I was talking with a former Army recruiter recently, and he told me something I found fascinating. Since people can enlist months, and sometimes even a year, before starting basic training, military recruiters have designed a process to keep their recruits engaged before they actually join. He called it “entertaining.”
Now, his entertaining involved bringing enlistees into the office once per week to do some pushups while chatting about any concerns they had. Most businesses probably can’t do that with people they are interviewing, but his methods got me thinking: are there ways to keep candidates engaged in the hiring process when COVID-19 may prolong interviews?
The short answer is a resounding “yes.” The long answer? Keep reading!

Touch Points

Recruiting best practices almost always involves weekly touch points from the initial phone screening to the start date. These are best practices for a reason but often seem like the bare minimum. Recruiters often send a quick email on Friday afternoons; the gist of which is that we are still waiting on the hiring manager to get back to us and we hope to have more info next week. This is better than nothing, but in a world that increasingly looks like employees will not be bound by geography, providing a better service can be the difference-maker.
Even moving the email to a text adds a personal dimension to the communication. Candidates are often thankful that they have access to recruiters outside of email, but my experience has been that they very rarely use it outside of normal business hours. To really elevate your engagement, a quick video adds personality, context, and has the added benefit of usually being a medium that doesn’t require a response.

Other Ways to “Entertain”

Outside of just changing what we’re already doing, are there other ways to keep candidates “entertained”? One of the things I hear from people in the interview process is that they so rarely hear from recruiters or hiring managers. While the weekly update (in whatever form it takes) is helpful, the best tack is to begin the process of adding interviewees to the organization. This can involve actions like sending them links to articles that mention the company or news about the industry in general.

Company Culture

One of the pieces of feedback I hear most often from hiring managers and leaders is that they are worried about how a candidate will integrate with the organization’s existing culture.
Since this is a legitimate cause of concern, the easiest way to mitigate it is to begin bringing candidates inside the culture of the company as early as possible, even before an offer is extended. By including brief and respectful communication touch points throughout the interview process, leaders can get a better sense of how a candidate interacts and what they would be like to work with on a daily basis.

We Want to Hear From You!

As COVID continues to disrupt the hiring process, implementing a few thoughtful touch points with candidates can keep them engaged while simultaneously integrating them into the company culture. What steps do you take to keep candidates engaged? Let us know in the comments!