Managing Candidate Expectations in a Pandemic World

Marketing Specialist

The growth of technology has given consumers more choice than ever before. Providers of goods and services are expected to go beyond the bare minimum, offering an overall experience that produces real value for customers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further raised consumer standards. Companies are expected to offer new, expanded options for consuming their goods and services that acknowledge and accommodate customers’ safety concerns.

Healthcare job candidates are in a similar position. When choosing from among several job offers, candidates will strongly consider their experience during the hiring process and choose an employer that offers the most value to them.

Like consumers, candidates also expect a potential employer to accommodate health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This goes beyond practicing basic health and safety measures. Job candidates want to know that their future employer takes their health and safety seriously. This includes offering flexible options, such as remote interviews and onboarding, and ensuring sufficient personal protective equipment for clinical staff.

So how can healthcare employers improve the candidate experience in a COVID-19 world?

Creating a Positive Candidate Experience Amid COVID-19

Technology has a big role to play in helping healthcare HR teams create the best candidate experience. A healthcare organization’s human resource department should work closely with its IT team to identify and implement the best technology solutions to improve and streamline the application, hiring, and onboarding process for both employers and candidates.

Here are some ways to think about using technology for hiring in a COVID-19 world:

  • Use teleconferencing options to conduct interviews, meet-and-greets, introductions, and other traditionally in-person hiring events.
  • Communicate proactively with candidates about where they are in the hiring process and what they can expect. Stay flexible with communication options, including the use of social media.
  • Offer multiple options for applying to a job, such as LinkedIn applications. Automation technology can be used for scheduling interviews. 
  • Make the process as mobile-friendly as possible to accommodate the way most candidates use technology.
  • Healthcare employers should consider utilizing remote work options, either on a temporary or as-needed basis, or by hiring candidates for completely remote positions. This can encourage those candidates who are concerned about safety and want to limit in-person interactions.
  • Organizations may want to consider remote onboarding and training options, whether a candidate is being brought onsite or hired for a full-time remote position. Consider using automation technology for onboarding information like I-9s and employee handbooks.
  • Not only should healthcare facilities offer telehealth options to patients whenever possible, but employers should encourage their employees to use telehealth to help reduce costs.
  • Healthcare organizations must continue to stay on top of health and safety concerns with COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. These options not only mitigate risk and help an organization stay compliant, but can offer peace of mind to onsite employees.

Background Screening During COVID-19

Background screening could become even more important as healthcare employers rely on fewer face-to-face interactions and interviews.

However, these options also come with additional challenges. One of them is an increase in cost associated with implementing new technology, business disruptions, employee healthcare costs, and staying compliant with CDC, OSHA, and other guidance related to COVID-19. HR professionals should work closely with their organizations’ financial and accounting departments to determine the best way to address budgetary constraints and higher costs.

Another challenge for HR departments during COVID-19 is simply deciding on the appropriate candidate for a position. With fewer in-person interactions, especially when hiring a remote employee, it can be challenging to get to know a candidate and decide whether they are a good fit. This means that background screening, credit checks, and other types of verification will become even more important for identifying the right candidate.

Continuous employment screening (or infinity screening) allows healthcare organizations to monitor employee records in real-time and be aware of red flags as they happen. Staying on top of exclusion and sanction screening can help organizations stay compliant, helping them not only avoid penalties but also mitigating risk.

COVID-19 has changed candidate experiences, and some healthcare organizations are scrambling to stay ahead. Using technology appropriately, especially to screen candidates thoroughly, will make a significant difference for organizational success.

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