How to Create a Great Virtual Candidate Experience for Interns & Entry-Level Job Seekers
We’ve shared a lot of insights lately about why candidate experience matters, how a great candidate experience helps attract better candidates, and how to create that great candidate experience using virtual recruiting. Now, we’re building on that momentum by diving deeper into the candidate experience for interns and entry level job seekers, who may enter your pipeline with a different level of familiarity with the recruiting process as a whole.
While candidate experience matters for this audience for many of the same reasons it impacts other types of candidates, interns and entry level job seekers deserve special attention, especially in the realm of virtual recruiting and online hiring events. Many of these candidates are still learning about the hiring process—some for the very first time—so their experience with your organization will make a big impression. We also know that candidate experience, broadly, has an influence on consumer experience and brand reputation, and this relationship may resonate strongly with entry level job seekers, since they may not have a wealth of job search experience with which to compare.
Create a Unified Candidate Experience
When thinking about the kind of first impression you want to make on intern candidates and entry level job seekers, it’s important to think about your virtual recruiting as an ecosystem with a unified strategy, tone, and personality. Evaluate each piece of your virtual recruiting with the entry level experience in mind.
On your website’s career hub page, use a recruiting chatbot so job seekers can easily access frequently asked questions, and ask other questions and connect with your team.
Review your application in your applicant tracking system to ensure it is easy to read, flows logically, and avoids confusing lingo.
Host virtual hiring events that are tailored specifically for entry level positions, so candidates can ‘see’ themselves reflected in your organization’s hiring needs, rather than just tacked on as an afterthought.
Leverage Virtual Events to Build Human Connections
Virtual recruiting events enable entry level candidates to meet you face to face and build a great connection with your organization. Use clear, concise communications throughout the process, starting with your email invitations, social media posts, and career hub page. Include instructions (screenshots and video are bonus!) for using the virtual event platform to head off any uneasiness about the technology. Consider hosting training sessions prior to recruiting events so candidates can get comfortable with the technology. Make sure they know how to get help during an event if needed via phone support or a Zoom room staffed by a recruiter or assistant. Get interested candidates to join your talent community so you can connect with them across their career journey and offer useful career information.
Remember, you won’t hire every intern candidate or entry level applicant after their first virtual hiring event but you may want to keep them in your pipeline for future opportunities. The better the initial candidate experience, the more likely these candidates will be to stay engaged with your organization and attend events down the line—especially if you make an effort to connect with them on a personal level and send them invitations to future virtual events.
Share Information that is Important to Them
Throughout your virtual recruiting ecosystem, relevance is key when it comes to interns and entry level job seekers. If they feel you’re not addressing them, you’ll lose their attention quickly. Creating and referring to candidate personas is a smart way to anticipate the needs and preferences of any recruiting audience. Interns and entry level job seekers may have unique considerations, such as balancing their work schedule with their class schedule or juggling multiple jobs, and these are things to keep in mind as you communicate with these candidates, and as you plan your virtual recruiting events. Be proactive about sharing information about schedules and flexibility (including remote and hybrid options) early in the recruiting process to help candidates get a better idea of what their life would look like while working with your organization.
Follow up with Every Candidate
One of the top complaints from job seekers of all types is not hearing back from employers (in a timely fashion or at all). We all know it doesn’t feel good to be ignored, and job seekers don’t deserve to feel like they’ve wasted their time or been forgotten. Plan ahead for follow up communications about next steps, interview feedback, and offer decisions—especially when you are not making an offer. Do you want the candidate to apply for other positions now or in the future? Invite them to do so and tell them how they can become a better fit.
Hiring the Next Generation of Leaders
Today’s interns and entry level hires will someday take their place as business leaders and, odds are, they’ll always remember their experiences applying for jobs early on. Take full advantage of the benefits of virtual recruiting, and deliver a great candidate experience for the early career candidates in your pipeline. With a little time, compassion, and empathy, they’ll walk away from their first virtual recruiting event or online interview feeling heard, seen, and ready to take on the world.
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