Improving Candidate Experience In The New Normal

Disruptions and challenges are normal occurrences in the lifecycle of any business. But hardly will there be a business challenge surpassing nor equaling that caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations had to depend on the creativity and innovation of their HR to survive. Perhaps the most important decision human resources made was to adopt a remote working strategy. However, in some ways, this policy of remote working has brought forth new challenges regarding enhancing the candidate experience.

The news on how many organizations are adopting remote working is everywhere, but that’s not the only revolution happening in the world of corporate business. Organizations now conduct their recruitment process online. Although, just like telecommuting, virtual recruiting didn’t just start. Nevertheless, the level at which organizations use it today is unprecedented.

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From an organizational perspective, there’s plenty to gain from a remotely optimized recruitment process. For one, it’s a highly cost-effective procedure. But that’s not all. It also offers the company access to a wider talentpool. The widespread adoption of this new recruiting strategy represents a massive shift away from the old ways. And HR needs to come up with new ways of personalizing candidate experience.

Candidate experience refers to the impression a job seeker forms of an employer after having an interaction or making contact with them. In the old days, it wouldn’t be overselling it to say HR had perfected the art of making a good first impression on candidates. The existence of a physical workspace made it easier.

However, the virtual workplace has rendered the old methods for creating a personalized candidate experience irrelevant. To deal with the issue of providing a personalized candidate experience, some experts say HR must approach this as though they were trying to woo a customer. Essentially, HR must think like a marketer.

Thinking like a marketer

The importance of creating a personalized candidate experience during the process of recruiting cannot be overstated. For candidates, this goes a long way to determine whether or not they will work for an organization. In an era where companies recruit virtually, there’s little room for error.

HR could create personalized candidate experiences by adopting some part of the old methods. To personalize an experience, first, HR needs to understand the personality of their ideal candidate. Fortunately, over the years, HR has found success using available tools to source demographic data. With this information, HR can identify the right people for the job.

HR can use this proficiency to also create a personalized touch when making their initial contact with candidates. By sourcing data on candidate attitude, behavior, belief (psychographics), HR can easily match candidates with the right set of skills and character that fit the job requirement. The emphasis on psychographics is important because they are competent predictors of candidates’ success on the job. This is a crucial indicator that shouldn’t be overlooked because of the nature of the workplace today.

To maintain an optimal candidate experience, here are some steps HR should take.

Research: Before deciding which candidates to hire, HR must carry out comprehensive research to understand the market and hiring conditions. Research would also help HR understand candidate behavior and the characteristics of top performers in the vacant position.

Creating a personalized candidate experience requires an understanding of the candidate on a personal level. By using data from the statistics bureau and other reliable sources, HR will understand the labor market and identify in-demand jobs. But, the most important of all this is that HR can zero in on the personality of their candidates. Researching will help to understand candidate situations and expectations.

Researching will also help HR identify pressing issues making the rounds in the world of corporate business. For instance, HR can identify the importance of inclusion and diversity in the workforce. This can be a pointer that will help HR optimize its candidate experience.

Creating candidate persona: A candidate persona is a detailed description describing the behavioral and skillset characteristics required to fill a job role. In a way, it’s a method HR can use to create the ideal candidate desired for filling the job position. A candidate persona will also help to shape ideas for optimizing candidate experience.

To create a candidate persona, HR will need to purr over data of top performers in that particular job role. Through this process, HR can identify desirable characteristics for a particular position, such as their interests, and their values. In addition to this, HR can build a strong profile it can use to sieve through the multitude of options and make the most desirable choice to fill the position.

Designing and delivering a targeted campaign: After carrying out the first two steps successfully, HR can move on to putting the word out. It must leverage all advertising channels but also use them judiciously so it can reach its target market. In this regard, available tools are limitless – SEO, targeted messaging, social media, and search engines.

The market is in high demand for top talents; thus, the competition is stiff. To get the right candidate, HR must have to individualize the experience.

Other tips that can improve candidate experience

After making contact, there’s still more work to be done. The candidate experience spans the whole process of recruiting. As such, HR can use some of the following tips to maximize the process.

Keep in touch: After the initial round of contact, candidates will like to be in the loop with updates. HR must ensure they don’t leave candidates hanging. They have to stay in touch with candidates and maintain clarity in communication.

Adding the human touch: Although HR can’t meet with candidates physically, it shouldn’t put a damper on candidate experience. The virtual meetings and other forms of communication must have the same human touch as it will when meeting in person.

Treating new hires specially: Recruits are coming to an unfamiliar environment. They will need plenty of help getting a foothold, getting used to the new culture, and socializing with new colleagues. Having an environment that enables and supports them to blend into their new workplace is all a part of optimizing the candidate experience.


  • How to enhance the candidate experience during the COVID-19 crisis | Talent Works International | April 8, 2020
  • Personalizing the candidate experience just go a whole lot harder and more creative | Darren Findley | January 7, 2021

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