Building A Candidate Experience During Coronavirus

I saw a post from Maggie Smith last week that has been ringing in my ears. She said, “Don’t think of yourself as living in the after; you live in the now, which is also a before. Keep your eyes on the horizon, on what could happen next.” 

A before. Before what? That’s the million-dollar question. I promise if I had an answer, I’d share it with you. However, if we look at the track record of the last month or so, I’d suggest your best bet is to expect the unexpected. 

That doesn’t have to be a doomsday directive, though. While what could happen next is a moving target, those of you still working are keeping your business alive. That plan means that we have to address not only the now but the future. 

Reading your responses to my recent survey, I saw that many of you are working on plans. Specifically, candidate experience and pipeline plans for when the doors open and hiring continues. Someday (hopefully soon), you will hire again. 

Why build a candidate PIPELINE now? 

Many of you are planning with a lot of unknowns and variables you can’t control. The reality is that hiring is frozen, but it doesn’t mean you have to freeze candidate pipeline building. Starting with a blank slate two to six months from now will put you behind the curve. Any recruiting team that’s anticipating hiring in the coming months needs to keep moving forward. Abandoning the candidate experience now is a strategic misstep. 

These are the people who will help your company survive.

We have to recognize that we’re working with unique candidate psychology. People who still have jobs don’t want to move out of fear. People who lost their jobs are wary of any employer who makes big promises. They’ve just lost all their trust in someone they once believed in. At this point, trust for an employer brand is more uncommon than toilet paper at the grocery store. 

7 Ways To Translate Trust Into A candidate experience update 

The market is flooded with smart, qualified people who are looking for new roles – a few million or so added just last week. People who never would have responded to your messages only two months ago. 

How do you get their attention now? An incredible candidate experience. Great content is a start.

  1. Write Realistic Job Posts: You’re not going to follow everyday job post advice. You’re going to be real about what’s happening. All of my corona crisis job post-how-tos here.
  2. Overcommunicate. Send an email to candidates about what you’re doing for customers. Tell them how you’re helping. Tell them how you’re operating in this new world. The good news is welcome right now. 
  3. Text Messaging and Chat: Give people who are applying the option to get text updates later or ask questions on chat. Don’t forget that text messaging has a 90% open rate as opposed to email at just an average 10% open rate. 
  4. Update Your Automated Post-Apply Message Email: If you’re not hiring right now, say that. If you are hiring, say that too. Communication will help you build trust. 
  5. Do A Survey, Then Host Informational Webinars: Know what people have right now? Time and attention to give. Run a survey, then host a webinar on the topics candidates want to learn about most. 
  6. Create A Job Seeker FAQ: More candidates are visiting your career site today than ever before. Creating a second call-to-action where they can share information before applying is a no-brainer. It’s easy. Ask hiring managers to share two to three frequently asked questions and the answers they give candidates. Pull all of those into a downloadable job seeker FAQ for candidates.  
  7. Source and Call. I know a sourcer who talked to 6 top security clearance software developers last week. Need I say more? 

Building trust is an uphill battle in the new reality. Use these strategies to make sure your team is prepared to hire, and candidates hear from you, while we proceed with caution into this increasingly wild world. Don’t forget that all of this is a before, not just an after. Your candidate experience shouldn’t disappear from the priority list. 

Check out more of our Coronavirus resources:

Candidate Generation and Nurturing recruiting

Katrina Kibben View All →

Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.

Katrina has written for,, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

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