We recently hosted a live discussion between Kate Taylor, Head of Recruiting at Notion, and Troy Sultan, CEO at Guide and ex-head of talent. They shared their hot takes on the current hiring climate and why keeping candidate’s engaged is the biggest challenge for talent teams. The best part of the event? Kate walked us through Notions recruiting and candidate communication framework. 

Check out the highlights below, including clips from the event. Or, if you want to watch the full recording on-demand, request access here.

State of the industry

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware of the unprecedented market environment we find ourselves in. Fears of a looming recession, a wave of layoffs in tech, a shift to fully remote work, low unemployment rates… the list goes on. The hiring market is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. And the impact is felt by both talent professionals and candidates alike. 

At Guide, we recently polled a group of our community members, consisting of talent leaders, recruiting operations folks, and recruiters. When asked to give one word that describes the current world of recruiting, their answers read more like a bad relationship than a positive experience of helping real people find work that they love:

  • Chaos
  • Volatile
  • Noisy
  • Rollercoaster
  • Unpredictable
  • Competitive
  • Shortsighted
  • Intense
  • Dumpster fire 🔥

Why the negative sentiment? Well, there are a few things that Kate and Troy shared as culprits👇

Candidate preferences have changed

The current market environment has created a perfect storm for an almost overnight shift in candidate preferences and expectations. 

Candidates are more skeptical than ever. Perhaps they, or someone they know, have been impacted by layoffs. They don’t want to get burned again!

Plus, their preferences have simply evolved from previous generations. Today’s candidates are looking for more than just a paycheck. They want to join something meaningful. 90% of employees shared they are willing to take a pay cut for more meaningful work and 74% of employees ranked purpose higher than pay. 

For these reasons, candidates understandably are asking more questions and demanding more transparency - not just in the interview process but in the company itself. Accepting a job offer is a big life decision. 

Application volumes are at an all-time high

Talent teams are reporting that their candidate pipeline is strong. This is great news! Just a few short years ago, sourcing and attracting candidates was the biggest challenge for recruiting teams. 

Kate shared that Notion has seen double the number of applicants in recent months.

Keeping top candidates engaged is the biggest challenge today

Troy and Kate flagged what they believe to be the biggest challenge facing talent teams today: keeping top candidates in your hiring funnel engaged.

As Notion started seeing record breaking applications, it put stress on their ability to maintain the high quality engagement with every candidate they strive to achieve. With a high volume of candidates that require more effort from recruiters to respond to their demands, recruiting teams have found themselves overwhelmed. 

Even in the most progressive recruiting teams, candidates spend more than 95% of the hiring journey talking to no one. Keeping candidates engaged and excited in between interviews isn’t easy. Delivering the 1:1 high-touch, personalized, and transparent candidate experience is a manual and time-consuming process for recruiters. There is only so much time in the day! 

How Notion delivers a world-class candidate experience and keeps candidates engaged

We had the privilege of chatting with Kate Taylor, Head of Recruiting at Notion, to get a behind-the-scenes look at how they set themselves up for success, specifically around how they communicate with candidates. 

The importance of hiring top talent starts at the top

Notion is well known for its recruiting philosophy, which is felt throughout the company and is evangelized at the very top, starting with its CEO, Ivan Zhao. In fact, Ivan considers hiring top talent one of the most important things their company needs to do. This means that every Notino (how cool is it that they call their employees Notinos?!) has recruiting as part of their job description. 

You can learn more about how Notion views hiring, and their specific approach to hiring in a recent blog post from their Chief People Officer, Maryanne Brown Caughey.

You’ll notice that how Notion communicates with candidates is a big part of their success. 

Use interview guides to stay engaged

Notion has created several pre-built Notion pages (gotta love a company that drinks their own champagne!) that serve as interview guides and are shared with candidates at certain points throughout their interview journey. 

Take this (publicly available) Life at Notion page, for example. It gives the reader a realistic picture of what it is like to work at Notion, with links to some really interesting articles to learn more. Super helpful resource for applicants and candidates alike! 

But these aren’t just static docs, they are where the candidate can add comments and share thoughts. The hiring team can react to those comments. Before long, there’s a whole lot of engagement happening without anyone jumping into a Zoom! 

Notion has a couple of other (not publicly available) Notion docs that they share at different points throughout the interview process, such as a Sell Doc when a candidate receives an offer. The goal of any doc remains: provide candidates with a consistent experience and encourage two-way communication.

A strong recruiter <> candidate relationship is key

One thing is certain: The way companies communicate with and treat candidates is becoming the single most important factor in attracting and retaining quality employees. 

This puts the relationship between the recruiter and the candidate in the spotlight. Especially for top candidates, it can make or break the decision to accept an offer. 

Kate shared that several employees at Notion stated the relationship with their recruiter as one of the key factors when deciding whether or not to join the company. A recruiter that shows transparency and builds trust is a sign that others at the company will operate similarly. Notion ensures recruiters are equipped with the tools and space needed to foster these important relationships.

The future of candidate communications: Guide Messenger

Candidates require more energy from recruiters than ever before. And the personal relationship they build with their candidates is more important than ever. 

But, again, most talent teams are already spread too thin 🤯 

In 2023 and beyond, adopting the right technology that scales high-touch, transparent communication with candidates - without adding more to your recruiter's already full plate - will be key to achieving employee growth and business success.

That's why we built Guide Messenger, a better way to communicate with candidates throughout the interview process. Guide makes it easy to keep candidates engaged but without all of the unnecessary back and forth or admin work. Give your recruiters time back in their day to do what they do best - build relationships with candidates. 

Interested in giving your candidates an experience so refreshing they’ll rave about it to all their friends and family? Request a demo of Guide!

Watch the full The Future of Candidate Communications webinar to hear more from Kate and Troy.