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How to keep your candidate experience strong when recruiting remotely

The global pandemic due to Covid-19 has caused an unprecedented shift to working from home. While it is the first time the workforce en masse has worked remotely, this is not necessarily a massive change for those in recruiting. And yet it yields a special challenge – also for recruiters. Here’s how to get it right.

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Image: Zoe Schirren

Of all the functions set up to work from home, recruitment arguably needs some of the fewest tools (ATS [Applicant Tracking System], Video interviews, and away we go). For our process of recruiting remotely at Billie, we are only replacing one physical step: our onsite interview.

Therefore, when we are video interviewing, it is crucial to keep in mind what we are trying to replicate. Below, we have documented the challenges we are now facing in our recruitment, how to ace video interviewing, and how to handle recruiting remotely smoothly.

The two main challenges in recruiting remotely

1. Ensuring Personal Touch

When you meet someone in person, the extra small things you do can make all the difference for a candidate. Whether it is a coffee in the office, or making sure their travel runs smoothly. All these things build rapport and add a level of professionalism to your process.

So have the same mindset when you video interview: make sure they are at ease, build some connection with them, and give them the information they are missing from an onsite interview. For candidates, it is a strange situation to be in as well, with very little information to inform their decisions.

When it comes to decision time, they will remember the interviewer who invested some time in them and answered all their questions.

2. Selling the working environment

While this situation feels permanent and may last longer than we all expected, most of us will return to our offices at some point. Do not forget the things that make you engaging as an employer outside of working from home. From the fantastic coffee machine to the team lunches – remember these things matter.

How to get the most out of video interviewing

1. Camera on

It sounds like a simple one, but to build rapport and trust between candidates and hiring managers, they need to be able to see each other. Ask yourself: would you proceed with the company that fired questions at you from a black screen, or the company with the approachable, friendly face?

2. Clear room

While it is ok not to be too formal, the surrounding environment should be appropriate for interviewing. The simpler the better, in front of a plain wall with the camera at eye level and plenty of light.

3. Take your time

One of the most significant parts of any onsite interview is understanding, “would this person fit in my team?” If you need a bit longer to get that measure of cultural fit, then invest some more time in your video interview. Video interviewing is quick to arrange and execute, so spending an extra 15-20 minutes in the calls is not wasting any time in the long run. Remember you are aiming to get to know the person, so a few minutes of small talk at the start of the interview will help build rapport and relax the candidate.

How to handle remote recruiting smoothly

1. Communicate with candidates and be aware of internal changes

It is uncertain times and things seem to be changing constantly. Therefore, it is very important to keep candidates and recruiters informed on what is happening. An extra phone call or email will make all the difference between a nervous, insecure candidate experience and a clear, concise one.

2. Alignment within teams

We are working from home – but we should not be working in silos. Make sure that interview experiences are still coordinated (interview topics alignments, next steps, feedback, rejections, and the like). Although we are working from many homes, it is crucial to speak to the candidate with one voice.

3. Onboarding

Once your candidate has signed the contract with you, there is a risk they feel like they have dropped into an abyss, even at the best of times. Now with added concerns around working from home, equipment, cancelled visa appointments, etc., it is easy to feel truly alone.  So once you have delivered an outstanding virtual experience, stay in touch. Make sure you proactively manage communications regularly with your new starters, so that when they do come in for their first day at the office, they feel they have met you before.

All set?

We hope this article helped you get into the right mindset to recruit remotely successfully. It surely is a unique challenge, but it can also offer new perspectives and higher appreciation for when we all return to our offices. Until then let’s make recruiting remotely a pleasant experience on both ends, and good luck catching that top talent!

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