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How to build ‘real’ connections with potential employees (in a socially distanced society)

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Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, employers were already using digital tools and technologies to streamline the recruitment process. However, now in socially distanced times they’re more essential than ever.

There is almost no need for human interaction throughout the hiring stages, with digital tools available to automatically update us on when an application comes in, to being able to use technology to schedule interviews. COVID-19 has also minimised human interaction, with interviews now taking place remotely via video.  

However just because these times point us to digitising the recruitment process, it should not take the human aspect out of it. Building ‘real’ connections is crucial to how valued and engaged an applicant feels – especially now with the uncertainty in the job market.

Many talented professionals are anxious about finding their next opportunity, particularly if they have been made redundant because of the 2020 lockdown.

That’s why when looking for your next employee, you should review (and adapt if need be) the human touch points throughout the hiring process, so that you can reassure professionals – as well as show them what your business is like to work for.

Use video to build connections

While face-to-face social interaction isn’t an option, video comes into its own. So, in an time where many new employees find themselves remotely working, video can bring a sense of engagement during hiring.

This could include a video clip of yourself as an employer, talking about the role and what it will be like to join the organisation. Or you can even get your team involved, by asking them to record themselves talking directly to their potential new colleague.

Be genuine over video

Face-to-face interviews offer multiple chances to form a human rapport between potential employee and employer.

But now that most are done remotely, it is important that the interviewer realises that it takes a bit more work to not just be a face on a screen going through motions.

Applicants crave a strong connection during interviews, whatever the format, as they know this is their main chance to make a decent impression.

So as an interviewer, aim to show that you’re ‘real’ even in strange times, taking an active interest in their application and them as a potential employee.

Voice can beat text

Most professionals assume they’ll be able to make applications for jobs from their mobiles - particularly those from Generation Z (born in the mid-90s onwards).

But even though younger candidates don’t remember a time before smartphones, that doesn’t mean they’d prefer to interact by text when sourcing their next career move.

One survey found that 78% of applicants aged between 16 and 34 preferred to communicate face-to-face or over the phone - so it’s worth remembering that all professionals still value interacting with a ‘real person’ when they’re going for a new position. (Read more about how different generations work in your business).

A named contact for questions

What does an applicant do if they have questions about the role or queries about how the recruitment process will work?

Scouring an automated message for an email address that gets monitored can risk candidates feeling disconnected from the potential job - as well as organisation they’d be working for.

It’s far better to give each applicant a personal contact who’s available if they want to get in touch. Of course, responding to every query individually might not be logistically possible if there’s a high number of applications, but candidates appreciate having some kind of way to get in touch with a ‘human’ they can talk to - whether that’s by email, phone or even live chat.

Not just a number

Dealing with a large amount of active and passive professionals every day at RHL Recruitment, it’s no surprise we’ve noticed that many feel insecure about their job prospects right now.

Even a highly efficient virtual recruitment process has room for some human connection, so aim to make both part of a mix of communication strategies to keep candidates connected and engaged - and reassured in these difficult times.

In a socially-distanced era we’re all living through right now, humanising your hiring is even more vital.

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