You know what they say about first impressions. But do you know that it applies to your company just as much as to the candidate who’s trying to impress you? When you do it right, that candidate’s first peek inside your organization — even if it’s through their computer screen on a video call — may be the thing that convinces them to accept your offer. And even if that candidate is not the right match for you, this experience is what’s going to fuel your company’s reputation. So let’s make sure it’s a good one.
“We’re seeing companies wrestle with the virtual interviewing process and deliver suboptimal candidate experiences. This includes too many rounds of interviews and taking weeks, if not longer, to make the decision. We see opportunity for companies to reconfigure best practices from in-person interviewing to the virtual space,” says our Client Solutions Lead, Jocelyn Scott.
At Mix we strive to create the best candidate experience possible because it’s good for everyone. Candidates feel confident about accepting positions and companies get the best talent in the industry. So we’ve gathered recommendations from Scott and Tony Julian, a Client Solutions Director, to help you consistently deliver an experience that secures top talent, whether you’re in-person or not.
Stick to the plan
“Everyone likes to know what to expect, and companies who set up a plan and stick to it give candidates a great first impression on how they operate,” says Julian.
The norm for an on-site interview is having a clear guide for the number of interviews needed because candidates are taking time off to come to the office. The interview team is often already together, so they can efficiently discuss post-interview feedback and make a timely decision.
Emulate this process virtually. Build a virtual schedule that demands a reasonable amount of time from the candidate like what would be expected if they were on-site. And before the interviews start, set up the virtual debrief meetings so they’re already on calendars to facilitate decisions and candidate communication quickly.
Limit interviews to decision makers
When candidates visit your office it’s easy to introduce them to many people on the team with office tours, coffees, lunches, and interviews. Even very casual introductions are important for both the company and candidate to get a sense of the cultural fit.
In the virtual world, the solve for this is often scheduling more interviews — sometimes dozens — in an attempt to replace all the types of interactions you’d have in an on-site experience. Ideally, the interviews should be limited to decisionmakers. Even if they’re not coming into your building, candidates are still carving out time in their day so you need to be mindful of it and help create a positive experience.
To replace the informal interaction, get creative. For some people on your team, instead of an interview, maybe a quick, virtual coffee connect would give you the engagement you’re looking for. Or consider sending the candidate a virtual video of the office that highlights team members, shows off your space, and offers a taste of your culture.
Break things up
In-office experiences often give candidates a breather with beaks between interviewers, lunches, and time to see the facility but in the virtual world this has translated into back-to-back Zoom interview marathons.
To create a better candidate experience, think about how to replicate those breaks in a virtual world. Be considerate with allowing time for things like bathroom breaks, getting a drink, or letting the dog out. And imagine what a hero you’d be for using a food delivery service to drop-off food so they can have an informal lunch session with a few members from the team.
When interviewing in the office, things can go wrong — the candidate can’t get into the facility, an interviewer is running late from a meeting, or schedules get mixed up. But when you’re in person it’s a lot easier to explain the situation and even laugh about it and use it as an opportunity to connect.
The virtual world has its own hiccups — barking dogs, children interrupting in the middle of the interview, or meeting links that don’t work. Just like you would in person, use these opportunities to connect with the candidate on a more human level.
The candidate experience is always important, and even more so right now when most business is virtual. The interview process is going to be a primary decision-making factor when candidates are choosing between multiple offers. Make sure yours is one that goes in the “pro” column.
About Mix Talent
Mix Talent is a talent acquisition and consulting firm that specializes in pharmaceutical and biotech. We partner with companies to plan for, identify, assess, and recruit the talent they need to make their business successful. At Mix, we believe culture is the key to securing top talent and top talent is the key to building and growing a truly magnetic culture. We will help to bring your company’s mission and story to life, and then find the right candidates who will make your story stronger. Our experience, knowledge, and network help our clients go beyond hiring just headcount to truly creating dynamic organizations.