Much has been written about ‘the great resignation’ and its effects. If we are to take one learning from it it’s this – now more than ever, organisations must consistently review and adapt the candidate experience to remain competitive in this new hyper-selective “employee market”. Conducting recruitment interviews via videoconference is not a novel experience – we have staff all over Australia and therefore, from a practical perspective, at times we have conducted recruitment interviews using this method. However, prior to the pandemic, we were less experienced in this form of communication, and due to its rarity, it more often than not felt slightly uncomfortable on both sides of the interview. Yet, like everything, the more you do it, the more at ease you become.
ENGINE APAC’s Winning Workplaces team have drawn on our own experiences and those of friends and family to create 5 tips for success that will hopefully cultivate a fantastic experience for all involved in the interview process:
- Prepare: Plan the Interviews and Plan Again
Interviews are the first impression for a candidate and a prospective employer, so it is important to make everyone feel at ease. First tip? Be early and have a back-up plan if technology fails. This sounds like a no brainer, but with the extremely high number of virtual meetings that are being conducted on a daily basis, there appears to be a trend of running late due to back-to-back schedules. Also, how many times in the past two years have you experienced some sort of technical hitch when carrying out a video call? Or suffered a lag from someone’s poor internet connection, making it difficult to know when to talk? Interviewers should meet prior and run through which topics and questions each person is exploring to avoid interrupting or talking over each other. We can attest that it is harder to read the room and find your queue to talk in virtual meetings, so as with all meetings, it’s helpful to have a clear outline of who will speak and when. Additionally, spend those extra couple of minutes at the beginning of the interview talking the candidate through the process and explain how the meeting will run. This allows everyone on your side to be sure on the process and gives a roadmap to the candidate so they can prepare for your discussions.
- Communicate: Share the Corporate Culture
Without the opportunity to walk round the office, chat to staff, and generally get the feel of the place, it can be difficult for candidates to get a sense of what the company culture looks like in practice. Therefore, it is important to try and communicate this in the interview process. However, it is also imperative to consider external facing materials which, thanks to social media and search engines, will inevitably be one of the candidate’s first stops in the process. We asked ENGINE’s own People and Culture team about the importance of conveying culture virtually, they said: “ENGINE is leveraging our employee led committees and Marketing to enhance our external facing sites and materials to show our commitment to our people and what life is like at ENGINE. Ultimately we aim to put our great culture on display.”
- Evolve: Digitise Onboarding
Once you have found the right candidate and have agreed on terms, the next stage is further complicated by the pandemic. Not everyone has access to a printer and it may be awhile before they are able (or feel comfortable) coming to your office. Therefore, get ahead by enabling digital signing of contracts and filling out of onboarding forms. Where possible, have these forms saved in a central portal so your recruit always knows where to go.
- Invest & Innovate: IT is Key
While it’s not the end of the world if IT isn’t sorted before day one, it certainly adds confusion, and isn’t the best first impression of your organisation to come off unorganised and force the stalling of your new recruit’s induction process. While in a new office, you have IT or colleagues on hand to help, in the remote world it can be isolating and frustrating. Send hardware out at least a week before your new recruit’s start date so they know exactly what they’re working with. Ensure any necessary log-ins, software licenses, or software installations are included and also provide them by email.
- Be Transparent: Manage Expectations
Whether in an office or working remotely, induction and workload for the first week can be a little slow. Therefore, without the catch-ups and unplanned overflow tasks for a new starter to help out with, it can again add to feelings of isolation and frustration. Have a realistic strategy about what your new recruit’s first week will look like, how much work you expect to send their way, how much down time will they have, and what you expect them to do with that time. Communicate this clearly to them before day one and make yourself (or an assigned team member) available to answer any questions, or even to have a friendly welcome chat.
These tips all focus on authenticity, clarity, and feedback. You may want to consider obtaining candidate experience feedback from successful and unsuccessful candidates so that you can continually improve your processes and your ability to select a truly good candidate-organisation fit.