of the recruiting process, so it’s important to set expectations about timelines and then follow through, getting back to candidates with decisions and letting them know about their status.

How Following up Can Make or Break Your Reputation

A candidate can have a great experience at the top of your funnel and a riveting conversation with a recruiter, but if they never hear another word from your organization, you’re in trouble. Even if you didn’t think that person was a good fit for your current openings, you’ve still created a negative impression that could adversely affect your employer brand—or your corporate brand overall. Job seekers want the recruiting experience to be a complete transaction, from beginning to end, whether it ends with a job offer or a polite rejection. And employers owe candidates that basic level of respect and decency. It’s just the right thing to do.

Asking for feedback about the recruiting process—from candidates you hire as well as those you didn’t—helps you measure your candidate experience over time, so you can see whether your strategies are working and where there is still room for improvement. Giving feedback is important, too. If a candidate doesn’t match up with your current openings but has other potential, let them know what steps they can take to present themselves as a better candidate in the future, and be sure to invite them to future virtual recruiting events so they know they are welcome to reapply.

Virtual Recruiting Makes it Easy to Improve Candidate Experience

Because virtual recruiting is about so much more than virtual hiring events, it offers endless opportunities to refine and improve the candidate experience. By referring to candidate feedback over time, you can identify trends and insights to help you create a great candidate experience that reflects your brand and organizational culture in a way that attracts top talent and helps you hire the best people for your available positions.

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