The last six months have turned our standard in-person hiring process upside down, with companies and candidates adapting to video interviews and virtual skill evaluations. One thing that hasn’t changed for hiring managers: The importance of providing an exceptional candidate experience.
The way an organization treats its applicants can indicate how they will treat their employees once hired. For example, poor communication or frequent interview delays could be a red flag for institutional barriers to decision-making or poor organization– two issues top tech talent wants to avoid. A negative interview experience can cause candidates to think twice about accepting an offer, or even cause a candidate to drop out of the interview process early. Whether your company’s interview process is entirely virtual, primarily in-person, or an evolving hybrid of the two, delivering a personalized and positive experience is essential to landing your top choice hire.
Showing well: navigating a virtual or hybrid interview process without losing candidate personalization. As employees begin to return to the workplace, many companies are using a hybrid of virtual video evaluations and in-person interviews in their hiring process. If the last six months have taught us anything, it’s that agility and flexibility matter now more than ever– and the ability to pivot quickly in response to changing health guidelines is crucial. All these changes, however, can lead to a less-than-ideal candidate experience.
This is where a recruiter can help. We’re working with companies across industries to implement best-in-class solutions for virtual interviews and skill evaluations. It may be your first or second time trying a platform or app, but there’s a good chance we’ve already “been there, done that” with another company– and we know what works and doesn’t.
For example, I recently helped a financial company in Austin, Texas conduct a series of virtual whiteboarding coding sessions with their top tech candidates. My team helped the company get set up with the right platform and ensure both the hiring manager and the candidates felt comfortable using this solution before test day.
Don’t forget the intangibles that make candidates feel special: communication, connection and culture.
Many companies follow a well-established playbook for their IT hiring process, carefully screening candidates, bringing them in to meet the team, and then testing their skills. While this process can certainly work well virtually, it’s important that companies do not lose the intangible elements that make their hiring successful– clear communication, personal connection, and company culture.
For example, you might normally give your final round candidates a tour of the office. Your workspace design and layout can reinforce company culture and help candidates visualize how teams interact. If a tour is off the table right now, you’ll need to ensure the interview process communicates these key points. This takes more than just sharing anecdotes about day-to-day work life. If your business prioritizes transparency and openness, be sure that’s reflected in the interview process: communicate clearly around interview schedules, set (and meet) expectations for follow-ups, and treat every candidate with courtesy and respect.
Think big picture: building a positive reputation.
It’s a given that candidates will talk with their colleagues about your company’s hiring process, not to mention posting on Glassdoor and Twitter. Whether they have positive or negative comments depends partly on how well your company shows.
Strive to make a positive impression on all candidates as they move through your hiring process, whether or not you ultimately extend them an offer. Ideally, you’ll want candidates to walk away saying, “Wow! Even with the challenges of virtual interviews, that was a really positive experience– I’d love to be part of this team one day.”
I like to remind my clients, “Success leaves footprints.” With so many shifts between in-person and virtual interviews, it’s easy to get caught up in these changes and miss what matters: bringing a personal, custom approach to your interview process. When candidates feel special – rather than just another number – they’re more likely to be enthusiastic about your offer and speak highly of your company. That’s the edge you need to land exceptional, transformative talent.