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In today’s job market, it might seem like the advantage rests squarely with employers, what with record numbers of unemployment. But that’s not necessarily true. Superstar players in your industry will always be in high demand — their standards and expectations are only increasing thanks to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. To recruit the best, you need to provide the best hiring experience.

Let’s start with the basics. Of course, baseline considerations are important — salary and benefits, vacation, location, the scope of responsibility, and room for advancement. In my 25 years in executive recruitment, however, I’ve often found the intangible considerations that win the day when multiple employers are competing for the same candidate.

The culture of an organization rests on the foundation of how they treat their employees. Beyond any research they might have done, a job candidate’s first impression of your culture is how you treat them long before joining your team. They already know your organization’s public brand; now show them your employer brand.

Imagine you’re the coach of a college softball team, and you’re courting the star high school player who just took her team to the state championship. You would treat the athlete (and her parents) with exceptional care and attention, arranging for every detail of their visit to your school from a planned travel itinerary to a personalized tour of the campus. You would be part of the experience, rather than handing off the task to one of your assistant coaches and the school’s admission department.

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I’ve often witnessed employers drop the ball just as they’re about to score a great individual because of their lack of attention to detail. Here’s a short list of “must do’s” to build an exceptional white glove experience. While not every recommendation can translated directly to the current remote hiring process many organizations are facing, this list provides a strong foundation upon which slight alterations can be applied to address your company’s unique talent acquisition needs.

Timeless tips for a “white glove” hiring experience:

  1. When bringing an individual to HQ, ensure all of their requisite costs are taken care of up-front. It’s a small detail, but never having to open their wallet can make them feel especially well looked after
  2. Provide them with a personalized package overviewing precisely what they can expect. This should include the overarching timeline and details (such as flight info and hotel overview) to the interviews they will have and  the focus topic of those conversations.
  3. Pre-check them into their hotel and ensure it’s ready with a branded gift. If you develop an appropriate product, include it for their enjoyment. If not, consider sharing company swag. (If hotel travel is not an option or necessary, send swag via mail or courier).
  4. Meet them for breakfast on the first day to review the meeting agenda and introduce them to a designated point person who will accompany them to each interview.
  5. During their HQ visit, provide them access to a private room where they can work between interviews.
  6. Plan coffee breaks and lunches into their agenda and check in-advance if they have any dietary preferences.
  7. Cater the interview process to their needs — ask them what they need to get out of the process and structure interviews accordingly. (After all, you’re both interviewing each other).
  8. Plan questions carefully to avoid duplications across interview stages/meetings.
  9. Close each day of the visit with a wrap-up of next steps to ensure they’re feeling completely comfortable and supported throughout.
  10.  Once you know someone’s the wrong fit, let them know a.s.a.p. with honesty. (It’s easy today to post an anonymous online review of a company’s hiring process.)
  11. Proactively solicit honest feedback from applicants (to ensure your white-glove experiences are continually improving).

Investing in a white glove experience is a critical component to securing top talent. Putting in the energy to translate an exceptional hiring process to a virtual environment will ensure that you position your company as an attractive place to work.