5 Steps To Create A Remote-First Candidate Experience In Recruitment


Come the pandemic, recruiters and/or hiring managers have had to transition to an end-to-end virtual hiring process, halting all other conventional recruiting methods. Many elements of tech hiring are relatively easy to move online; digital assessment tools were used to initially screen candidates while face-to-face interviews were replaced with remote interviewing tools.

The challenging part of the online hiring process lies in providing a top-notch candidate experience, albeit virtually. 80-90% of the talent surveyed by Recruiter Brief say that a positive or negative remote candidate experience will change their mind about a company. That serves as reason enough for companies to invest in creating a memorable candidate experience if they want to hire the cream of the crop.

Candidate experience in remote tech interviews

What is candidate experience?

If you’re a recruiter or a hiring manager, you are all too familiar with the popular buzzword, “Candidate Experience.” It is a major deciding factor for potential candidates to work with you.

Candidate experience refers to how candidates feel about your company once they’ve been through the wringer, in terms of your hiring process. And these candidate ‘feelings’, whether good, bad or ugly, influence candidates in their decision to apply to your company or accept your job offer.

A good candidate experience will encourage candidates to think about working for your company after they see how you treat them. A better candidate experience might make them want to spread goodwill about your company, helping build up your brand. On the other hand, a bad candidate experience will make candidates lose respect for you, both as an employer and as a brand.

Why is a positive candidate experience important?

  • Attract and recruit better talent – A lengthy and complicated recruitment process results in higher attrition, with candidates dropping off midway due to poor experience. A strong candidate experience strategy identifies such gaps and helps you tweak the process to ensure more talented candidates stick it out till the end. Now you have a bigger and better talent pool to choose from.

Recommended Read: Ultimate Playbook for Better Tech Hiring

  • Improves your company’s bottom line – A stronger candidate experience is a direct reflection of how streamlined your hiring is. Investing in creating a positive candidate experience adds a lot more to the bottom line than all the other resources that you invest in your hiring process.
  • Enhances your employer brand – Your employer branding, especially in 2021, is directly related to candidate experience. Bad reviews on social media and Glassdoor will adversely affect hiring new talent, with newer candidates becoming discouraged from applying for a position at your company. If you want to hire the best candidates in the market, you have to take special care of them at every step in the hiring process.

The impact of bad candidate experience

63% of job seekers will likely reject a job offer because of a bad candidate experience, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Be it through social media, word of mouth, or employer review sites, any negative connotations associated with your organization will spread like wildfire and it can be hard to discourage or control.

You check multiple reviews of a restaurant before ordering food from that place. How many reviews would a candidate go through before deciding not to work with your company?

One review of a negative experience is enough to create a far-reaching ripple effect; top talent will be deterred from applying for your company, candidates will drop off midway through the application process, or getting candidates to say yes to your offer letter becomes harder than it should be. This directly leads to a decline in profitability.

Recommended read: 5 Reasons For Bad Candidate Experience In Tech Interviews

Steps to improve candidate interview experience

Good candidate experience is a package. It starts right from the time a candidate applies to your organization up until the candidate accepts your offer letter. How to improve candidate experience in recruitment?

Here are 5 steps you can take your candidate experience from good to great in recruitment.

Understand the complete candidate journey


Bad candidate experience

From the beginning to the end of the remote hiring process, a candidate goes through several micro experiences along the way. Unless you put yourself in the candidate’s shoes, see how you feel at each stage, and then tackle the problem of providing a favorable candidate experience, you will not be able to identify the gaps in the process. 

As a first step to delivering a candidate-first remote interview experience, this is an important one that dictates the direction of your recruiting strategy.

Master the basic remote interview etiquette

#1 Use online skill assessment tools as the first step of your remote interview process to screen candidates from a high volume of applicants. This cuts down the actual number who progress to the video interview stage, allowing you to spend more time on creating a better candidate experience.

#2 Be accessible to your candidate. With everything operating remotely they will be bound to have plenty of questions, and they need to feel connected to you. Keep them engaged with personalized communication like sending them emails with pointers on what equipment they will need for the interview, and how to create a distraction-free environment.

#3 Send candidates useful resources to help prepare for their interview. Give them references of questions they might be asked, and other similar tips.

Recommended read: Essential Questions To Ask When Recruiting Developers In 2021

Leverage branded content creatively

A successful recruitment process builds excitement about working for your company. It highlights company culture, values, mission and gives a glimpse into a candidate’s future work environment. 

While it’s often easier to show them your company’s culture in person, the limitations of being in a remote situation offer an opportunity to get creative. One way to do this is to send candidates branded content like videos, podcasts, company articles via email. You can also set up informal video calls with the rest of the team for the candidate to get a sense of who they’ll be working with.

Don’t leave candidates hanging


Ghosting candidates after tech interviews is one of the biggest reasons for a negative candidate experience

In a remote setting, regular communication is key. Set expectations on how and when you will communicate, what the interview process will be, and how long it will take. Clearly describe each stage of the remote interview along with what tools you will be using. Proactively communicating changes to your hiring process and any hiring delays will help you avoid confusion and dramatically improve the candidate experience.

Lack of feedback post interview is a major peeve of candidates as stated by 40% of the respondents of HackerEarth’s Developer Survey 2021. Send out timely feedback after each phase of the process, and if the candidate was not selected for the role, that needs to be communicated too. Ghosting candidates as a form of rejection is an absolute NO. Tell them what they did well and give actionable tips on how to do better the next time. Candidates will appreciate that you took the time out to inform them personally.

Recommended read: How You Can Leverage Candidate Experience To Attract Top Talent

Use remote interviewing tools

When you integrate intelligent remote interviewing tools into your hiring process, it’s easy for hiring managers in all departments and locations to replicate the same experience for each candidate, ensuring consistency. Any advanced coding tool offers a collaborative coding environment with features like pair programming, built-in video calling, automated interview summaries, and recordings.

Such tools allow for objective assessment of each candidate with standardized evaluation parameters, eliminating bias in the process.

Reinvent your remote candidate experience

Bad candidate experience at tech interviews

Candidates and recruiters alike are dealing with unprecedented circumstances and anxieties that were unimaginable just over a year ago. A rethink in your remote hiring process to provide candidates a favorable experience is necessary at this point. By doing so you are showing them that you care and that you value empathy; it speaks volumes about what it looks like to be working with your company. 

There’s no time like the present to fight the good fight! Invest in candidate-first practices to create a positive candidate experience that is rivaled by none and most importantly, stay empathetic.

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