This article was originally published by UK Recruiter. You can view the original article here.
By Nicola Sullivan
Working to improve an organisation’s culture of inclusion and diversity has become far more than a box-ticking exercise in recent years. The Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements have led to an elevation of public demand for genuine equality of opportunity.
Recruiters who would like to respond to this cultural shift are often faced with a dilemma. Candidates from ethnically diverse communities and women are often the two groups that have the least confidence in applying for jobs. According to research from graduate recruitment company Bright Network, male candidates are 54% more confident about securing a graduate role than their female counterparts. Meanwhile, BAME candidates are the most likely group to give up because they lost confidence in their ability to get the role. The same study also found that female students feel 45% less prepared to enter the world of work than their male peers.
So there are particular challenges in attracting successful applications from the very groups that recruiters would like to employ more of. But what has emerged in parallel over the past year is that the switch to more virtual recruiting, brought about by the pandemic, is opening up opportunities to offer far more support and encouragement to less confident applicants.
The best candidates need nurturing
Throughout the pandemic, recruiters have been experimenting with interesting and inspiring new online events to keep up engagement levels with talent. Live video streamed or virtual chat events are helping employers to connect with far more candidates than they previously would have, allowing them to do more with less at a time when recruitment budgets are under increasing pressure. A recent poll conducted by Meet & Engage found the overwhelming majority (72%) of employers said that virtual recruiting practices have helped their ability to connect with diverse audiences.
Virtual recruitment is an area that we have specialised in for many years now. The challenges that our clients and their prospective candidates are facing prompted us to explore how virtual tools and techniques can bring even more value to the recruitment journey, and better support anxious applicants.
What we’ve discovered is that in order to get the best out of today’s job seekers, employers need to deliver a nurturing journey that offers reassurance and encouragement at every step. This created the inspiration for Inspire and Nurture, our new virtual recruitment service, which packages up fully-branded live virtual events with an automated social network style nurture journey that takes place over a defined timeframe.
To give you an example, an organisation could offer a live-streamed multi panellist event, with some pre-recorded video and plenty of opportunities for candidate interactions. A special function gives recruiters the ability to moderate these interactions, so they can keep control of the content, while still allowing for users to ask questions.
After the event, the Nurture part of the journey really kicks in. Event guests can be sent regular pieces of content, designed to help them succeed in the assessments and generally raise their level of interest and confidence. Chatbots regularly check in with candidates and get valuable feedback, aiming to minimise the number of applicants giving up on the process.
Keep your candidates informed
Bright Network’s research found that Black heritage candidates were particularly likely to drop out of the process if they found that it was too long or unclear. Women are also more likely than men to give up for these reasons. A nurture journey can help to minimise this problem because once candidates get into the application process, the communications can be tailored to keep them engaged and informed. This might include specific help with certain parts of the assessment process or access to current employees who have a similar background to them.
For major businesses, this approach to virtual recruitment can allow for some large scale productions, such as Accenture Live, the recruitment event that we recently helped the consultancy giant to deliver. It involved 16 events over five days with a wide variety of both live and pre-recorded content.
We all hope that the coming months will bring back some degree of social interaction again. But raising the engagement level of virtual recruitment programmes and learning how to virtually nurture candidates will still be a game-changer for recruiters keen to upgrade the diversity and inclusivity of their talent acquisition strategies.