Skip links

You need empathy and clarity on your career site right now

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Last week, the Talent, Leadership, and Marketing Book Club read Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. One quote particularly resonated with the group: “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.” This quote from Brené was a much-needed reminder that empathy and clarity go hand in hand. 

By letting empathy and clarity guide your candidate communication strategy, your employer brand will come out stronger on the other side of this crisis.

CVS Health’s career site traffic has increased 500% since the start of the pandemic crisis. Whether you are aggressively hiring now or not, candidates are using career sites as the official source on hiring news at your company.

The best career site content is both empathetic and clear to candidates. Here are a few examples of companies who are communicating effectively on their career site amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Lead with the most critical information

Your company’s response to COVID-19 and how it impacts candidates is the most important content on your career site right now. Make it easy for career site visitors to find what they are looking for. Don’t bury the lead.

When visitors arrive at the retailer’s career site, Target directs you to their information hub. There you’ll discover how the company is supporting its employees throughout the crisis. You’ll also learn what to expect as an employee, candidate, and customer at Target.

If COVID-19 has created an unexpected talent shortage at your company, that homepage message is a great place to communicate your hiring urgency. CVS Health tells it to you straight: they need to fill more than 50,000 full-time and part-time positions across the United States. 

Interested candidates click through to more helpful information — specific openings, how to expedite the hiring process, and how assessments are conducted virtually.

Empathize with candidates who are adjusting to your new interview process

With social distancing and stay at home orders in place, candidates are wondering how your hiring process will work. More-so, they’re worried about how they’re going to show up in an unfamiliar interview format. Companies empathetic to a new candidate experience over-communicate when shifting to a virtual experience.

For example, Arcadia has created a seven (!) page guide to prepare candidates for virtual hiring. Everything from the technology they use (Zoom), how interviewing with multiple people will work (you stay on the line, Arcadians will dial in to meet you), and dress code (smart casual) is included. 

Arcadia is also empathetic to what may be happening personally to candidates during an interview process. Candidates can reschedule without penalty if the need to care for themselves or family arises.

Thinking through all the way to the end of a hiring process, Cigna lets candidates know up front that drug tests will need to be administered in-person. They realized that could be a source of concern for candidates, especially if the facility is also a coronavirus test site. 

To minimize the risk of exposure, Cigna’s talent team has verified that their drug testing facilities are not also testing for COVID-19. They communicate this clearly on their career site:

Candidates may still be nervous about visiting a drug testing facility. But, knowing at the start of the process allows candidates to mentally and physically prepare for this step… or opt out from the start if it’s a dealbreaker. Cigna is saving time and stress for everyone, an act of empathy.

Address difficult topics directly

Your company has likely had to make some difficult people-related decisions these last few weeks. Some companies have little mention on their career site of the impact the pandemic has had on their employees and candidates. Others have marched towards empathy and clarity instead.

As food and facilities managers across corporations, schools, and hospitals, Sodexo is in a unique situation. Some of their locations are closed for now, and others are busier than ever. 

When you visit their career site, they are transparent about how COVID-19 has impacted their business. Sodexo is also clear about what they’re doing to support employees whose jobs have been impacted.

Keeping their people working is Sodexo’s highest priority. When you click through to their displaced employee resources, you are met with temporary job opportunities within Sodexo, as well as temporary opportunities available outside the company through one of their partners.

Alaska Airlines is also choosing empathy for candidates by telling them career opportunities are extremely limited right now. This message is front and center on their career site. It is possible that the airline’s hiring will be back to normal again soon. But, rather than allowing candidates to unproductively complete applications, they invite them to join their talent community instead. 

Empathy and clarity are your greatest communication tools during a crisis 

Employees and candidates will remember how they were treated during this time. It’s tough to know what to say right now. By letting empathy and clarity guide your communication strategy, your employer brand will come out stronger on the other side of this crisis. 


How are you communicating with candidates during this time? I want to hear about it! Send me an email at [email protected].