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Recruitment technology

How Emotionally Intelligent is Your Hiring Process?

Tobias Hardy

emotionally intelligent.jpegCandidate engagement and automated recruitment don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Automated or otherwise, data-driven recruitment undoubtedly delivers a high-degree of objectivity and efficiency, but companies that neglect emotional intelligence (EI) in their hiring processes risk alienating potentially ideal fits. The rise of consumer empowerment and social media has spawned a new era of candidate-centric recruitment. Job applicants are conducting more research on potential employers than ever before, and they’re also being far more particular.

In simple terms, EI is all about awareness — both internal and external. Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who was one of EI’s pioneering figures, says it’s made up of five core components:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

While they may sound like they mostly apply to people, these components can — and should — be applied to process design as well. When a company fails to surpass baseline EI thresholds, candidates tend to take note.

Research shows that a candidate’s positive perception of a company and its hiring processes increases the likelihood that he or she will accept a competitive job offer. What’s more, according to Forbes, “58% of job seekers say they are less likely to buy from a company they didn’t hear back from after submitting an application.” In other words, poor hiring EI doesn’t just hinder the efficacy of your recruitment strategy — it’s bad for business.

The Core Components of Recruitment EI

So what would I consider “emotionally intelligent” hiring? It’s simple really. Just follow “The Golden Rule,” also known as the Law of Reciprocity — that phrase our parents and teachers hammered into our heads when we were growing up: “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.”

Simply put, candidates want to feel like their time and effort is valued, and they’re not just a faceless CV and/or resume in the stack. Contrary to what you might assume, it’s entirely possible to afford applicants a great deal of respect and consideration when using automated recruitment tactics. Here are the three fundamental pillars of objective, emotionally intelligent hiring:

1. Communication

Communicating with candidates throughout the entire process is key when it comes to keeping ideal candidates engaged and motivated, and keeping those who are unsuccessful, from coming away with a negative perception of your brand. Start by contextualising the entire process, letting candidates know what they can expect at each stage. For a great example of this in action, check out American broadcasting organisation NPR’s application homepage.

In addition to setting expectations up front, you should be proactive about communicating during the hiring process itself. You can use email automation to thank candidates at the end of each stage and let them know what they can expect next (and how long before they’ll hear from you again). As Mark Abrahams discussed in our previous blog: 3 ways to make your hiring process fair and consistent. If an applicant believes a company’s hiring procedures are fair and objective, they tend to perform markedly better on situational judgment evaluations reasoning tests and skills assessments, meaning that you are able to get an accurate picture of each applicant. If you decide to exit them from the process, do so quickly and directly — leaving them hanging for too long will only serve to damage your brand.

2. Personalisation

As the lines between candidate and consumer engagement best practices continue to blur, many recruiters are adopting tactics and technologies used by B2C marketers in order to improve hiring outcomes. That means using tactics like flexible branding and personalised messaging to make candidates feel more “bought-in,” to the brand and process, ultimately increasing the chances of an accepted offer.

Some companies are taking this idea even further, leveraging AI-driven chatbots to help guide recruits through the candidate journey. For example, a platform called Mya, currently in beta testing, uses machine learning and natural language processing to provide real-time answers to applicants’ questions on a wide range of topics, including company policies, culture, benefits and, of course, the hiring process itself, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

3. Candidate Engagement

One of the best ways to keep candidates invested in your application process and make them feel valued, is to make the process itself as dynamic and interactive as possible. There are better ways to assess aptitude than asking applicants to fill out form after form after form — in fact, this could cause them to abandon the process altogether. Companies are increasingly relying on more interactive screening practices, such as situational judgement tests, pre-recorded video interviews and gamification in order to get a better sense of a candidate’s fitness for a given role while keeping them properly engaged.

If you’re interested in how automation can be applied to improve the recruitment process, you can download our new guide for recruiters here.  

A LaunchPad guide to advanced automation for in-house recruitment - Get your copy

Tobias Hardy

Tobias is a HR professional passionate about performance through engagement. He advises organisations on all aspects of recruitment process design with a particular focus on using technology to measure and overcome unconscious bias.