The COVID-19 epidemic had a huge impact on people’s perspectives towards their lives, jobs, and future goals. However, it has caused more subtle adjustments in what candidates expect from potential employers during the employment process. As a result, businesses must ensure that their candidate experience represents the new reality or risk losing out on key talent. Assessing the applicant’s experience at their organization may be the last thing on the thoughts of recruitment teams that have had to ramp up their hiring efforts following a sluggish year quickly.
Here are five major ways in which the pandemic has changed candidate experiences and approach towards organizations:
1. Improved Communication
Communication has always been key to a pleasant candidate experience. However, it’s become even more crucial in the aftermath of last year’s work from home orders. Constant connectivity through virtual platforms has become the norm for individuals working and socializing from home.
One research indicates that even the least computer proficient digital communication has increased for 63% of respondents. This is supported by data from the Talent Board’s 2020 Candidate Experience Research Reports. The number of applicants reporting a positive experience increased 52% in North America, 58% in Europe and the Middle East, 49% in Asia-Pacific, and 68% in Latin America when recruiters or HR professionals informed applicants of post-interview steps and followed up within the specified time frame.
Simple activities like sharing agendas and resources before interviews, following up after that, and providing regular updates show applicants that you value their time and the effort they put into your firm. On the other hand, jobless applicants at the peak of the pandemic may have been extra susceptible to communication since they didn’t hear back from some of the firms they applied to. Responding quickly and empathetically, regardless of where they are in the process, will set your organization apart.
2. Flexibility in the Hiring Process
Changes in communication habits aren’t the only way the increase of remote employment has influenced the applicant experience. Furthermore, an inflexible interview process based on in-person encounters may give applicants the idea that your organization isn’t devoted to providing flexible work arrangements, even if you emphasize this in your employer branding handbook.
With the publication of LinkedIn’s recent study, Talent Market Drivers, Since the inception of COVID, it has been shown that flexible work arrangements are the fastest-growing priority for applicants looking for a new job, rising 13% more essential internationally between April 2020 and June 2021. Unfortunately, this may push great candidates away. In the future, consider restricting onsite interviews to only the final rounds. When scheduling onsite interviews, look for methods to make it as easy for candidates as feasible.
3. Diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI)
The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others in the middle of the pandemic prompted a renewed focus on diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) at work. Candidates will want to know what you’re doing to help workers of different backgrounds feel like they belong, so be ready to talk about it from the first discussion you have with them to the last.
When you talk about diversity in front of a homogeneous interview panel, applicants may worry how much of what you say is true. However, if you’re having trouble putting up panels that reflect the variety of your applicants, then its something you may need to restructure.
4. Work Culture
Forced to make a quick transition to remote work, several firms had to figure out how to keep employees engaged and pleased from a distance, emphasizing the crucial relevance of corporate culture.
It’s critical to start having meaningful talks about culture early on to demonstrate to applicants that you’re committed to assisting them in finding the ideal match. Sharing particular instances of how your organization brought its culture to life in a new virtual setting last year might be one method to do this.
5. Mental Health
Last year, as the pandemic’s stress and worry took their toll, discussions regarding mental health in the workplace became more prevalent. Making wellness a central focus of your hiring process can help you create a winning candidate experience.
Many candidates are looking for employment because they’re burned out or unhappy that their previous company didn’t support their well-being when they needed it the most. Detailing what you’re doing to help workers in other ways, such as providing tools to promote their physical or financial welfare, will demonstrate to prospects that you should be their pre-eminent choice.
An Impactful Pandemic for Prospects
The pandemic has significantly altered candidates’ expectations and experiences concerning job applications and hiring processes. Being aware of their changing expectations and building your hiring process around them can assist you in creating a candidate experience that leaves applicants with the greatest image of your company.