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Since COVID-19 hit the world in 2020, changing the way people do business and sending shockwaves through the workforce, employees have left their jobs in unprecedented numbers. The phenomenon, which has become known as the Great Resignation, has impacted nearly every industry, resulting in severe staffing shortages, especially in industries like retail, manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, and more.

The reality is that demand for frontline staff is higher than the number of candidates available which means it’s harder than ever before to recruit for these roles. This is causing serious issues like loss in revenue and high staff turnover for many businesses.

To stay competitive, it’s important to find ways to recruit more candidates. One tool that’s changing the game for employers is live chat.

1. Why You Should Consider Live Chat for Your Frontline Recruiting and Staffing Needs

Live chatting isn’t a new idea. In fact, many consumers have come to expect this functionality from websites. Businesses who use live chat to provide customer service are likely familiar with the benefits this channel offers, including a personalized experience, the opportunity to build rapport and substantially reduced wait times to talk to a real person. Savvy businesses are realizing that the advantages of live chat can also be used for recruitment, bringing benefits to both the company and the candidate.

This can give a company the competitive advantage they’re looking for when recruiting frontline talent. By letting recruiters engage with talent in real-time, increasing the response rate to job postings, and helping candidates communicate using their device of choice can make a huge difference bringing in the talent a company needs to succeed.

frontline worker cashier

2. Engage With More Frontline Candidates in Real-Time

Traditional application methods of sending in a resume to a form or email without knowing if/when you’ll hear back can feel slow and one-sided. Encouraging candidates to engage through chat can feel more like a two-way conversation, allowing the interested candidate to ask questions and speak to a real human. In a candidate-driven market putting them in the driver seat will help you gain a competitive advantage. Live chats can also help you engage with more talent in less time, letting you hire the right candidate quickly and efficiently by:

hr interviewing
  • Answering their questions quickly: Because the best candidates don’t always apply for a job, live chat software lets a candidate ask questions before applying for the position. By engaging with passive candidates when they’re already on your site, you may find and attract someone who’s the right fit for the job. Live chats also offer an opportunity to provide information on salary, job responsibilities and benefits that may help a candidate determine whether they’re a match for the position and then enticing qualified job seekers to apply.
  • Begin the screening process immediately: Historically, screening a job applicant meant a telephone call or email correspondence, but today’s candidates value immediacy. Hiring for frontline talent should have a shorter process. Using live chat, you eliminate the need to schedule a phone or in-person screening and can start the process right away. Many candidates appreciate the informality and convenience of a casual screening via live chat, and by moving quickly, you can reduce the chances of losing a great candidate to a competitor.
  • Eliminating lengthy online application forms: Repeatedly filling out cumbersome online job application forms can fatigue even the most die-hard job searcher, and may deter a candidate from applying for a job. Through live chat, recruiters can collect relevant information from candidates as part of an organic conversation.
  • Reducing the time spent waiting on recruiters: Whether you’re an employer or an applicant, it can be frustrating to wait to hear back from busy recruiters, which often takes weeks. Recruitment through live chat on your website eliminates the middle man, letting you speak directly with prospective candidates so there’s no wait time.
  • Answering questions from candidates immediately: Sometimes, candidates may burning questions about a position of interest, and they won’t apply until they have an answer. Live chats let job seekers ask questions immediately and anonymously, so they can determine if the position is a good fit.
  • Increasing the percentage of applicants that accept your offer: Because live chats can speed up the recruiting process significantly, you’ll likely find talent faster than other companies do. By making a job offer quickly, you’ll reduce the risk of losing candidates to another company. Plus, by answering questions and engaging in more casual dialogue, you’ll increase the likelihood of finding workers that are a true match and have the potential to become loyal, long-term members of your team.

3. Increase Your Response Rate

By using a live chat feature you can increase the response rate to job postings, ensuring a larger pool of candidates for your company to select from. Live chats can improve your overall response rate by:

  • Triggering an outbound live chat at key moments: Chat software can be set to trigger when a site visitor looks at a job posting on your site, so prospective candidates are actively invited to interact with a live operator. By nudging job seekers to chat at these key moments, you may be able to influence their decision about whether to apply for the position.
  • Letting candidates book an interview session for the next day: Chat-based interviews don’t always have to happen right away. Sometimes, an immediate interview isn’t convenient for an applicant who has time constraints or who wishes to prepare before talking to a recruiter. A live chat scheduling feature integrates with an employer’s calendar, letting candidates set an appointment to interview at a more convenient time.
  • Providing the opportunity for candidates to communicate instantly via text, audio or video: When we think about chat boxes, we typically envision text-based communication, but live chats don’t have to be text-only. By offering job seekers the option to communicate using audio or video, you’ll make interactions more comfortable for candidates and improve the odds of a response. Incorporating audio and video options into a live chat also improves your company’s accessibility for visually impaired applicants so you attract a more diverse workforce.
virtual interview

4. Speak With Your Candidates Using Their Device of Choice

In the current candidate-driven market, it’s important for companies to prioritize the needs of potential new hires. Because today’s job seekers often value immediacy and flexibility, letting candidates communicate via their device of choice (which is often mobile) is crucial. By demonstrating a willingness to accommodate your candidates’ busy lifestyles, you’re showing respect for the individual and, ultimately, setting your company up to attract the talent you need to succeed.

With the right live chat software, you can engage candidates via mobile or desktop so you never lose an opportunity to speak to a potential hire, even when they’re on-the-go. To optimize your live chats for use on mobile devices, make sure your chat software is responsive.

    interviewing candidate

    4 Things To Remember When Recruiting Frontline Staff Through Live Chat

    The companies that attract frontline talent in today’s candidate-driven job market are those that are most willing to change with the times. To compete, modern employers may need to rethink the way they hire.

    If you’re ready to adopt live chat as a recruitment tool, make sure to follow a few simple best practices:

    • Embed live chat calls to action on your website pages. When offering live chats to potential candidates, be sure the call to action is featured prominently on your website. Place clear, enticing messaging such as “Speak with a live recruiter now,” on key pages, including your home page, careers landing page, and wherever you post your company’s job application form. The option to chat should also be readily available to visitors who are viewing individual job postings.
    • Link your recruiting ads directly to your live chat. If you’ve placed recruiting ads on job search sites or relevant industry pages, try linking directly to your live chat option, offering candidates an easy, one-click communication option to get the process started.
    • Let candidates know what to expect. While a strategic call-to-action can successfully draw candidates into a chat with a live recruiter, be sure to add clear messaging explaining what a live recruiter can offer. Highlight the benefits of engaging in a chat, such as the opportunity to ask questions about the role and the company, and assistance determining if a candidate is a good match for a job and may want to apply.
    • Show names and photos of the live recruiters. You can add a personal element to a text chat by providing the name and photo of the recruiter. Additionally, your live operators should reflect the makeup of your ideal staff. By letting your candidates see photos of chat agents from diverse backgrounds, your company has can showcase its appeal as an equal opportunity employer, which may help you attract a more diverse pool of talent.

    Ultimately, recruiting through live chat is about making things easier for both your company and potential candidates. Although this innovative tool may never eliminate the need for a formal application or interview process, a live chat can be a valuable addition to your recruitment toolkit, providing an effective way to communicate with your candidates, streamlining your process and helping you attract the talent your business needs to succeed.

    Want to learn more on how to recruit through a live chat?

    Optimy Live Chat can help you hire more efficiently.