Psychological safety in the workplace is achieved when employees can express themselves freely without fear of being reprimanded. It is a must for any company, especially with the rallying call of mental health awareness, particularly in the office. A sound heart and mind will lead to smooth-running operations and healthy work culture.
But as a recruitment agency, should psychological safety also be in your goals? While technically, your applicants won’t work for you, the answer should be yes. Bringing in an environment of openness and empowerment during the hiring process has its benefits: confident new hires, happy clients, and a better recruitment brand. Additionally, doing your best to maintain psychological safety in recruitment will result in candidates who will trust the process and their own capabilities as well.
Here are some starting points to help you achieve psychological safety for candidates during the hiring process. Keep these ideas in mind to come up with an intuitive candidate experience strategy that will let potential hires speak their minds and believe they are the right person for the job.
Ensure that communication lines are open and responses are timely.
Make it apparent to the candidate that open communication is your agency’s practice. When potential hires know they can reach out to you in any way they can, it not only invites them to speak up but also breaks this barrier of nervousness and doubt about what to say or how to say it. Right from the get-go, present them various means on how the recruitment firm can help them out.
Consider the following in creating an impression to potential hires that your agency always has its line open to them:
- Make messages genuine and compelling. Psychological safety in recruitment means that candidates are approached not as mere job seekers but as professionals with incredible potential. In this regard, include in your communications how thankful you are that they gave an application, and they will be supported along the way.
A viable way to communicate this is to ditch canned welcome emails for more personalized messages of encouragement. Send them using a personal (not the team or department) corporate email address, and use their names throughout the message. Instead of blankly listing details, ask questions, too. What do they want to know about the hiring process? What are their expectations, aside from hopefully getting hired? They will consider giving a response, and this will start a conversation. This kind of engagement is a good start for psychological safety in recruitment.
Also, consider sending them messages using more personal means. Search your candidates’ professional profile on Linkedin, and send your welcome message there, too. Even words of encouragement through social media accounts like Facebook or Instagram will bring an element of surprise to them and make them feel more relaxed coming into the hiring process.
- Have various communication methods. Simply put, make it clear that your agency can be reached however the candidate wants to, from digital to physical means. It’s a good idea to show a physical office. This brick-and-mortar location gives a vibe of legitimacy to your company.
Next, share a landline that candidates can reach. While email addresses and social media are already in place, it’s more comforting for potential hires to have the voice of an actual person answer their inquiries. Letting them visit your office, whether for questions or the interview, will allow them to feel your firm’s support even better. Finally, in your welcome emails, list down all communication lines: from email addresses to the address of your office.
- Respond in a timely manner. Giving potential hires the response they need as promised helps maintain psychological safety in recruitment. With your recruitment team, discuss and finalize turnaround times when emails and social media messages are sent and replied to. Have them monitor these turnaround times so that all questions are appeased as soon as potential hires expect.
Let them know that you are at their corner.
In experience management, the entire recruitment process is scrutinized so that potential hires confidently go through each step. Of course, maintaining this confidence could be challenging, especially that candidates know that their background and performance will be juxtaposed with others’. But to keep psychological safety in recruitment up and about, this confidence should be kept burning.
Drop in a good word and check in on your potential hires through these additional favors:
- Approach candidates who may be struggling. A potential hire wasn’t able to send the right documents, or maybe they went through the testing not following instructions. Instead of immediately tossing their application away, contact them to ask if there was some misunderstanding on their end. After all, a brilliant future employee may be hiding behind all those errors.
If your staffing firm truly wants to build psychological safety in recruitment, you should have patience and compassion with applicants and their errors. Being too nervous about taking a test or being overwhelmed with the hiring process may be tell-tale signs, but don’t let these be the sole deciding factor.
- Send them a message after key steps in the process. Interviews and employment testing do take a toll on the candidate’s time and efforts. Let them know that their efforts didn’t go to waste by giving them words of encouragement, perhaps through a short message through text or social media. Acknowledge that the process may have been excruciating, but thank them for trusting in it. Invite them to ask questions about the next steps or what they will be facing in the future. The message will help them realize you are helping them get that job.
Let your potential hires feel that you are equals.
A person applying for a job has this mindset: “I have to impress these people.” They’re thinking that the person conducting the interview is some company bigwig who will decide their fate. As a recruitment agency, the truth of the matter is that your job is to mainly scour potential hires, tick boxes for what makes a good employee, and endorse to company clients those who meet requirements. Communicating to candidates that you are on their side is a good way to ease the tension. Additionally, empowering them to evaluate your recruitment firm also can alleviate job hunting anxiety.
Move a step closer to psychological safety in recruitment with these improvements in the process:
- Make it clear that you are a recruitment firm. At the start of the first interview, you can include in your recruiters’ spiel to explain the hiring process. It pays to be clear that your firm is helping out the company they are applying to. From the candidates’ point of view, knowing that they aren’t talking to the company yet will give them a sigh of relief. This relief will even improve once you tell them that you are there to help them get hired.
- Inform them they can evaluate your firm as well. Tell potential hires that they will be sent a request for a review at the end of the process, whether they make it or not. Share to them that their opinion matters, and it is important to the staffing firm that they voice out their thoughts. While writing a review is not exactly a position of power over the firm, it will give candidates a voice to make their feelings known about what they went through.
- Send a review request in a timely manner. You may schedule review requests at strategic times of the process. A successful new hire might speak praises of your agency but might overlook lapses in the process. An unsuccessful one might blame you despite your firm’s efforts. So it might be best to send the evaluation request right before the results are given.
To keep the recruitment strategy intact, you must have a systemic request for reviews in place. A constant influx of candidate feedback will aid your firm in having an updated view of the hiring process. This is where Great Recruiters can help you, not only in gathering reviews but also in promoting psychological safety in recruitment. Great Recruiters’ approach to handling reviews solely programmed for recruitment agencies makes it the best companion in ensuring that your hiring process will take care of current and future candidates.
First, a scheduled request for reviews, not given a few days late but rather right at the end of the process, will provide an impression to potential hires that their input is genuinely valued. Second, vivid data visualization and a user-friendly interface will let staffing agency leaders keep at the pulse of improving your recruiting strategy. Finally, recruitment firms can get started in a jiffy, with a 48-hour onboarding program that will enable your firm to gather info, pinpoint recruitment steps in question, and apply changes right away for better candidate reviews.