After businesses recovered from the initial shock of almost-cessation of business in 2020, remote working found its way across industries and segments, right from educational institutes to the big corporates.
Remote Hiring soon piggy-backed on remote working as companies realised they had to hire mission-critical talent. While virtual hiring was not a new concept, it took centre stage in 2020. Increased reliance on digital recruiting being the new norm, here’s how to hire smart and make virtual recruitment a breeze.
Why should you hire remotely?
In 2020, workforce planning and recruitment were impacted by new modes of working, shifting and merging of job roles, and the recruitment marketplace.
The coronavirus pandemic jumpstarted virtual hiring, as companies needed to provide a seamless and positive experience for the candidate. A Gartner HR Poll revealed that 86% of companies were using new technology to conduct virtual recruitment. According to Gartner, virtual interviewing may become the new standard for recruiting leaders and candidates, long after social distancing guidelines are lifted.
Talent acquisition – made easy virtually
The workforce is at the heart of the organisation, and while everything else may remain virtual, it’s important to remain connected with employees – both old and new.
Virtual recruitment is not just about conducting a video interview and sending an offer letter via email. Companies that offer a virtual hiring experience that is as close to the “real” hiring experience will be the ones that succeed in acquiring the best talent. Some strategies have shown immense success.
Be sensitive: The pandemic has put people under tremendous stress – financial, emotional or even health-related. All of these can impact the interview. So, do make an effort to put the candidate at ease. Be cheerful. It helps.
Spend adequate time: Rather than walking quickly through interviews, spend some time to understand each candidate. Conduct multiple interviews with different people to get a holistic impression. That will help you zero in on the most suitable candidate.
Document your hiring process: Make sure that everyone on the hiring team is up to speed and on the same page, and that questions are not repeated. A seamless and process-driven approach, despite multiple interviewers, will give the candidate a positive impression about the company.
Respect time and boundaries: Make sure that the interview process is to the point, targeted, starts on schedule, and adheres to the planned duration.
Have a remote onboarding process: A 90-day onboarding plan, and an onboarding buddy will help ease the transition. Share onboarding documentation with all managers.
Share company culture: Make the potential candidate aware of the company’s culture, work ethics, and even fun aspects. .
Close the hire: A quick closure will help in getting the candidate you want, and will minimise the risk of their looking elsewhere.
So, what does remote recruitment involve?
The increased use of virtual hiring platforms, due to companies being limited by mobility and social distancing norms, has resulted in the mushrooming of several typical processes.
Source potential candidates: This is often done via hackathons and virtual career job fairs.
Screen candidates using bots: Time-consuming tasks such as initial fitment, interview availability timings and other information are done by bots, optimising a recruiter’s time.
Online assessments: Hiring platforms provide different types of tests – psychometric, aptitude, tech and domain-related. The tests can be remote-proctored and fraud-proof. Many of the cutting-edge platforms are powered by AI, offering live and automated detection of suspicion and warnings while being highly reliable and requiring low bandwidth.
Video interviews: Virtual hiring platforms use AI to verify identity, thereby allowing video interviewing with no impersonation risks. The interviews can be interactive, via screen sharing and digitised whiteboards, and can be conducted even in low bandwidth scenarios.
Making an offer: The availability of data analytics enables data-driven hiring decisions, eliminating the possibility of unintended bias.
Digital Onboarding: Virtual recruitment platforms offer a smooth onboarding experience to new employees. A branded onboarding experience with documentation, and sharing company policies and procedures, eases the transition into a new work environment.
Hiring remotely – benefits and challenges
A virtual recruitment platform can help ease the process for both the hirer and the hiree.
Virtual hiring offers many obvious benefits to employers. Amongst these are:
Location-agnostic hiring: Companies can hire people from different regions and even countries, especially for tasks where employees need not be in the same time zone.
Diversity and inclusion: Organisations now have a wider and diverse candidate base, which translates into an opportunity to be more inclusive. Virtual career fairs have proven to be an effective means of recruiting from diverse groups such as women returning to a second career, veterans, and people with special needs. These virtual engagements can be advertised on your company’s career page and social media accounts to attract the right talent.
Employee retention and improved productivity: A virtual workforce means that employees have flexible hours. People can work from anywhere and this improves employee morale.
Cost and time savings: Recruiters and candidates no longer need to travel for interviews, resulting in significant savings for organisations.
While it’s great to have a diverse and remote workforce, virtual recruitment comes with challenges too. Some of these are:
Physical Infrastructure: The virtual recruitment process requires access to high-speed internet connectivity so that interviews can take place smoothly. Also, the recruitment team should ensure that people on the interview panel as well as the candidate have access to devices that have requisite audio and video capabilities. This will enable the recruitment process to proceed on schedule.
Communication: It is important for people in a hiring team to be on the same page. Clear communication within the team is essential for this. For interviews, video-based ones are preferable to ensure that non-verbal cues are not missed out. Two-way interactions are crucial for an accurate assessment, so the candidate should be actively engaged.
Transparency: To eliminate any confusion, each stage of the hiring process should be as transparent as possible. During the interviews, the candidate will draw conclusions about company culture and expectations.
Onboarding: Onboarding a new employee has its own challenges even in a real environment, and it becomes a tad more complex when done virtually. Tight documentation and processes are imperative to ensure that new joinees do not feel lost in the system.
2021 and beyond – Is remote recruitment here to stay?
It is most likely that virtual recruitment is here to stay. Investing in the right technology for a seamless remote hiring experience may become a necessity. Recruitment practices in 2021 and beyond will include automated processes for screening of candidates using AI-powered chatbots. Predictive analytics will help companies fine-tune recruitment operations.
CareerNet Consulting conducted a survey in June 2020 to gain insights into the hiring outlook in India. This involved over a 100 decision makers in Human Resources/Talent Acquisition. Here are some insights:
– 68% respondents said that they would recommend remote hiring to their peers and colleagues.
– 3 out of 4 employers felt they could effectively hire employees remotely, using remote assessments and video interviews.
– 9 out of 10 employers were already onboarding new employees remotely.
– 8 out of 10 organisations felt that they were ready to embrace virtual recruitment.
With the right virtual hiring platform, companies can make great strides in building a dependable, trustworthy and talented remote workforce.