8 Ways to Create a Great Remote Candidate Experience
Given the global shift to remote work, it’s likely your organization may do more remote hiring than ever before. To successfully attract and engage candidates, you’ll need to take actions to provide them with an exceptional experience from the moment they learn about your organization to the end of the selection and screening process.
Follow these tips and ideas to provide a great remote candidate experience, and keep your hiring process moving no matter where you—or your candidates—are based.
The Value of a Great Candidate Experience
The candidate experience comprises all the interactions a candidate has with your organization, including the application process, interviews and assessment activities, and the background screening process before hire. The extent to which you provide a great candidate experience not only impacts how a candidate views your organization, but also what they tell others. As a result, the candidate experience you provide impacts your reputation, and therefore, your future recruiting success.
Consider these findings:
- Sixty-nine percent of candidates who had a negative experience say they won’t apply to the organization again.
- Eighty percent of candidates who had a positive experience would share it with their friends and network.
- Seventy percent of individuals who rated their candidate experience highly said they would increase their buying relationship with the organization.
- Forty-six percent of job applicants who had a negative candidate experience said they would stop patronizing the company and make a purchase elsewhere
Create a Candidate Experience that Delights
The key to providing a great candidate experience is understanding the remote candidate journey and making improvements at each stage along the way. Here are eight ways you can wow remote candidates and keep them engaged throughout their experience with your organization:
1. Evaluate the existing candidate experience.
The remote candidate experience must be designed to help candidates move through the hiring process from any location. But before you start making changes, you’ll need to evaluate your existing hiring practices and identify new ways to move candidates seamlessly from application to hire.
To understand the current candidate experience and how you can make improvements, ask the following questions:
- Awareness: Is your careers page easy to navigate and is it optimized for mobile? Do you provide information to help candidates engage with your employer brand?
- Application: Can candidates submit an application from any device?
- Interviewing: Do you have video options for remote interviewing?
- Screening: Do you have technology to make it easy for candidates to move through the screening process quickly?
2. Review your online presence.
Most, if not all, of the information remote candidates get about your organization will come from digital sources. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure you present your employer brand and showcase your culture through multiple digital channels. You can review your online presence and look for opportunities to make improvements by taking the following actions:
- Monitor reviews on sites such as Glassdoor, and reply to reviews where necessary.
- Make regular updates to company social pages, for example, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Keep your organization’s careers site updated with current opportunities and announcements.
3. Simplify the application process.
Research shows candidates prefer a short application process, and they will abandon their application if the process is too long or cumbersome. According to Appcast, applications taking more than 15 minutes to complete experience a 365 percent degradation in completion rates.
To make sure your application process isn’t causing you to lose candidates needlessly, take the following actions:
- Optimize all job postings for mobile.
- Keep the application short and only ask for the most relevant information (you can ask more questions later in the process).
- Make sure applications clearly describe job responsibilities and requirements, aren’t too vague, and limit the use of internal company jargon.
- Use a responsive applicant tracking system (ATS), which allows candidates to set up a profile, check application status, and apply for more than one position without re-entering information. The ATS also integrates with background screening technology, further limiting the need for candidate double-entry.
4. Create extra opportunities for candidate updates and touchpoints.
All candidates can benefit from frequent updates, but regular communication is even more critical for remote candidates who lack in-person interactions with your organization. To help them know where they stand in the hiring process, provide updates and tools for staying informed.
Here are some examples of the different ways you can communicate with remote candidates:
- Explain the selection and screening process upfront, so candidates know what to expect.
- Send a reply after the initial candidate application.
- Provide feedback after each interview stage.
- Use multiple communication methods, for example, phone, email, chat, and messages through your ATS.
- Provide tools allowing candidates to see the status of their background check and drug screening results.
5. Get video interviewing right.
Video interviewing is not new, but it is likely to be your go-to interviewing method these days. According to Gartner, 86 percent of organizations are using video interviewing during the pandemic. Once you have selected reliable technology, test it to see how easy it will be for candidates and interviewers to use. You can also provide tips for making the most of a video interview. For example, give interviewers suggestions for video interview etiquette, including ways to limit distractions and manage the allotted time of each video interview.
Providing candidates with resources can also improve the success of video interviews. Send candidates call links in advance, so they can download any necessary software and test their connection. You can also prepare a checklist for candidates and provide information such as:
- How to prepare for the video interview
- What to expect and estimated duration of the call
- The bio or other information about the interviewer
6. Go beyond the interview.
Although interviews provide insights into your culture to a certain extent, candidates can benefit from additional opportunities to see and experience your organization. To help remote candidates connect with your organization, offer the following:
- A virtual office tour: Whether you have people currently in the office or not, a video tour can help candidates see the layout of work spaces and get a better sense of your workplace vibe.
- Resources: Provide resources and documentation explaining training and development opportunities in your organization.
- Virtual career events and Q&A sessions: Give candidates the opportunity to interact with employer brand ambassadors.
7. Provide a seamless background screening process.
By the time a candidate reaches the background screening phase, it’s likely you’ve already made a conditional job offer. However, it’s not the time to let delays in the screening process cause a candidate to get distracted or frustrated with the time it’s taking. To keep remote candidates engaged during the screening process, provide access to screening technology offering the following capabilities:
- E-disclosure and authorizations
- Paperless drug screening
- Integrations with your ATS, which limits the number of times candidates need to enter personal information
8. Bring it all together with robust onboarding.
To achieve a highly effective hiring process, the candidate experience should flow seamlessly into the employee experience. To make it happen, provide new hires with a great remote onboarding experience. You can include the following components:
- A process for completing work authorization forms digitally
- A formal onboarding plan with key dates and deliverables
- A digital resource library
- A “welcome” basket with company resources and swag mailed to new hires’ homes
- Opportunities to select company-paid home office resources such as a monitor, lumbar support, blue light filter, and so forth
- “Welcome” posts for new hires on LinkedIn
Measure the Success of Your Remote Candidate Experience Activities
Once you take the necessary steps to improve the remote candidate experience, you need to know which actions work best and where there is still room for improvement. A great way to see how candidates are experiencing the interviewing, screening, and overall hiring process is to ask for feedback through surveys. Asking for feedback allows you to measure your progress and understand any remaining pain points experienced by candidates. As the candidate experience improves, you should see an increase in ratings and positive feedback from candidates.
Other metrics you can use to gain more information about the effectiveness of your candidate experience efforts include:
- Time to hire: When candidates are moving more seamlessly through the hiring process, they reach the decision and hiring stage faster.
- Ramp-up time for new hires: Individuals with a better candidate experience, inclusive of robust onboarding, are likely to get up and running in a new position more efficiently.
Improve the Candidate Experience Through Background Screening
Making improvements to the remote candidate experience allows you to keep candidates engaged through all the stages of the candidate journey. As a critical part of the hiring process, background screening processes and technology give you even more ways to efficiently move candidates to the final hiring and onboarding stages. For more ideas to help you improve your background screening program, take our interactive assessment.