Candidate Experience and Onboarding

Companies must actively work to strike a balance between appearing to be an appealing employer and having the flexibility to decline candidates without negatively impacting their and the candidate’s brand

Hello there, another week another rant about how companies are operating right now. Imagine you work hours on recruitment, prepping the team and you’re all set, and … the candidate doesn’t show up on Day 1? Or You work hours on an assignment, go through 4 levels of interviews, and then the recruiter ghosts you?

In Today’s edition :

  • What’s up with Hiring Processes and candidate experience?
  • Weekly 1:1
  • How to nail Onboarding?

The candidate pool is growing with the layoffs and multiple options out there for both companies and candidates, The market has altered candidates' expectations significantly — and possibly permanently.

Being aware of their changing expectations and designing your hiring process around them will assist. Companies need to constantly and clearly communicate throughout the hiring process.

Research from IBM Smarter Workforce Institute indicated that job applicants who do not receive a job offer are 80% more likely to apply again if they already had a positive impression of the hiring organization.

Candidate experience and hiring processes

Simran from Delhi who was switching jobs told us “Every day I hear a friend or a colleague rant about how exhausting and overwhelming hiring processes are, how the assignments are unpaid but require 6-8 hours, and the recruiters' ghost after rounds of interviews or companies refuse to answer basic questions about the working”

This is not new, 70% of the people we talked to had the same experiences.

Companies must actively work to strike a balance between appearing to be an appealing employer and having the flexibility to decline candidates without negatively impacting their and the candidate’s brand. This can happen when you are constantly talking about your expectations and working around a feedback loop.

1) Feedback Mechanism - By segmenting the recruiting process into different phases, and automating replies at each stage - you are personalizing the experience for all the candidates.

The old way
  1. 10000 job views
  2. 800 applicants
  3. 200 candidates
  4. 50 finalists
  5. 10 opportunities for feedback on the entire recruiting process
The new way
  1. 10000 job views
  2. 800 opportunities for career site feedback (Send why your application didn’t make a cut note)
  3. 200 opportunities for application process feedback (Initial screening of CTC, location availability, etc related feedback)
  4. 50 opportunities for recruiter feedback (Why your assignment didn’t make the cut)
  5. 5 opportunities for interview feedback (culture fit check)

HR head at a web3 startup said “Companies feel they are doing enough and communicating enough, and are setting job expectations but candidates feel otherwise”

2) Constant communication- Simple actions like sharing agendas and resources prior to interviews, following up afterward, and providing regular updates show candidates that you value their time and the effort they put into your company. Responding quickly and empathically to every candidate, no matter where they are in the process, will set your company apart. Even if you choose not to move forward, the bad news is usually better received than no news, especially if it is delivered quickly.

3) Documentation - I was looking for jobs a couple of months back. I was reached out by an Agritech company based out of Delhi, they did not have enough information on their website or socials. I asked the recruiter about their recent fundraising status, office location, and what their culture looks like and the HR told me - “You are not in a position to do so, we are hiring and not you” during my first interview.

This speaks volumes about the company’s culture and managers. There needs to be more documentation about your company’s culture. Your career page should include-

  • About the company
  • About the culture
  • Perks and benefits/Employee engagement
  • What the candidate will be working on
  • Skill requirements
  • Hiring process with details about the number of rounds, the time it will take, and any resources if needed
  • Any additional information like - Devfolio has a document attached to their career page which says “Why you didn’t make the cut”, which helps candidates make better applications.

4) Consistent/Quality interview process -

  • Hiring managers often know within the first few minutes if it is going to work or not. Even if a candidate did not perform well in a round, they should have a feeling that the questions asked in the interviews were really good. If the interview is for 30 minutes, at least sit through 25 of it.
  • Make sure you make notes of interviews and the next person taking the conversation forward has an idea of what is the progress. S from Bangalore who now works at a Design Agency said “I repeated the same answers to 3 people from the same team, while my interview was recorded at every stage to show other team members. It felt like they didn’t respect my time”

Job interviews will have a long-term impact on how a candidate perceives your company. Even if you don't hire them, they can still become a customer, apply for future jobs, and, of course, leave an online review. Giving candidates a positive interview experience is the right thing to do and is beneficial to business in a variety of ways. Everybody who leaves you becomes an ambassador for not only your product but also your culture.

5) Be Inclusive -

Someone in their late 20s and working at one of the top MNCs in Gurugram told us “During an interview, the recruiter asked me about my marriage and family plans. I find this very disrespectful because you wouldn't ask the same question from a man. I was apparently not passionate enough for the demand of the role because I was engaged.”

People are very keen on DE&I now, make sure your process is non-discriminatory and inclusive. Teach your hiring managers to respect gender, sexual identities, race, ethnicity, pronouns, and marginalized. Companies need to stop asking intruding questions that might be taken as offensive and disrespectful. Hiring processes are the first opportunity for an organization to demonstrate its commitment to equitable principles by treating people fairly and consistently.

6) Assignments - Assignments are now a crucial part of the hiring process, both tech, and non-tech. To respect the time and effort put in, the assignments should be fairly compensated, even if you decide not to move forward with the candidate.

Additionally, adequate feedback, timely response, and adequate help during the assignment stage are crucial.

Hiring is tricky, Concentrate on demonstrating to candidates that your company is committed to taking care of its employees. Candidates will want to be a part of it if you show them how you're creating a great future for them — and will have no hesitation saying "yes" if an offer comes their way.

Every week, we schedule our weekly 1:1 with our readers. Want to be featured in an upcoming edition? Click here to introduce yourself.

Today, we are in a Conversation with Shrey Nagrath from Edlighten about their hiring process and candidate experiences.

1) What does your hiring process look like?  

The first step is to shortlist candidates using their CVs and maybe a cover letter/sample (if it's a writing-related job) to get a sense of their past experiences

After that, we give the shortlisted candidates an assignment/task to complete. this is generally very close to what their actual roles/responsibilities will be after they join. The time given for this is a little higher given we need to accommodate their current working schedules. Generally, the assignment is explained over email, but the candidates can connect with us to check for any questions

After the assignment is done, we shortlist candidates for one or 2 rounds of interviews (depending on the position)  

2) After what steps do you provide feedback?

Generally, to eliminate candidates, we directly don't provide feedback but in case someone reaches out - we provide full feedback over emails/calls  

3) Are there any extra steps you can take to make the candidate experience better?

a) Being connected with the candidate in the assignment stage is crucial. To understand their thought process as well as to help them out at any stage

b) We are also open to compensating candidates for their efforts put into the assignment given it goes out from their working hours  

4) Do you ask for feedback from candidates about their experience after they’re done with the process?

Try to do it at every stage of the process. After the assignment, after 1 round of the interview, etc.

5) How many days on average does your hiring process take?

End-to-end it takes 20-30 days on average; depending upon position, people applying, etc.

Do you work in HR or have information about your HR department we should know? Email or DM @janwhyy on Twitter. For completely confidential conversations, ask Janhavi for her number.

Onboarding done right?

Have you ever had a fantastic onboarding encounter that prompted you to say, "Yes! I've definitely made the proper choice, and this is going to be incredible.”

I experienced that. I experienced a two-week onboarding and training bonanza that was interactive, immersive, and unique. I recall meeting some extremely intriguing people around the corporation while playing some enjoyable games. We had training sessions with senior leaders, and we learned about diversity inclusion and all cultural aspects of the organization, says A who started working at Deloitte USI.

It is very important to have smooth transitions in various phases for new joiners. As it’s said, first impressions last long and create an image in our minds. Companies need to ensure easy transitions, timely communication, and no spam.

A successful onboarding strategy will lower attrition and increase employee engagement, both of which will impact customer satisfaction and your bottom line. Read on to find out what else you could do-

1) Welcome Emails -

There's a good chance the candidate spoke with several employees during the interview process. Reach out to those individuals to ask them to welcome the new team member to the organization, and also have a quick meeting with the immediate manager. You should provide a template they can easily edit to make it easier to send.

2) Assign a Peer -

For the first month, assign a member of the team to help them through the onboarding and know how things work around. It’s usually overwhelming to come to a new environment and understand how things work. Something as simple as figuring out communication channels is tricky in the initial days.

3) Provide Welcome/onboarding kits -

This is your first chance to make a good first impression. Send them company swag (water bottle, coffee mug, socks, stickers, etc.) along with a handwritten welcome note from HR or their new manager.

4) Video from a Senior Leader -

Everyone wants to feel special. Have the Founder or an Executive do a 60-second face-to-camera video saying how excited they are for the new employee. This is a good opportunity to share ideas around mission, vision, and values as well.

5) Employee Handbook -

This can be as simple as a 1-page HR document or it can be more in-depth. This should provide everything the new employee needs to feel comfortable "showing up" on day 1. Send this over to the new employee 2-3 days in advance. Give them a space to ask questions and clear their doubts.

6) Team Introduction -

Make sure the employee knows the point of contact within the team. The Manager can do a 15-minute check-in where team members show up and introduce themselves. This will work as an icebreaker and help reduce the hesitation to reach out for help.

7) Lunch on Day 1 -

The first days are difficult.

For remote teams - Send them a gift card with a note that lunch is on the house and ask them to send you a photo of what they get. This is a good time to check in halfway through their first day, or simply call them in for a quick team lunch on video.

If you are in the office - Gather the team around and head out for a quick lunch. You can do all the conversations and icebreakers here.

We found an amazing onboarding, pre-boarding, first-day, and first-week checklist, check it out!

Developing a culture of happy, engaged, and inspired employees begin with the onboarding process. Alter yours now!

What we're pondering upon-