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Hybrid hiring: How to create a great candidate experience

Hybrid hiring: How to create a great candidate experience

purple background with text: hybrid hacks #1: hiring

Hybrid workplaces definitely existed prior to the pandemic, but their adoption has been accelerated by the shift toward remote work we saw in 2020. While some companies fully returned to the office and others switched to WFH forever, many have decided to create a hybrid model that combines some mix of the two.

According to one study, workers prefer a hybrid model 83% of the time – so this is a key aspect of optimizing the employee experience (EX). In this blog series, we’ll dive into the EX best practices for hybrid workplaces in each stage of the employee lifecycle: 1) hiring, 2) onboarding, 3) productivity, and 4) growth & feedback.

First up: Hiring. Let’s dive in.

Best practices for hiring in a hybrid workplace

Hiring is tricky. It’s also high-stakes. Some hiring managers may hate the thought of interviewing and hiring candidates in a hybrid or remote environment – but it’s very possible to be successful even without meeting face to face.

Here are some best practices for creating a great candidate experience during the hybrid hiring process.

Internal stakeholder management

When starting out, hold a kickoff for the role with the hiring manager to manage expectations. Share a hiring doc and go through the requirements to be aligned on what the organization is hiring for. 

Then, prepare the hiring team: 

  • Kickoff meeting
  • Distribute roles (e.g., interviewers for culture vs. technical, founder interview, etc.)
  • Ensure each hiring member understands which questions they should ask
  • Prepare the interview and feedback forms in the application tracking system 
  • Provide interview training or 1:1s with team members if needed

Without properly preparing your internal stakeholders, the rest of the process can easily hit roadblocks. Be sure to nail this step first.

Optimize the public face of the organization

Candidates don’t make their decision using solely the interview experience. They also research on LinkedIn and other social networking sites, read blogs, and read reviews from past or current employees.

Make sure that information about the company, culture, and the industry is visible and easily accessible to the candidates online. 

This starts from the very first candidate engagement: with a powerful but honest job and company description. 

Make candidates comfortable – and be understanding if they’re not

To make candidates feel comfortable in a full or partially remote interview setup and to create a safe environment, candidates will likely only hear about the team and the culture via video conferences. This means the interview is the only time for them to get a real sense of the company and the hybrid environment. They must then make a decision based just on this experience.

Keep in mind that some information on the office and “vibe” of the team may not be transferred properly in a video interview. It can also be harder for the hiring team to pick up on signals if someone is feeling uncomfortable.

As a hiring manager, be OK with some people feeling less comfortable. It may not feel normal for everybody to have conversations in this virtual environment, even if you’re used to it.

At the same time, however, you want to hire for the culture you want to build – so if you’re hiring remotely, you need to find out if the candidate would feel comfortable working in a hybrid or remote setup. 

There are specific interview questions you can ask to find this out. (Platforms such as LinkedIn or HR blogs offer some great hiring questionnaires.) Restructure your interview guides in advance to prepare the right questions for hybrid or remote hiring.

Example resources: 

Get to know the candidate and help them get to know the company

This is your chance to find out if the candidate would be successful in your organization. Throughout the hiring process, try to discover if they feel connected to the organization: Give them a sense of what the team is working on, how the role will look, and where they would fit into the larger puzzle.

Consider showing them a “day in the life.” For example, give them a take-home coding challenge or technical interview with engineers. You could even pair this experience with a feedback session.

Self-reflect and get feedback

Without measurement, reflection, and feedback, there’s no way to improve processes for the future. Be sure to measure the success of your hiring process and get feedback from all stakeholders, including both the candidates and all internal people involved. 

Questions you could ask candidates include:

  • What went well throughout the challenge/ the interview/ the hiring process? 
  • What didn’t go well?
  • What would you do differently?
  • What did you learn from this experience?
  • Where can we improve?

Use this feedback to improve your candidate experience during the next hiring round. 

Mastering the art of hybrid hiring

Hiring in a hybrid or remote environment takes special considerations, but these best practices can help hiring teams to create the best candidate experience possible. Stay tuned for the rest of our series on EX best practices for hybrid workplaces in each stage of the employee lifecycle.

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