In pre-pandemic times, recruitment mostly happened in the in-person mode. Hiring managers and talent acquisition (TA) teams preferred to meet prospects physically even though remote recruitment options were available. Most stakeholders felt uncomfortable adopting tech-enabled solutions to make hiring decisions.This outlook underwent a drastic change when the pandemic set in. There was no option but to adopt technology to ensure business continuity through remote hiring.
Remote recruitment tools and platforms were already quite advanced when the pandemic hit; widespread adoption helped to understand the challenges and streamline processes. As per the findings from a market study by HirePro, titled e-Recruitment — The New Normal of Recruitment, Physical to Phygital, which was conducted to understand recruitment modes before, during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, during the two years of the pandemic, the tables turned to such an extent that almost 90 per cent of organisations opted for remote recruitment.
When TA stakeholders experienced the benefits of remote recruitment in real time, mindsets changed and acceptance grew. As a result, recruitment did not revert to its pre-pandemic fully physical mode in the post-pandemic normalcy. 85 to 90 per cent of organisations continued remote recruitment in some form for hiring across all levels. Physical recruitment existed only in campus recruitment, that too only in about one-fourth of the total number of organisations hiring. Recruitment has now evolved into a hybrid mode; it is mostly remote. Physical recruitment comes into play when there is a need. No stakeholder foresees a return to the previous cent per cent physical mode.
This scenario has resulted from the changed priorities of organisations and job seekers. Organisations understood the need to build resilience in their hiring processes and the multiple benefits of remote recruitment. There was an increased preference for remote work among the workforce in post-pandemic scenario. Some other trends, like the rise of the gig economy, the need to create a more diverse, inclusive global workforce, etc., added to the evolution of the TA industry.
This blog brings out relevant data points from the study report, highlighting the benefits, challenges and future of remote recruitment. Let’s first look at the various benefits that remote recruitment offers.
- Cost and time savings: Remote recruitment eliminates the need for travel for both candidates and recruiters. Even though a few organisations preferred the in-person mode for the final interview and onboarding of new hires, many opted for fully remote recruitment. What prompted this change?
Organisations are citing time and cost savings across all levels as the topmost benefit. The remote recruitment mode offers flexibility and convenience that help complete the process faster; this effectively brings a reduction in travel and logistics costs. In campus recruitment, organisations found that remote hiring helped them achieve speed with scale, making the exercise cost-effective. When cost-cutting measures across functions take precedence against the backdrop of a potential global slowdown, this is a huge plus.
- Efficiency in processes: AI-powered tools can augment or even fully automate the initial screening process and help avoid chaos and delays in scheduling. Online assessment tools streamline the evaluation process across tech and non-tech competencies to identify apt fitments. The results are instantaneous, transparent and unbiased. You can conduct live, interactive interviews using interview platforms anytime, anywhere. Interview outsourcing partnerships add agility to the hiring process. It also provides third-party objectivity, ensuring you find top talent fair and square.
You can make onboarding new hires a memorable experience with the right tech tools.
Organisations voted process efficiency as the second topmost benefit of remote recruitment because they saw the positive effect on hiring efficiency.
3. Access to a large talent pool: Before the advent of remote recruitment, TA had physical limitations. When hiring went remote, it opened up possibilities to include people across geographies. It also meant that people with physical or other limitations could compete for an equal opportunity. Organisations realised the power of gaining access to such hitherto untapped, diverse talent pools, which led to the creation of inclusive workplaces. Organisations managed scale efficiently in campus recruitment, without compromising quality, because of the remote mode. This point was ranked the third topmost benefit in the HirePro study.
- Elevated hiring experiences: All the above benefits automatically translate to one compelling outcome, namely, elevated hiring experiences. Candidates prefer smooth, fast and transparent recruitment processes, and remote recruitment enables that. It removes the chaos and delays in scheduling, lends objectivity to assessments and smoothens the interview process. Happy candidates enhance your branding and bring about changed perspectives in a highly digitised world.
So, is remote recruitment all hunky dory without any challenges? As with the offline recruitment mode, remote recruitment also has its fair share of challenges.
- Instances of malpractices: Interestingly, the biggest challenge in remote recruitment that most organisations pointed to was candidates indulging in malpractices. This concern is not misplaced. An earlier analysis of assessment data by HirePro found that nearly 50 per cent of candidates cheat during online job assessments. More importantly, this analysis also revealed that cheating went undetected unless online proctoring was multi-pronged.
- Lack of human connect: Without a doubt, remote recruitment removes the human touch from the hiring process. The HirePro study found this aspect ranked second among the challenges. While remote recruitment can elevate hiring experiences, the human connect adds an invaluable quality that is irreplaceable. This impact is felt most during the onboarding process, when the new employee has to understand the organisational culture and get familiar with team members. It’s tough to replicate the warmth of a human touch when onboarding in the remote mode.
- Ignoring specialised hiring solutions: The pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote recruitment. However, many hiring managers and TA teams did not adopt specialised remote hiring solutions that ease the process. As a result, the challenges compounded. Organisations have ranked this aspect third among the challenges they face.
How can organisations leverage the benefits and overcome the challenges of remote recruiting? This thought process led to the now popular hybrid recruitment mode, which is a combination of the digital and physical mode. We call this the phygital mode. The HirePro study found that around 70 per cent of organisations will continue remote recruitment, partially or fully. Around 30 to 40 per cent of employers anticipate some form of physical hiring in campus and senior-level recruitment.
Hybrid will not just be limited to work; it is the future of hiring too. What strategies can organisations adopt to ensure success in the hybrid mode?
Leverage the power of AI: Organisations must upgrade their infrastructure to support advanced tools and overcome the challenges of limited adoption of specialised tools. Use cutting-edge AI-powered tools across all stages—from screening to onboarding. These include interactive interview platforms, customisable talent assessment tools, job-specific tests, recruitment gamification, etc. These tools improve the efficiency of remote recruitment. However, to curb malpractices, adopting robust tools like the end-to-end HirePro platform with multi-pronged remote proctoring is strongly recommended. This will control undetected cheating to a significant extent.
Hybrid hiring can thus help address the issues of malpractice and lack of human connect. For instance, a final in-person interview for specific roles can help ascertain a candidate’s authenticity and also facilitate maintaining hiring integrity. Besides, advanced hiring platforms provide multiple AI-driven insights that aid hiring decisions.
Explore outsourced recruitment partnerships: Outsourcing hiring can provide multiple benefits to organisations. However, apply careful wisdom when selecting a partner who can help you leverage the benefits of tools, technology and expertise, coupled with services like interview outsourcing. With such partnerships, you get the added benefit of assured compliance and risk management.
Make virtual onboarding a focus: Virtual onboarding experiences can be elevated through little surprises such as providing welcome kits that contain the company’s branded merchandise, creating a buddy system to hand-hold the new hire through the first couple of weeks, creating virtual hangouts, etc.
Expectation management is another aspect of virtual onboarding. Hiring managers and TA teams must constantly engage with the new hires to set expectations and give them the right inputs about organisational vision, growth opportunities and career paths.
Hybrid or phygital recruitment is a reality. It strengthens the TA ecosystem and eliminates many challenges.
To achieve this, strategy matters. “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first four hours sharpening the axe,” said Abraham Lincoln. It appears that the recruitment industry now has the opportunity to sharpen its axe to streamline the hybrid mode of recruitment and ensure that the right talent always finds the right opportunity and vice versa.