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Mastering the Close: Leading with Transparency to Close Remote Candidates

By navigating a remote world, companies today are finding innovative ways to adapt their recruiting strategy to continue building great teams. While some could argue that the majority of the interview process for tech roles has been remote–from phone screen to technical assessment–the onsite interview carries a lot of weight for both the candidate and hiring team to ensure there’s a good fit. For in-office teams especially, onsite interviews offer a chance to not only evaluate the candidate but to build rapport and determine if they are the right fit for the role. 

The onsite experience, whether remote or in-person, should not differ much but closing a candidate during this stage may take a little more effort to effectively accomplish. In our recently published 2020 State of Remote Work Report, we discovered that a top concern during remote interviews was gaining a true understanding of a company’s culture. This presents an opportunity for employers to fill in the gaps of the employee experience and company culture when they cannot come onsite.  In our webinar, “Onsites to Onboarding: Best Practices for a Remote World,” Talent Acquisition leads from Rapid7 and FORM3 share insights on how they have overcome these hurdles and mastered the close with remote candidates.

Showcase your company’s transparency & empathy

Closing a candidate happens throughout the interview process–it starts at the first phone screen and it is especially crucial at the onsite stage. By the time a candidate reaches the onsite interview, they have most likely stack-ranked their opportunities. Their ranking will likely be based on their experience in the first part of your recruiting process and what matters most to them in their next opportunity. The onsite stage can further elevate their interest and excitement in your company and open position.

In today’s remote world, 77% of tech candidates surveyed stated that provided with the right insights, they would likely accept a job offer without needing to physically visit the office. Additionally, 73% said they would likely accept after only meeting team members via video calls, which is great news for employers. Before the onsite interview, companies can provide insights, such as photos of team offsites and videos of the office, and a walk through of their interview steps so they can best prepare. Onsite confirmation emails offer transparency and set expectations for candidates. It is key to include relevant content regarding the company, its values, and ongoing initiatives to get them excited about the company’s culture and brand ahead of meeting the team. The reality is, every interaction with a candidate is an opportunity to influence your ability to close.

Marra Moran, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner from Rapid7, mentions that in their shift to a 100% remote recruitment strategy, a personal video message from their Chief People Officer, Christina Luconi, that welcomes candidates and guides them through their remote interview process has allowed Rapid7 to nurture candidates in their late stage pipeline. Beyond that, the video leads with empathy, assures candidates that the company is trying to navigate the remote world just as they are, and that the company will do its best to provide them support along the way. 

Focus on building rapport along the way

Remote onsite interviews provide a space for candidates to build rapport with the team. Interviewers greeting candidates with a friendly face by keeping their cameras on is a great way to start the discussion face to face. Less than 20% of tech candidates surveyed mentioned they considered video interviews to be more stressful than in-person interviews. With careful preparation, recruiting and hiring teams can still assess candidates, allow for candidates to get a better understanding of the team and requirements, and champion the company’s culture virtually, just as strongly as they would during an in-person onsite. Sean Hynan, Talent Lead at FORM3, mentioned that remote engineers volunteered to record video testimonials for the company’s Career Page for prospective candidates to get a well-rounded, holistic view of the employee experience directly from team members on different teams and at varying levels.

Lastly, ending the remote onsite strong helps to set expectations for candidates on what to expect in terms of next steps. Rapid7 and FORM3 both mention that making sure a candidate is able to ask any final questions with a team member allows for the virtual onsite to have closure. Along with never leaving a candidate in the Zoom room alone, Moran’s team at Rapid7 schedules a 10-15 minute final sync between the candidate and hiring manager for a casual chat to see how the day went, similar to an “elevator walk out” at the office.

Mastering the Close

Similar to recommending a candidate send a “thank you” note to the interviewing team within 24 hours of the onsite, it is best practice to follow up with candidates within 48 hours with a note to thank them for their time and a timeline for next steps and a decision. This helps set expectations and assures the candidate they didn’t get lost in the pipeline. Additionally, sending candidates additional resources post-onsite (company news, new marketing campaigns, etc) help to keep them “warm” and engaged before final stages and an offer decision, especially as it is relevant to their career interests. 

Finally, when delivering an offer, connecting a candidate back to their career preferences and interests (that you identified during the interview process), the interactions they had with the team, and painting a picture of what it will be like for them being on the team, goes far beyond numbers. In the post-onsite team debrief, when the team decides to move forward with a candidate, it is valuable to collect anecdotal feedback from the team as to why they believe the candidate would be a good fit. As you deliver the offer, weave that into your messaging to ensure they know they are not only valued by the hiring manager but also the team they will be working alongside.

While compensation is a leading factor (53%) in a candidate’s consideration to accept a job offer, 42% of tech talent cited company culture and opportunities to learn new skills (39%) as close contenders. Ultimately, a candidate’s consideration of an offer — beyond pay — will come down to their experience through the interview process, and whether they feel confident about the role and the investment they are making for this next chapter of their career.