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How to humanise your hiring (in a socially-distanced world)

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Digital tools and technologies were already being used to streamline the recruitment process, long before the coronavirus pandemic hit. But now in socially-distanced times they’re more essential than ever.

From automated updates on where an application is in the system, to digital tools to schedule interviews, there might almost be no need for any human interaction until an interview (which will inevitably be done remotely via video).

But we should watch that digitisation doesn’t take over the human aspect of recruiting completely. Having some kind of ‘real’ connection is crucial to how valued and engaged a candidate feels - even more so in an uncertain job market brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Many candidates are worried and anxious about finding their next role, particularly if they’ve been made redundant because of the effects of the 2020 lockdown.

That’s why it’s good to look for the human touch points throughout the recruitment process that can reassure candidates - as well as show them what your organisation is like to work for.

Making a connection over video

While face-to-face social interaction isn’t an option, video comes into its own. So in an age where many new starters find themselves working remotely, video can bring a sense of engagement and connection during hiring.

That might mean giving candidates a clip of you as an employer talking about the new role and what it will be like to join the company. Or team members recording themselves talking directly to their potential new colleagues.

Being real over video

Face-to-face interviews offer multiple chances to form a human rapport between candidate and employer.

But now most are done remotely via video, as an interviewer it can take extra work not to just seem a face on a screen going through the motions.

Candidates crave a strong connection during interviews, whatever the format, as they know this is their main chance to make a decent impression.

So as an interviewer, aim to show that you’re ‘real’ even in strange times, taking an active interest in their application and them as a potential employee.

Voice can beat text

Most candidates assume they’ll be able to apply for jobs from their mobiles - particularly those from Generation Z (born in the mid-90s onwards).

But even though younger candidates don’t remember a time before smartphones, that doesn’t mean they’d prefer to interact by text when it’s about job hunting.

One survey found that 78% of candidates aged between 16 and 34 preferred to communicate face-to-face or over the phone - so it’s worth remembering that all candidates still value interacting with a ‘real person’ when they’re going for a new role. (Read more of our tips on attracting Generation Z employees to your team).

A named contact for questions

What does a candidate do if they have questions about the role or queries about how the recruitment process will work?

Scouring an automated message for an email address that gets monitored is a turn off, and risks leaving them feeling disconnected from the potential job - as well as organisation they’d be working for.

It’s far better to give each candidate a personal contact who’s available if they want to get in touch. Of course, responding to every query individually might not be logistically possible if there’s a high number of applicants, but candidates appreciate having some kind of way to get in touch with a ‘human’ they can talk to - whether that’s by email, phone or even live chat.

Not just a number

Dealing with a large amount of candidates every day at HR GO, it’s no surprise we’ve noticed that many feel insecure about their job prospects right now.

Even a highly efficient virtual recruitment process has room for some human connection, so aim to make both part of a mix of communication strategies to keep candidates connected and engaged - and reassured in these difficult times.

In a socially-distanced era we’re all living through right now, humanising your hiring is even more vital.

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