The Candidate Experience in Tough Times


As a Talent Consultant at Hire Ventures, I work hard to lead clients through challenges that come in the recruitment cycle. Generally, they include sourcing strategies, culture fit, salary negotiations and process hiccups. While those issues are challenging, they pale in comparison to struggles many employers and recruiters are facing during this COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout.

Many companies have been forced to hold recruiting and are doing their best to keep business going in order to keep their current employees on the payroll. This means that hopeful candidates (some who have lost their jobs) will lose another opportunity to land their next job.

In times like these, it’s more important than ever to practice compassionate recruiting and pay attention to your candidate experience. Crises and challenges are “make or break” moments for brands which include your employer brand, and the way you treat candidates now WILL be a consideration in the future.

Providing an exceptional candidate experience doesn’t require massive amounts of time or money, but rather sensitivity, patience, and kindness. Simple strategies go a long way in showing candidates you care:

  • Use your Applicant Tracking System (our preferred partner is JazzHR) to create custom, bulk action email templates alerting candidates to a recruitment hold.
  • Include your LinkedIn profile in email correspondence to connect with candidates online.
  • Take time each day to respond to candidate emails or LinkedIn messages about recruitment.
  • Use social media platforms as a communication tool to keep candidates in-the-know about your company’s initiatives, timelines, and goals.

Just this week, I used these strategies to pause recruitment for a VIP client, and the results were incredible. Mere hours after sending our bulk action email, I received close to 100 LinkedIn connection requests and candidate emails thanking our client for keeping them informed.

img_61894“It’s nice to hear from a company that cares” and “Thank you for doing the right thing” were just some of the responses, and countless others encouraged the team to “keep in touch” and “stay healthy” as the pandemic progressed.

What struck me the most was not the impressive level of follow-through from candidates but their genuine understanding of and appreciation for our client’s gesture. In reading the responses, there’s a true sense of comradery, and I know these candidates will keep their positive experience in mind when (not IF) they apply in the future. 

Our Technical Talent Consultant, Ankit, had an experience that mirrored my own. While winding down recruitment for this same client, he found the software engineers and developers (especially those in late-stage interviews) responded very well to personalized emails and LinkedIn connection requests that kept them informed about the process. For Ankit and the entire Hire Ventures team, honest communication and a commitment to an exceptional candidate experience are a standard practice, not just expected, as we guide clients through their recruitment journey.

“I try to be honest and straightforward. The engineers just want to know what’s going on… It’s a tough time for everybody.” – Ankit Dogra

While these are challenging times, there are better days ahead. Your recruitment initiatives may be on hold today, but soon you’ll be hiring again, and the strategies you put in place NOW will impact the success you have in the future. Take the time to send those personalized notes, make online connections, respond to those messages, and check in on your candidates. You’ll see your efforts pay off when high-quality candidates return to your recruitment pool more excited than ever to join a company they know genuinely cares.

Are you looking for recruitment strategy advice or HR support during the COVID-19 pandemic? Contact our team or schedule a call with our Founder, Teresa Murphey, today!


We’re In This Together: Boosting Company Morale During COVID-19


The COVID-19 outbreak has changed the way we live, work, and interact with others. There’s no denying that times are tough, but challenges like this are opportunities for company leadership to step up and boost the morale of their employees. While there’s no set playbook for keeping moods bright, there are easy steps you can take to show leadership, strength, and positivity during these challenging times.

Keep Informed

In these uncertain times, honest leadership is an invaluable asset. Employees are looking to company leaders to share information that both sets realistic expectations and provides hope for the future. To keep employees in the know, company leadership should release regular email updates about how COVID-19 may be impacting work schedules, office locations, and company goals.

While some employees will handle these uncertain times well, others may struggle and reach out for guidance. When this happens, be empathetic and do your best to keep the conversation positive and focused on aspects of life and work that are within the employee’s control. An employee’s mental health is just as important as their physical well-being, so encourage your team to take advantage of telemedicine appointments, EAP programs, national hotline services, or mobile therapy applications that provide the resources and support they need to weather the storm.

Stay Connected

team connecting virtually through zoom meetingWhile working from home is an adjustment for all employees, today’s technology allows for increased productivity and connection between teams. Company leaders should take advantage of these tools to stay connected with team members regularly. Weekly Zoom meetings, team-focused Slack channels, and personalized Trello boards allow teams to stay connected and focused even when they’re apart. Leaders can encourage participation with these tools by holding training and information sessions that empower employees to use this technology to their maximum capacity.

Celebrate Success

When it comes to celebrating success, there’s no time like the present, and that sentiment is especially true now that your team is working from home. Take time to plan online events and shout-outs that cheer on team members and put their contributions on full display. Congratulatory emails, slack messages, and social media posts let team members, customers, and partners know that your employees are working hard and cheering each other on during challenging times.

Give Back

Few things in life make us feel better than giving back. The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every part of life, and millions are struggling to cope, which means there is no better time for your company to come together and give back. Encourage your team to flex their philanthropic muscle by collecting gifts, canned foods, or home supplies for those who can’t leave their house. A great example of this comes from our client Experience LLC, who donated their monthly snack box from Snack Nation and raised money in a raffle to give to our local community via Atlanta Food Bank.  Giving back helps ease the angst.

Have Fun!

Tiger King meme about keeping team members connected and entertained during quarantineJust because your team is home quarantined doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Keep moods light and morale high by creating fun initiatives that encourage your employees to stay connected and optimistic while they’re at home. Our client, Experience LLC, is known as one of Atlanta’s coolest companies, and they’ve taken that reputation virtual by hosting virtual happy hours, themed days, and watch parties (raise your hand if you’ve binged Tiger King already!). Your company can add to this list by hosting virtual exercise groups, book clubs, or kid clubs (for those employees who need a few minutes away from the little ones).

Are you looking for HR and recruitment support in these uncertain times? We’re here to help! Contact our team or schedule a call with our Founder, Teresa Murphey, today!

Marijuana and the workplace… it may be April Fools’ Day, but this is no joke!

What comes to mind when you think of marijuana? Teenagers out way past their curfew getting up to no good? College kids with no supervision looking to blow off some steam? You’re likely partially correct, but now more than ever, working adults and average Joes are using marijuana, and they aren’t all breaking the law. Twenty years ago, the thought of legalized marijuana would have made the boardroom shake with laughter, but on April Fools’ Day 2019, the realities of weed and the workplace are no joke!

So what is an HR professional or business owner to do now that marijuana use is both more legal and less taboo than ever before? Here are some facts to keep in mind:

  • Sorry smokers, marijuana isn’t legal everywhere…yet. While the federal government still considers marijuana a schedule one narcotic, more than 28 states have either legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana use. If that wasn’t complicated enough, several states have new laws coming down the pipeline. Meaning each state has different rules around who can use and what the makeup of marijuana products can be. Confused? Just wait, there’s more!
  • Is drug testing still legal or a thing of the past? Employers want to know who they’re hiring, and there is just some information you can’t get from a well-crafted resume and cover letter. If you’re living in a state where recreational or medical marijuana use is legal, you may want to rethink your drug testing policy. The good news is employers in these states still have the right to drug test applicants and employees (unless a state law prevents testing in the first place). The bad news is that’s where the guidance stops. As if business owners and HR professionals didn’t have enough tough decisions to make, they now get to choose if marijuana will continue to be part of their drug testing panel.
  • Good help is hard to find, and marijuana laws make it harder. If you’re living in a state with legalized recreational or medical marijuana, what are the chances your “perfect applicant” tests positive for the drug in a routine screening? If the number is higher than zero, you’ve got a problem on your hands. As an employer, you have the right to pass on these candidates if they fail your screening. But you may also struggle to fill open positions or scare potential applicants away altogether. Our best advice is to know your business, job descriptions, and applicant pool well. There are specific jobs (construction, warehouse work, childcare, transportation, etc.) where the legal pitfalls of marijuana use far outweigh the benefits. On the other hand, more sedentary jobs may be less affected. As HR professionals and business owners, you understand your organization better than anyone. Ultimately, if marijuana use does not mesh with your values or open positions, it may be best to pass.
  • Chill out, it’s just medicine. Medical marijuana has been around for years, but recently even the most conservative states have adopted policies around the sale and use of medical marijuana. It’s not uncommon for adults of all ages to head to the doctor’s office with a headache and leave with a prescription for medical marijuana and a very relaxed evening. With more employees using medical marijuana than ever before, what guidance does the ADA have for employers looking to maintain professionalism without harshing the vibe? To date, federal ADA guidance does not force employers to consider medical marijuana use a reasonable accommodation, but of course, every state is different. It’s best to brush up on state ADA guidelines before making a decision either way!

Marijuana and the workplace clear as mud, right?! Remember, federal and state laws are constantly in flux, so what’s illegal today could be good to go tomorrow! If you’re struggling to understand marijuana laws in your state or need a little policy advice around the country’s most controversial plant, we’ve got you covered.