Talent acquisition and recruiting are careers that many empathic people tend to flock to. The best recruiters out there truly care about candidate experience, and they understand that they are the first impression of their organization’s brand and reputation. For decades we’ve been refining the hiring process, but nothing could have prepared us for hiring today. After months of transformation, hiring freezes and stagnant growth the job market has come roaring back. 

There’s Another Side To All The Hiring

With thousands of candidates applying for new roles, many recruiters are strained to the brink. Empathetic habits that may have been second nature may fall to the wayside as recruiters and interviewers face their own period of professional upheaval and burnout. 

On top of that, the job of the recruiter has changed fundamentally post-pandemic. A 2020 Gartner HR Survey showed 86% of candidates conducted virtual interviews during the pandemic. Remote interviewing is now integral to the process. And that’s not a bad thing: it saves time, limits some bias, and allows consideration of geographically dispersed candidates.

How Can Recruiters Show Empathy Throughout The Candidate Experience? 

Your employer brand is what’s at stake when you fail to show empathy during the interview process. Consider what your candidates will take with them after the experience whether they are hired or not. 

Pro tip: consider your organization’s core values and how they might inform this impact. For example, at Prelude, customer obsession is one of our four core values. We take it seriously: listening to our customers has helped steer our product roadmap and informed our company’s direction. 

We wanted part of the impact of our interview experience to revolve around a practical exercise in listening and instruction because we’ve been taught so many valuable lessons by customers. So we include a specific interview when assessing every role called “teach me.” 

Candidates in this phase of the interview panel have twenty minutes to teach two of our team members anything they choose about something they’re passionate about. This allows us a moment to highlight our core values while evaluating how well our candidates would respond to an unscripted challenge and opportunity to be in the driver’s seat. 

How Do You Want Your Organization To Show Up? 

Once you’re aligned on an organizational north star, it’s time to make sure all your interviewers are up to the task of communicating those principles with empathy throughout the interview process. That starts with a robust interviewer training program and doesn’t end once the interview has been scheduled. 

Consistently make sure your interviewers are taken care of by balancing their interview load and respecting their personal interview preferences. Interviewer burnout and empathy are not a good combination. 

Is your robust interviewer pool ready to get started meeting your next generation of talent? Keep the following best practices in mind whether you’re conducting virtual or in-person interviews.

Show up on time

Imagine how unnerving it would be to show up to an interview in person and find out the address where you are supposed to meet is totally empty. Clicking on a link for an interview or waiting for more than a few minutes on an empty Zoom line is demoralizing and impolite, and definitely does not show empathy right off the bat.

Be clear and consistent about the role

Provide detailed information about the interview process upfront. Yes, starting with the job description. The interview process is time-consuming and no candidate should have to commit their time without having all the relevant information. 

Keep the focus on them

Maintain eye contact and don’t get distracted by other devices while the interview is going on. Even if you are working from home, create a quiet environment where you can focus 100% on the candidate.

Give them time to breathe

Candidates will appreciate more options when it comes to scheduling interviews that allow them more flexibility beyond 9-5. And don’t forget to schedule interview breaks to give both your candidate and yourself time to breathe and refresh, particularly during long panel interviews. 

So you’ve conducted your interviews with empathy and well-represented your organization. What about if the candidate doesn’t make the cut? The way you treat candidates who were not selected to move to a final round or join your organization is as important to your brand as your new hires.

Set a clear timeline.

Be honest about your timeline from day one. Candidates would rather hear you’re expecting to interview 5 more people than have you go quiet. Two to three days following an interview should be more than enough time for you to provide them with an update.

Create an open feedback loop.

Politely offer feedback on their interview if they don’t get the position, and ask for their feedback in return. Your honest feedback may help them develop into the right candidate for a future role.

When in doubt, pick up the phone.

If a candidate has reached a late stage of the interview process and you’re questioning if you should phone or email them the bad news, pick up the phone.

Never, Ever, Ghost.

Just don’t do it! There is simply no place in empathic recruitment for ghosting candidates when they aren’t the right fit, ever.

In the midst of our current hiring boom, it’s easy to lose sight of just how vital empathy is to the recruitment process. Consider this: 93% of employees surveyed in Businessolver’s 2020 State of Workplace Empathy Study said they were more likely to stay with an empathic employer. 

That number is likely to continue rising, and as the first introduction to your organization, it is your responsibility to not only bring in the best new hires with skill and empathy but also ensure those new hires will become engaged employees. 

There is no substitute for recruiters that show care about the well-being of their candidates. Care enough about candidate experience to be an empathic recruiter, and the benefits will last far beyond the “Great Resignation.” 

Prelude can help your team provide an exceptional candidate experience by engaging candidates with personalized touchpoints, automating interview scheduling, managing interviewer training, and more. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more.