Your Finance Team

Three Keys To Great Interview Candidate Reimbursement

How to set up a reimbursement program that creates a great first impression.

The “war for talent” is not a joke, people.

In today’s labor market, finding skilled employees is hard. Organizations from all industries are doing everything (reasonable) in their power to attract top talent. Perks, salary packages, and mission statements have all ballooned in an attempt to woo the best employees available. But how many organizations are making sure they have a great hiring experience?

After all, first impressions are everything.

Setting up a great interview experience is a competitive advantage in the war for top talent. Beyond simply agreeing to reimburse job applicants for their travel and expenses, a great interview candidate experience requires building a process that is smooth, prompt, and modern. Here are three areas where you can start.

Reimburse via ACH direct deposit.

It never ceases to amaze me how many businesses reimburse their candidates with cumbersome payment workflows. “Before we pay you top dollar to build our software, can you please mail us your receipts and this printed-out spreadsheet form?” Insanity.

Worse yet is when the candidate is presented with multiple payment options, and what the organization intends to be a helpful selection just ends up being confusing.

Solve all of that by setting up a system that uses direct deposit via ACH. As long as your candidate has a bank account, they’ll only need to supply you with their information in order to receive their reimbursement.

Alternative digital payments options can also work—Venmo might be appealing to younger candidates—but ACH is timely, universal, and most of all, convenient. Plus, you won’t need to worry about changing your workflow. ACH is never going out of style.

No matter what you choose, make sure your payment method is consistent across the board. Job candidates will appreciate the thoughtfulness of a streamlined system.

Automate as much as possible.

One challenge of reimbursement is managing the sheer number of candidates and edge cases that are new to your expense system. Here, automation can help.

Automated policy enforcement, for example, means you don’t have to be the bad guy. If you’re using software that can be programmed with an expense policy, you can give the candidate a set meal budget instead of making them awkwardly judge how much to request for reimbursement.

Similarly, automated expense approval lets you tell the system to reimburse an applicant so long as they spent the right amount of money, included all the necessary documents and data, and so on. It’s less manual labor for you and quicker payback for the interview candidate.

Some reimbursement software automatically calculates mileage, too. Candidates who drive in don’t have to record the distance manually, and you don’t have to trust them.

Automatic account deactivation is a convenient way to make sure you don’t have an endlessly growing number of accounts in your system. The way we do it in Abacus is to let Admins set a date in the future on which, if no further action is taken, the account will be safely archived. (If the candidate gets the job, of course, then their account is already set up.)

Finally, there’s a benefit that stems from automation that goes beyond simply managing reimbursements and accounts: clarity.

If challenged to define dollar amounts and approval hierarchies for your interview candidate reimbursement policy, could you do it?

You would if you could automate that policy as discrete rules within software. This doesn’t mean sacrificing flexibility. It means giving your interview candidates clear guidance as to what they are allowed to submit for reimbursement. Just another way to appear thoughtful and organized to that one special unicorn.

Make Finance comfortable.

Simple enough for applicants to use and safe enough for Finance to trust. That’s the gold standard for an interview candidate reimbursement system.

Expense policy automation, data portability, hierarchical approval routing—all of these controls help the accounting team feel safe entrusting non-finance teams with the ability to remit cash payments. That comfort, in turn, keeps the hiring team comfortable actually deploying the system to new job candidates, none of whom particularly feel like training on a complex system.

In our competitive war for talent, the first impression is often the only contact you have with a job candidate. Make sure you’re sending the right signal with a thoughtful, effective reimbursement system for everyone who walks through your door.

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