Don’t Wish for a Return to Normal; Reinvent It

So often, we hear talk about a return to normal and getting back to business as usual. What if you rejected that idea in favor of inventing a new normal in talent acquisition? 

3 old phones on wall

Imagine the possibilities for talent acquisition if you could grow candidate referral flow 300% year-over-year, accelerate hiring 55% or increase engagement more than 40%? It’s all possible if you change the way you connect with candidates.

Is It Time for a Reset?

Some would say it is past time to return to business as usual, but what if usual wasn’t all that great? The pandemic showed us that some of our talent acquisition practices and processes were overly complex, impersonal and time consuming. Those employers that introduced innovative approaches and automation designed to simplify and streamline talent acquisition are better positioned to take advantage of post-pandemic growth opportunities. Those that maintained the status quo may find themselves falling behind as we move forward.

What Happened to Talent Acquisition During the Pandemic?

Just as every other aspect of life took a left turn for the pandemic, so too did talent acquisition. As businesses adjusted to swiftly changing market conditions, millions of people stopped working, some temporarily, others permanently. Millions more set up shop from home offices, vastly accelerating the adoption of remote working. These actions were mirrored in talent acquisition. Some businesses downsized their recruiting teams as hiring came to a halt, while others in essential industries and certain support roles experienced a huge spike in hiring activity. In all cases, the how of talent acquisition was reconfigured. The most ubiquitous change was the shift to virtual processes. Beyond video interviews, other practices were quickly adopted to facilitate communications and collaboration with little or no physical contact. These included virtual connections via texting and chatbots, online assessments, electronic signatures and drive-thru onboarding. Recruiters and hiring managers innovated to fit the unusual circumstances they faced. The bonus was an improved candidate experience and better engagement for recruiters, hiring managers and candidates.

How Did Candidates Fare?

When the pandemic turned talent acquisition on its ear, employers turned to technology to help them digitize talent acquisition processes. According to the 2020 North American Talent Board Candidate Experience (CandE) Benchmark Research Report, in 2020, video interviews were up 129%; mobile texting, 50%; digital assessments, 26%; and chatbots, 15%. Employers were quick to realize they could not leave candidates in the dark as they made the transition from in-person to virtual connections. That led to a boost in both transparency and communications. Perhaps most surprisingly, employers became more empathetic in their dealings with candidates. All of this contributed to a better candidate experience. As an example, the Talent Board survey found positive experiences were reported by 32% more candidates if they could launch a job application directly from a text message and 35% more if reminders about next steps in the process were sent via text.

Reimagine the Possibilities

There is abundant research pointing to the importance of the candidate experience in talent acquisition, and there are a number of ways to reset your approach to candidates. 

For example:

  • An omni-channel communications platform allows you to engage with talent in whatever way is most convenient to them, e.g., text, chat, email or voice. With all communications tracked through a single system across your enterprise, you can ensure both continuity and compliance.
  • A conversational AI bot can deliver rich, authentic interactions, answer questions, suggest jobs, administer assessments, schedule interviews and deepen relationships.
  • Automated candidate engagement ensures personalized, relevant and timely interactions at pivotal points in the hiring process.
  • A talent community platform helps you dynamically create talent pools that can be nurtured and developed through meaningful automation, while promoting loyal brand ambassadors.
  • Multi-level social referral management is a means to leverage talent relationships to extend reach to other high-quality candidates via social referrals.

Changing how you connect with candidates can lead to transformative improvements in engagement, referrals and time to fill. 

Set New Expectations

For employers, the pandemic was a grand experiment in adaptability. We learned how to connect and collaborate virtually. We got used to seeing more people on-screen than on-site. We found new ways to source and engage talent. The result? Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the Talent Board reported an uptick in great candidate experiences from 25% to 31%. If some employers were able to deliver great experiences in the midst of a pandemic, then candidates will expect that level of engagement from all employers in the future. So whether you adopted new practices during the pandemic or not, you will now be competing with other employers that did. 

Plan for New Candidate Experiences and New Results

Despite all the shattered assumptions of 2020, there is one truth that has survived the pandemic unscathed: finding, engaging and retaining the right talent remains a major challenge. As with any experiment, some lessons learned during the pandemic will eventually fade from memory, while others will be permanently woven into the fabric of our lives. Expect talent acquisition innovations that simplify complex tasks, promote more efficient processes, accelerate cycle times and deliver better candidate experiences to become standard in the future. To see how you can transform the candidate experience you provide, schedule a 30-minute demo.