POSTED Thursday 15-07-21
For Leaders: How to Run a Remote Recruitment Process
As the pandemic has forced more and more recruitment online, we’ve been faced with many unanticipated challenges and a need to adapt quickly. In the early days of COVID, job opportunities seemed to dry up entirely, meanwhile companies (including ourselves) spent all energy and resource dealing with this profoundly new and distressing situation. Fortunately, we at Aspen People have seen success in our new recruitment process, and as such we’d like to impart advice on the best ways to approach the challenges that come with virtual/remote recruitment.
Challenges: loss of accessibility and personal contact
The pandemic presented a series of challenges, including the fact that isolation meant less access to potential candidates. This is in part because of how busy organisations were (and still are) in dealing with the pandemic, but also due to the sudden shift to working from home. Unable to network, visit new organisations, or speak with new people directly, potential candidates were now totally isolated.
This was especially challenging because meeting a person face-to-face can be a gamechanger in how you perceive them. You get a more human sense of them through their eye contact, body language, gestures, and disposition. It’s much easier to build a rapport with someone in a face-to-face interview and ultimately test to see if they are culturally the right fit for the company. It’s unfortunately the case that many can lack confidence when it comes to IT, or they might simply be camera-shy; if that’s the case, you could be missing out on the perfect candidate just because of the unfortunate circumstance.
For the candidate too, they often benefit from seeing an organisation’s operations first-hand. They too get the sense of whether or not they are a good cultural fit for the company by seeing it in person, and may feel more anxious and in-the-dark if their informational access is almost entirely online.
Solution: consultative approach
As a consequence of these setbacks, we took a more consultative approach to candidates in order to help them navigate through the employment process. With fewer opportunities readily available to them, it was important to give them extra support through calls, emails, and sending extra information and guidance. While this was obviously more time-consuming than before, it was essential in this new context in which personal contact had to be kept to a minimum. Keeping spirits up was a key to our success, and the extra support was a great mechanism in which to do so.
Case study: constant communication, coaching, and feedback
Our approach provides an excellent case study for leaders looking to run a successful remote recruiting process. We took a number of supportive approaches: for instance, in order to get candidates accustomed to online interviews, we set up constant communication and coaching with them via Microsoft Teams and Zoom. We didn’t want their first encounter with these apps to be a formal interview, and so the frequency of calls beforehand helped candidates acclimatise to these virtual spaces. Very quickly they became comfortable with how to unmute, show video, use the chat, etc., as well as seeing themselves on screen. When it came time for formal interviews, our consultants would set up online interviews in advance and made sure everyone was ready and comfortable to proceed. This meant candidates and clients alike felt significantly more at ease with the new virtual interview process, and candidates could shine through despite the limitations of an online setting.
After the interview, we always provided feedback to the candidates to help them improve and develop their skills for potential future opportunities. The same was true for candidates undertaking virtual assessments, such as verbal or numeric reasoning or occupational personality questionnaires. We always guide them through the results and provide feedback so that they can continually improve, and feel more confident going forward. With support networks and resources becoming harder to access during the pandemic, this was especially crucial to our (and our candidates’) success.
Overall, Aspen has been able to meet the challenges of the pandemic by providing that extra support to clients and especially candidates. Leaders looking to improve their remote recruitment process must put in the time and effort in ensuring everyone’s confidence and comfort in this unprecedented moment in history. It is more effort, it is more time-consuming, but our own experience shows that these challenges are not insurmountable. We look forward to continuing to provide excellent services and guaranteeing bright futures for our candidates. Lastly, we hope this article was useful for leaders and organisations facing similar difficulties during this time.