How to Create a Positive Job Search Experience for Candidates

Unemployment rates remain low in 2023 following years of a volatile market from the global pandemic. Still, unemployed adults actively seeking their next opportunity report feeling “completely burned out” with their job search, according to our recent survey.

It’s understandable why candidates may be feeling fatigued. Although the market is strong for candidates, many are feeling unmotivated after hiring freezes, budget cuts, and headcount reductions.

As hiring managers look for ways to attract top candidates, how can they navigate these frustrations and help mitigate?

This blog will explore how to use empathy to create a more positive candidate experience!

SURVEY: Majority of Unemployed Americans Are Burned Out by Job Hunt

Why Is Empathy Important in Recruiting and Hiring?

When candidates are feeling fatigued and frustrated with their job search, it can cause ripple effects throughout the job market, such as:

  • Retention Challenges: If candidates accept a job offer out of frustration, they may be more likely to leave sooner than candidates who are excited about the role they’re hired for.
  • Missed Opportunities: Organizations may miss out on top candidates who became disillusioned or stopped actively seeking full-time employment.

To navigate these challenges and create a positive candidate experience, employers may need to keep empathy top of mind during the hiring process.

How to Introduce Empathy When Recruiting and Hiring Candidates

Train Your Team

Training teams on empathy should include the following:

  • Defining empathy in a hiring context. How does your hiring process consider candidates’ feelings, needs, and perspectives?
  • Sharing real-life examples of candidate experiences to illustrate empathy’s impact on the candidate’s decisions
  • Offering training sessions focused on empathy with discussions and role-playing exercises to help team members develop their empathetic hiring skills
  • Provide feedback and coaching to identify areas where empathy could be better demonstrated moving forward

Streamline Your Time-To-Hire

Time-to-hire rates are reaching all-time highs, with the average recruitment process taking 44 days (across all industries). Specialized industries, such as Energy & Defense, are seeing 67+ day hiring processes.

To bake empathy into the hiring process, employers need to streamline their time-to-hire. This can be done by automating redundant steps, combining interviewers to reduce the quantity of interviews, and prioritizing swift communication.

Build Flexibility into Your Hiring

Flexible hiring processes allow organizations to respond to changing circumstances or accommodate individual candidate’s needs more easily. To create a more empathetic hiring process, employers can take a few steps:

  • Flexible Interview Scheduling: Offer flexibility by offering a range of interview times. Consider including an option outside regular business hours to accommodate candidates juggling multiple side jobs.
  • Alternative Assessment Methods: Explore alternative ways to assess candidates’ skills beyond traditional interviews. Skills tests, portfolio reviews, and work samples can sometimes supplement the need for another interview round.
  • Flexible Interview Styles: Embrace flexibility through video calls or panel-style interviews to reduce the amount of times candidates come onsite or the number of individual interviews.

Bake Positivity into the Process

Don’t reduce empathy to a buzzword—bake it into the foundation of your hiring process! This can be done in several ways, such as:

  • Personalize the application process wherever possible. Design forms to only ask for relevant information and create an interactive application that includes a video introduction or skills assessment that is more personalized.
  • Offer feedback throughout the application process so candidates feel invested in the journey.
  • Craft job descriptions that focus on candidates’ needs and aspirations rather than focusing on qualifications. Use inclusive language that highlights the company’s values and culture.
  • Train interviewers to actively listen to candidates and encourage them to ask follow-up questions and probe deeper into the candidate’s responses to gain a better understanding.

Regularly Review and Adjust

Empathy isn’t a light switch that can be turned on or off. It is a process you need to evaluate and finetune over time. Continuously evaluate your hiring process for empathy and effectiveness, and solicit feedback from candidates and employees involved in hiring to identify areas for improvement.

After the hiring process, ask candidates for feedback on their experience. Use this feedback to make improvements that show candidates you value their opinions.

You can formalize this review process by creating a candidate journey map.

Use Empathy to Create a Positive Candidate Experience

Empathy shouldn’t be limited to the hiring process. As employers evaluate how to insert empathy into their recruitment, they’re encouraged to make it a bigger part of the company’s overall culture. When empathy is inserted into all candidate interactions, from onboarding to day-to-day work, it can transform the experience for everyone.

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