How a Streamlined Candidate Workflow Helps Companies Adapt to the Next Normal

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The last 20+ months have forever changed how people view and approach work. When asked about priorities when considering a future career move, 88% of those surveyed will look for complete flexibility in hours and location, Harvard Business Review revealed recently. Businesses that want to attract and retain skilled, virtual talent must reimagine engagement throughout the worker lifecycle — starting with candidate screening. What best practices enable a candidate’s workflow for the future of work? 

Recognize That Attitudes About Work Are Indelibly Changed 

The events of 2020 pushed many people to re-evaluate what is most important in life. Few people look forward to returning to work, including long daily commutes, spending 8-5 in an office, and living for the weekend. Instead of a life that revolves around the work schedule, many workers want schedules that accommodate life. This is especially true among Gen-X and Millennials. 49% say they would resign rather than lose the flexibility that remote work offers. Alongside physical and mental health considerations, workers may be asking, “Does this job offer the financial stability and work/life balance that I need for a fulfilling, meaningful life?” 

Align Your Process to Your Audience 

The current worker shortage and looming Great Resignation may dominate recent headlines, but workforce dynamics were already evolving. Since 2011, when the oldest Baby Boomers turned 65, approximately 2.2 million Boomers have exited the workforce annually. Boomer retirements picked pace in 2020, but Millennials had already overtaken Boomers (and the oft-overlooked Gen-X) for primacy in the workforce in 2019. Even if the Covid-19 pandemic hadn’t accelerated the transition from traditional to virtual hiring workflows, the need to engage the future workforce — Millennials, Gen-Z, and those to come — necessitates an entirely digitized experience. What does that look like?  

  • Choose a mobile-first approach. From the initial job search and application to candidate screening and onboarding, a digital candidate workflow puts convenience at the forefront. This also supports open dialogue to keep candidates engaged, and the process is moving along — a critical advantage when competing for skilled workers. 
  • Make sure your Applicant Tracking System is flexible. Platforms that allow integrations for background checks, technology checks, assessments, and knowledge checks, in support of onboarding enable a seamless journey from applicant to contributing resource. 
  • Communicate with candidates on multiple channels. Setting expectations about what is next in the candidate’s journey is crucial, and it needs to be handled as “real-time” as possible. We’ve seen a rise in candidates turning to social media channels to ask questions about potential employers and job openings. We’ve also seen a three-fold increase in text messaging with candidates because of the immediacy it offers. Email ranks slightly behind, although it’s still preferred over a traditional phone call. Chatbots can also be helpful in answering FAQs and helping applicants identify where they are in the process. 
  • Empower your virtual workforce. Companies must also rethink the experience for new candidates they bring onboard. Distance learning — whether for onboarding or skills-building — must be very interactive to drive engagement. Consider doing simulations or role-playing early on. In addition, look for innovative ways to nurture a sense of community, such as a virtual platform that features challenges, rewards, and other activities that get colleagues to interact with each other more.  

Put Identity Verification at the Front of the Process 

It’s a common misconception that a pre-employment background check verifies a candidate’s identity. Background check accuracy is contingent on identity verification. A typo or missing middle initial can be enough to throw off a background check. Additionally, as the number of data breaches and stolen identities continues to rise, the risk of candidate or worker identity fraud climbs. Already, one in five organizations report candidate or worker identity fraud. Incorporating identity verification earlier in the process eliminates the ambiguity in subsequent screening. This helps ensure you capture the details needed to make confident, timely hiring decisions.

In a remote environment, you must ensure people are who they say they are. Verifying identity builds trust and confidence in the background checks being run. But it’s not just employers that reap the benefits. Digital ID verification can be saved in a candidate’s digital wallet for proof when it’s needed down the line. 

The next normal is upon us, and hiring practices must evolve too. The cost of hiring and training is not insignificant, and the cost of a bad hire is even greater. Taking time to re-evaluate your workflow can pay dividends in the long run, especially in a competitive hiring landscape.

In addition to moving identity verification earlier in the process, consider the entire candidate experience. Build out a streamlined, digitally-enabled process, so candidates feel engaged from the moment they apply until onboarding is complete. With the right approach, companies can offer greater flexibility and freedom to attract motivated candidates and build a robust talent pool to draw from as needs evolve. Is your workflow optimized to meet these expectations for the long haul? 

 

Ellen Hahn is the SVP of Marketing and Talent Acquisition at Liveops.

 

Vincenza Caruso-Valente is the GM of the Staffing, Retail, and Franchise group at Sterling.

 

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Ellen Hahn is the SVP of Marketing and Talent Acquisition at Liveops, a virtual contact center company with 25,000+ work-at-home independent contractor agents. With over 25 years of experience across contact centers, retail, health and wellness, hospitality, and financial services, Ellen is a passionate thought leader for industry and workforce trends.

Vincenza Caruso-Valente is the GM of the Staffing, Retail, and Franchise group at Sterling, a provider of background and identity services. Prior to Sterling, Caruso-Valente spent over 11 years in leadership roles in sales, business development, and finance at Dun & Bradstreet, AT&T, and EDS.