As the world settles into a more permanent virtual workforce, staying connected is top of mind for job seekers and employers alike.
From Gen X to Gen Z, the No. 1 reason many candidates would turn down a job offer is if virtual communications made them feel less connected to the interviewer, according to recent research from MedReps. Additionally, while many Gen Z and Baby Boomers find the virtual recruitment process personable, other generations are less likely to agree.
Companies must help job seekers feel connected to real people during virtual recruitment. From the hiring process into their employment, leaders in the virtual workforce need to get in front of candidates and stay personable, especially if the roles are virtual.
The Hiring Process
Right from the beginning, there are plenty of opportunities to be personable with job seekers. It starts with your employer branding. Your branding materials should come from a collaboration between HR and hiring leaders. Managers can contribute information about the culture on their teams and HR can paint the larger picture of how each team plays into the company.
The next step in personalization is your written communication to schedule interviews. Being personable doesn’t mean you can’t use templated emails, but it does mean you need to customize the communication to each job and candidate:
- Create a personal video introduction from leaders to welcome them to the process.
- Share specific videos or blog content that’s related to the role to which they applied.
- Call out something you liked about their application when you invite them to interview.
- Provide a timeline for the hiring process for this specific role.
In addition to the email, it’s also important to maintain frequent communication throughout the entire hiring process. Nothing feels less personal than receiving an automated email rejection months after applying to a role. To avoid making candidates feel like they’ve submitted their resume into a black hole, provide ongoing updates about where you are in the process. And once a candidate is no longer in consideration, let them off the hook right away.
There are also several opportunities to personalize the interview process, beginning with the format. In a virtual workforce, you can screen candidates through either phone or video interviews. While many candidates prefer phone interviews, opting for a face-to-face video interview can make the conversation as personal as it would have been in-person.
The questions you ask during the interview can also help you connect more personally with each candidate. For example, you might ask about the candidate’s hobbies or passions outside of work. Make sure your interview is a balance of the work itself and cultural fit.
If they made it all the way to the interview with the manager, but aren’t right for the role, leaders can personally call or email candidates to let them know. While the news won’t be what they want to hear, leaders can use the opportunity to share a helpful parting tip they can keep in mind if they apply in the future. This action will leave a positive impression on the candidate.
Joining a new team in a virtual workforce is bound to be overwhelming, no matter how much experience a person has had working remotely. Make the process easier by maintaining a balance between training and team building.
For every hour of onboarding into the role itself, give your new hires an hour to meet a new team member. Allow them to get to know the team as individuals while learning the ropes of their new job. A great way to do this is to identify opportunities for different team members to train different responsibilities of the role.
Additionally, it’s important to schedule frequent check-ins with new hires as a leader, especially during the onboarding stage. Set time at the beginning and end of each day to make sure they’re feeling comfortable with their new responsibilities and with the team. Make yourself as available as you can in the early days, as you’re the main person they can turn to with questions.
The onboarding process is a time to make your new hires feel included and part of the team. Make it a priority to keep it personable throughout this process.
Once you’re through onboarding, it’s still important to regularly check in with employees in a virtual workforce. While you’ll be able to transition these touch points to less frequent contacts as time goes by, they will remain critical for your employees’ well-being.
Checking-in should not feel like a performance review. Instead, use this time simply to catch up and connect. There should be a balance between discussing work and mental well-being. For example, you might schedule a brief virtual “walking” meeting to see how an employee feels, take feedback, or answer questions.
In addition to one-on-one time, you must also continue to find opportunities for team building, not just getting the work done. Just because you are virtual doesn’t mean you should miss out on the chance to have some fun. Host virtual holiday parties, celebrate employee birthdays and create virtual happy hours.
Take the things you loved about your company culture in an office, and convert them into virtual versions. When your team can relate to each other personally, they’ll be more successful in working together.
Karyn Mullins is the President at MedReps, a job board which gives members access to the most sought after medical sales jobs and pharmaceutical sales jobs on the web. Connect with Karyn on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.