5 Ways Companies Are Making Their Remote Candidate Experience Stand Out
May 7, 2020
For companies that are currently hiring, providing an exceptional candidate experience may look a little different than it used to. In the age of social distancing, in-person coffee chats, on-site interviews, and lunches with the team are no longer an option. As a result, many companies are finding new ways to make their candidates feel valued — or creative ways of recreating these familiar interactions from afar.
If you’re looking for ways to make your own candidate experience stand out right now, we’ve rounded up five examples of things companies are doing to provide a great candidate experience remotely. Some of these practices were already in place before social distancing, but they translate seamlessly to an online-only experience — and may make it easier to hire remote candidates now and in the future.
1. Giving candidates a virtual office tour
According to a LinkedIn survey, the number one way candidates want to learn about your company culture is through an office visit. But because bringing candidates to the office is not an option right now, some companies are flipping the script and bringing the office to potential hires in the form of a virtual tour.
Constellation Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, sends its office tour video to candidates before their interview. It even highlights various members of the team as the camera passes, letting candidates know who they are and what they do:
Along the way, candidates also get a feel for the company culture, with the camera focusing on things like the team’s food-themed photo wall and the “Constellation Kids” picture board. And since the video is filmed from a first-person perspective, it helps candidates visualize working there.
Of course, not every company has a pre-recorded video in its back pocket from before coronavirus made it difficult (if not impossible) to film one. However, cloud monitoring company Datadog found an ingenious way around this — piecing together tours of its various offices from photos and videos taken by employees over the years. Here’s a look inside the Dublin office:
2. Attaching helpful resources to the virtual job interview invite
When it comes to interviews, whether in-person or virtual, taking small steps to set candidates up for success leaves a big impression. This is one area in which Blinkist shines. Before every interview, the nonfiction book summary service sends candidates an overview of what to expect, including who they will meet and some resources to help them prepare.
Among these resources are tips for nailing the interview, links to learn more about the company’s culture and organizational structure, and a voucher code to try the Blinkist app. This gives candidates a firmer understanding of what the company does and allows them to formulate better questions.
This approach has been praised by candidates, including those who ultimately don’t land a role at Blinkist — many of whom send thank-you notes and sometimes even gifts to the company’s recruiting team.
3. Replicating the onsite experience by sending care packages and using office pictures as backgrounds in video interviews
In a recent poll, Gartner found that 86% of organizations are incorporating video conferencing tools and other virtual technology to interview candidates during coronavirus. But that doesn’t have to mean abandoning the feel of the office visit altogether.
For example, online grocery delivery service Instacart is recreating the on-site experience in candidates’ homes by sending them a care package ahead of their interview. Each package includes a branded mug, tote bag, and a brochure containing useful information about Instacart, its culture, and the grocery industry as a whole.
“Typically, one of the first things you do when greeting a candidate for an on-site interview is ask if they’d like something to drink,” Rian Finnegan, Instacart’s senior manager of employer brand and recruitment marketing, explains in an article on LinkedIn. “We wanted to extend this same warmth and hospitality to our at-home candidates.”
To further convey the on-site experience, Instacart’s recruiters also organically began changing their backgrounds during video interviews to pictures of the office. Anyone can do this — you just need a high-quality photo.
“Sure, it might be nice sometimes to see recruiters or hiring managers in their homes,” Rian writes, “but why not seize this as another opportunity to showcase your office?”
4. Celebrating new hires on social media
After a candidate accepts the job offer, a simple way to make them feel like part of the team is to give them a shout-out on social media. While many companies have been doing this for years, this strategy is especially useful right now when you may not be able to welcome them in person.
One company that has adopted this approach is Social Notebook, a digital marketing agency based in Uttar Pradesh, India. It recently welcomed new hires on Twitter, providing a few details about their backgrounds along with a photo of them.
Fact & Fiction, a creative content shop based in Boulder, Colorado, also shares pictures of its new hires on social media. In addition to welcoming its newest team members with “warm virtual hugs and socially-distanced high fives” on LinkedIn, it shares amusing pictures of them hooked up to a polygraph machine — a fun play on the company’s name.
5. Providing a smooth and welcoming onboarding experience at home
The transition from candidate to employee is a critical aspect of the candidate experience, helping set the tone for a person’s time with the company. And with many new hires currently starting remotely, companies are working out how to handle that transition seamlessly from afar.
In many cases, a big part of that is ensuring the new hire has everything they need for their first day. Lalamove, Asia’s leading local delivery platform, aims to delight its new hires by sending some company swag and a surprise gift along with their laptop.
Soluto, a device protection service based in Tel Aviv, also sends a welcome gift to its new remote hires. In a post on Medium, Shir Peri Lichtig, Soluto’s developer relations manager, notes that while employees would usually find a gift waiting on their desk on their first day in the office, “office perks work at home too.”
As you can see below, those perks include good coffee and lumbar support — which are great for fueling productivity wherever an employee is working.
Soluto has also found a way to recreate the social aspects of its onboarding program. Rather than treating new hires to a team lunch on their first day, it now invites them to a virtual party.
For some candidates, this may be the first time they’ve interviewed for or started a new job remotely. And while some tried-and-true aspects of the candidate experience aren’t easy to do right now, putting the candidate first and showcasing your culture are two that don’t depend on geography — and which will make a lasting impression.
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*Photo by Instacart