February 20, 2022
Thirty-eight million American workers left their jobs last year. While better pay and more flexible working conditions typically top the list of reasons for leaving an employer, workers need a bit more than that to seal the deal. To be sure, in a recent Cappfinity/YouGov survey, 80 percent of job seekers said it’s important to understand a company culture before accepting an offer. Company culture, in fact, has played a key role in the pushing and pulling of workers from and to jobs. Some job seekers are motivated by the escape from a toxic work environment. Others are looking for companies that have figured out how to support more social interaction across teams. If you can’t authentically convey your own company’s culture to job candidates, they won’t be able to determine whether the job is right for them.
Of course, there have been challenges in demonstrating company culture in today’s virtual environments, but technologies like Zoom aren’t the problem. The problem – considering only 19 percent of last year’s job candidates were given the chance to meet potential co-workers virtually – is that organizations aren’t making the most of those technologies.
This is unfortunate as the interviewing process itself offers candidates, for better and for worse, an instant impression of what a company’s culture is all about.
So how does an organization ensure that the impression is the right one? Here are three ways:
Today’s candidates are wary of what’s being promised and what’s actually being delivered. Being forthright throughout the recruiting process itself instantly conveys a culture of transparency that can mean the difference between hiring someone and losing them prematurely during the hiring process. With workers leaving their companies in droves and over half of them abandoning at least one recruiting process last year, no organization can afford to slip up in this regard.
If candidates are expected to provide factual information about their backgrounds, organizations too must be authentic in how they convey their workplace culture. Instead of hiding from a lack of diversity within the organization, discuss what’s being done to correct it. Salesforce’s quarterly equality updates may reveal a historical problem with diversity, but they also show the company is committed to transparency as it tracks incremental improvement.
Transparency also includes clearly communicating the needs and expectations for each role. Even putting special preparation into interviews provides candidates with a window into the care that goes into every employee. When you boil it down, employment is but a contract between employer and employee. Candidates should know exactly what would be expected of them and how they would be compensated, monetarily and otherwise.
Recruiters and hiring managers don’t have it easy; they must juggle the hiring wish lists, compensation parameters, interviewing schedules and so much more from a variety of stakeholders. In the midst of all that, it’s easy to forget the needs of the most important stakeholder of all.
If you’re coy with compensation, aren’t responsive after an initial screening, or aren’t respectful of the candidate’s time or calendar, you’re not going to evoke the kind of people-centered care job candidates want from their next employer. One of the top reasons candidates abandon a recruiting process is when it takes too long to provide candidates with a decision. And why not? Subjecting them to too many interviews or weeks of protracted decision making conveys a culture of indecision, inefficiency, and unprofessionalism.
For many candidates, particularly Gen Zers – many of whom had to move back in with parents during the pandemic – there is an urgent need to find an employer they can count on. Yes, they want to know the salary, benefits and career-building opportunities an organization can provide, but they also need to know they’ll be valued and respected. The candidate experience is their first glimpse into whether an organization can deliver on this, so make sure that candidate experience is the right one.
Put the candidate in the employee’s shoes
Many organizations have learned to digitize during the pandemic, but one area they’re behind in is taking recruitment material that used to be completed off-line, like case interviews, online. Organizations leading this field are those adopting virtual work simulations, which only 17 percent of last year’s job candidates were invited to participate in. Organizations like Latham & Watkins and the United Nations use such simulations to give both the candidate and organization an opportunity to experience working together. Candidates can get a real understanding of what it’s like to work within an organization and then make a fully informed decision on whether to commit to the experience for the long term.
Conversely, organizations can evaluate candidate performance within real-world context. But the real magic in immersive job simulations is the impression that candidates walk away with. Today’s digital native candidates are looking to work for companies that expose them to personalized, cutting-edge technology. Even if they’re not hired, it’s an experience that may encourage them to apply for another role down the road.
The Great Resignation isn’t going away anytime soon. But by espousing your company’s culture throughout the recruiting process, you may be welcoming more new employees than saying goodbye to the old ones.