What candidates expect from their hiring experience is changing rapidly — a change brought on by the “distance economy,” where an increasing number of people are working remotely, more and more jobs are location-agnostic, and fewer workforces have any kind of physical proximity to each other.
Along with recent disruptions and ongoing uncertainties of the future, stress levels are high — and job burnout is even higher. And as a result, candidates all over the world seem to have decided that they want a chance to sit in the driver’s seat for a change.
Things that used to sway candidate decisions (remember nap pods?) are much less relevant in an increasingly virtual world. Now, candidates are looking for much more than a work experience that feels single-sided and staged; they want genuine, mutual connection with their next employer, with plenty of opportunities to have conversations around what matters to them.
That’s why the candidate relationship is the new priority for talent teams and a critical piece of the hiring process that drives the entire candidate experience.
To build a strong candidate relationship, start by understanding these four key pillars:
16% of remote workers cite loneliness and communication difficulties as their biggest struggle in this distance economy. The paradox is this: The further candidates get physically from their workplace, the closer they want to feel.
As a result, many candidates are craving more emotional connectedness from their professional relationships than ever before.
Yes — they still want remote and hybrid opportunities, but more than that, they want a company that creates digital experiences with genuine connections. Many conversations have moved online; and in turn, people are missing the human engagement they used to get from in-person meetings and shared lunches.
With 72% of candidates rejecting job offers because they don’t feel connected to the company culture, now is the time for talent leaders to level up their candidate communication game.
First impressions matter. And as remote hiring becomes the new norm, they’re more important than ever. Without face-to-face interactions, hiring leaders are forced to find new ways to reflect their company culture and outline job expectations.
One way to accomplish this is with abundant transparency. 39% of people say they want clear communication about pay in the initial job post so that they don’t waste their time applying for jobs that don’t match their financial goals. When companies are upfront and honest — from the beginning — candidates are more likely to trust that there won’t be unwelcome surprises down the road.
Beyond transparency in job expectations, candidates also want to see employers take a clear stance on fair practices that support diversity, equity, and inclusion. The desire for an equitable work culture continues to trend upward, with more and more candidates looking for open, action-backed conversations about the steps employers are taking to drive progress.
Now interviewing at 4x as many companies as they were before the pandemic, candidates intend to be much more selective than they were able to be in years past. So even with companies promising sought-after benefits like flexibility and professional development, drop-off rates will continue to soar for hiring processes that are hard to navigate.
For candidates, the hiring experience is an indicator of what the employee experience will be like. When it’s clean and simple, and when candidates feel seen and valued, they can feel confident that’s how they’ll feel like an employee, too. A prime example is flexibility — a need that has grown by 12% in the last year. When flexibility is prioritized during the hiring process, candidates rest assured that it will be part of their future employment, too.
When hiring leaders leverage automation for both speed and simplicity, it’s a one-two punch: candidates are happier, and recruiting teams end up with the ability to adapt to every candidate’s need and focus even more on creating a genuine candidate relationship.
Ever since the pandemic began, employee well-being has topped the list as one of the most important benefits candidates want out of future jobs. This should come as no surprise — the stress of the pandemic drove many to resign from their jobs and start putting their personal well-being first.
But quite often, there’s a disconnect between employee mental health challenges and the empathy employers show for these challenges; those who take action to understand and improve health and well-being are the ones that will attract the best candidates.
Companies that invest in benefits, such as more leave, hybrid work opportunities, flexible schedules, training and development, and mental and physical health programs will see enhanced productivity, loyalty, and engagement.
Make the Candidate Relationship Your Focus
In today’s candidate-driven market, candidates are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them.
To start building winning candidate relationships, it’s time to think beyond great scheduling. Hiring leaders need a full hiring solution that will give candidates flexible, professional experiences and unique insights into the company and the role they are considering.