Many companies who went remote to get through the pandemic are finding that remote teams and remote working are far more feasible — and productive — than previously assumed. 

I work with countless leaders in the recruiting and hiring sphere, including some with decades of experience. Always ready to meet a challenge, they were among the most eager to learn and the fastest to transform. Meanwhile, a recent Gartner survey found that a full 80% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely at least some of the time. 

But with all the focus on the remote employee experience, it’s important that we don’t forget about something just as crucial: the remote candidate experience.

Two key factors, one great candidate experience

As with the experience of working remotely, the key to a great — and remote — candidate experience is infusing it with the same responsiveness, transparency and momentum as any optimal candidate experience. Focus on these key factors: 

1. Contact and communication

Much of the hiring process is conducted remotely already. We’ve been relying on digital tools and platforms to attract candidates, schedule interviews, run some assessments and provide information on the job and the employer, and even conduct the interviews themselves, as is possible on Indeed Hiring Events

But it’s crucial that we use these tools wisely. How we communicate and keep in contact is important. It’s vital to maintain a cadence of frequent contacts to keep the candidate engaged and moving through the hiring journey. 

Best practices: Automate the up-front tasks that can often bottleneck a busy recruiting team, but make sure they’re consistent in terms of look, tone and feel with the overall employer brand. 

Use them to run through a preliminary list of skills and qualifications so the candidate doesn’t waste their time and the hiring team builds the right pool of candidates quickly. Have them at the ready so a candidate can hear back on a query without having to wait. 

If an interview is scheduled, provide automated calendar invites and reminders; as the hiring journey continues, provide automated reminders of tasks that have to be completed — and celebrate the milestones achieved.

For every hire at a large company, an average of no less than 94 candidates can be needed to get there. 

In this case, a remote hiring platform provides a far better alternative that cuts down on time, energy and friction as well: having to tell a candidate they’re not qualified after they’ve gotten halfway there does not bode well for their wanting to reapply for another position. 

And in general, just as with remote working, communications should be frequent, short and sweet. A digital hiring platform can also keep track and record every exchange and outreach, preventing repetition and gathering information continuously.

2. Interviews and screening

The logistics of scheduling interviews have often been another friction point. They’re also key to help candidates know how to prepare and what documents and information to assemble. 

What’s become so apparent in the pivot to remote work is that certain actions work better when they’re conducted via digital tools. Same with interviewing: while the interview itself may need to be a traditional face-to-face (via video conferencing software or not), the tasks and interactions to prepare for it do well remotely and help the process fast-forward to the interview.  

Best practices: Lean on a digital platform to automate and streamline all the tasks leading up to the interview. Doing so can largely take the weight off your hiring teams: automated tasks have helped talent acquisition teams increase their efficiency and time by some 9 hours per requisition, according to recent data from Indeed. 

If you can, provide screener questions and assessments in advance to determine whether a candidate should be invited to interview. These can be either customized to your specific criteria or from a bank of well-designed, relevant, existing assessments. 

Candidates will appreciate the chance to learn more about the job through this phase before the interview, and again, it may help them either become more engaged and invested or realize the role isn’t for them and opt out.  

For the interview itself, where it’s conducted matters just as much (if not more so) when it’s a remote interview. But great interviews can and do happen remotely — for countless reasons. 

Since your hiring team or hiring manager has been freed of many of the traditional tasks, they’ll have the time and energy to devote to the interview now.

With so much preliminary information already gathered, this can be a time to truly get a sense of the candidate and let the candidate get a sense of the job and the employer. Let them ask plenty of questions as well. Instead of making them feel on the spot, a remote interview can help them feel like they’re in the spotlight — and that how they’re experiencing the hiring process matters as much as whether or not they ultimately get the job.  

As with remote working, remote hiring doesn’t diminish how we engage with one another but shifts it. Using innovative tools and digital features means that we can quickly take care of much of the busywork of the hiring process, accumulate far more usual data that helps make better hiring decisions, and, ultimately, interact with more focus and engagement. 

Remote hiring is not going away. There are simply too many advantages given our busy lives, and the logic of lifting the burden on traditionally overburdened hiring teams is irrefutable. It enables the same experience to candidates, whether hiring for individual roles or at scale. The quality of interactions is consistent, responses are timely and the overall candidate experience is a net positive, paving the way for great hire.

Meghan M. Biro is a globally recognized analyst, author, speaker and brand strategist. The founder of TalentCulture, she hosts #WorkTrends, a popular weekly Twitter Chat and podcast. Her career spans across recruiting, talent management, digital media and brand strategy for hundreds of companies, from startups to global brands like Microsoft, IBM and Google. She also serves on advisory boards for leading HR technology brands. Meghan can be regularly found on Forbes, SHRM, and a variety of other outlets. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Indeed.