Digitalization is not new in the recruitment process. It has been here for long enough to become a regular part of each of its stages.

Sourcing is entirely online, and the recruitment process is using more and more online assessment tools. Interviewing, tech assessments, even personality and skills tests are done online using a wide variety of instruments. But what is crucial for a successful outcome in the recruitment process, was, and always will be the human touch.

In the past, we’ve all faced significant challenges with everything going virtual, including the in-person meetings necessary for creating and maintaining human contact. After all, the initial social interactions are an essential part of why someone decides to become a part of a company. The candidate’s experience no longer lies only on the in-person interviews, but on all the interactions that can happen in the recruitment process. Now, more than ever, we should aim to create unique candidate experiences that have a narrative, that’s well thought through and carried out effectively through the platforms we use to interact with them.

At IT Labs, we quickly adapted to the new situation, creating best practices so that the whole process of recruitment is effortless even in challenging times like these (i.e. COVID-19). The core idea is to create a unified experience, well designed so that the candidate can feel that every contact in the process is part of a whole.

When switching to full online recruitment processes, some essential items ideally need to be considered to enhance the candidate experience:

Be truthful

From the initial contacting to hiring, it’s important to let the candidate know what to expect and when. Openly communicate the recruitment flow and the design of each stage. Present the roadmap so that they feel fully aware of where they are in their unique IT Labs recruitment journey. Provide details on time frames, tools used in the process, roles and names of people that the candidate will meet during the recruitment process. Explain what the expectations are as an outcome of each stage. During the interview, don’t avoid addressing if the candidate is too close or too far from the camera. The eye contact is essential for giving the right impression and creating that human connection.

The best part of being involved in recruitment is matching people with their exciting future career opportunities. The tricky part is telling someone they are not a fit for a given role, but we have to be honest and be clear as it’s part of the job. For those who are not hired for the open position, just be truthful in a life-affirming way. Whenever possible, communicate this message via voice (phone). Openly go through the reasons for the decision and discuss the potential future possibilities. If a phone call is not viable, don’t keep the candidate waiting. Write a personalized letter explaining the unsuccessful application as soon as the decision is made.

Keep in touch

Now, more than ever, keep in touch with candidates. People will appreciate hearing from you, even if the update is not a final decision. Go back to them and communicate that the process is still running for them. We are all facing uncertain times right now, so bringing clarity and communication goes a long way for all candidates and recruiters. Interacting at all stages of the recruitment process and maintaining contact via multiple channels of communication will ensure that candidates feel looked after and respected.


Be there

How were you feeling on your first day on the job? Nervous? With a lot of questions on your mind? Now, imagine that in the middle of a pandemic and having to work remotely. You have to agree; it’s not an ideal situation. The onboarding process is a crucial part of making the new reality acceptable for the new hire. Making your onboarding process online is not enough. It needs to be as personal as possible. Adding a simple gesture such as sending a hiring kit or a team t-shirt will add another dimension to it. Sending a personalized welcome email on the first day and a simple social media post, welcoming them to the team should help them feel appreciated. Be there for the new hires. Ask them how they are doing. Answer their questions timely, schedule video calls to make sure they feel welcomed and prepared, and ensure their team and line manager are responding to their needs.

Empathy above all else

In these turbulent and challenging times, having the capacity to understand others is one of the most vital qualities one can have, whether it’s with current employees or prospective ones. Everybody is trying to make the best of a bad situation, people have a lot going on right now, and anxiety is high. Let’s be respectful and understand that candidates may not get back instantly, or their circumstances can change quickly. Putting ourselves in other people’s shoes and imagining what they’re experiencing helps us to react to stressful situations with kindness and compassion, which are essential during times of uncertainty, right?

Biljana Stefkov
Senior Recruiter at IT Labs