Remote recruitment on the rise in the time of COVID-19

Sudhanshu Ahuja

August 8, 2020

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we know it. Who would have thought that the world would come to a grinding halt like this? As we grapple with staying within the confines of our homes, enterprises are at a crossroads. Although organizations have been working on disaster management for years, an emergency of this scale was unthinkable. Whilst HR teams lead change from the forefront, they continue to grapple with issues spanning new policies, remote recruitment, and change management.

The current scenario poses an extraordinary challenge for organizations and leaders. Apart from maintaining business continuity, they also have to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their employees. Most organizations do not have the necessary infrastructure to support work-from-home capabilities at such a large scale. They are going back to the board to prepare for the uncertain future that is staring at us.

However, challenging situations like this lead to innovative approaches. This is the time to devise and flesh out new ways of working. Organizations will seek to enhance their technological capabilities to optimize business performance.

As all business functions reel under the impact of Covid-19, recruitment is not immune as well. In fact, it is one of the areas that will witness a significant change. As interviews have traditionally happened face-to-face, recruitment leaders will now have to start seeking alternate approaches including remote and digital hiring.

One may argue that this difficult period may see a reduction in the number of hires being made. While it may be right for some businesses, several sectors like retail, healthcare, and non-profit will experience a spike in their hiring volume. In the near future, hiring demand across industries like communications, online learning, logistics, transport, and delivery services could be so high and variable that it may become difficult to manage without technology.

With recruiters and hiring managers looking to work from home, organizations will need better capabilities and collaboration tools to be resilient and continue business as usual. The current situation also calls for higher automation and digital operations. In this article, let’s look at how recruitment teams can gear themselves for remote recruitment.

  • What is remote recruitment?

    Remote recruitment is a practice in which recruiters screen and interview job, applicants, without having to come face-to-face with them (mostly).

    Remote recruitment, in this context, should not be confused with recruiting remote employees. As the name suggests, remote employees do not work from a dedicated office location and generally are not hired on the payroll of the employer.

  • What are some best practices for remote recruitment?

    1. Structured and comprehensive screening

    As the hiring process goes digital, organizations need to be more stringent with their screening process. Technology, enabled by AI, can offer outcome-oriented results in this scenario.

    Recruitment chatbots powered by AI technology can help in more ways than one.

    Firstly, these chatbots can evaluate the candidates and ask relevant questions based on the role outlined in the job posting. Customizable chatbots allow the recruiters to feed different sets of questions for different jobs. They can help proactively create a pipeline of candidates for different roles to ensure recruiters and hiring managers do not lose out on valuable talent and operational time.

    Secondly, with smart intelligence, these chatbots can score the candidates after evaluating them. Instead of going through individual responses, recruiters can only look at the final scores to progress candidates to the next level of the hiring process.

    Lastly, chatbots are less prone to errors and help in reducing unconscious bias during the hiring process. It becomes a challenge for the organizations to hire quality candidates if the recruiter or line manager has certain preferences or biases. With algorithms evaluating and screening applicants, hiring managers can be assured of receiving better quality shortlists.

    2. Engagement with the candidates

    Engaging prospective candidates has always been a challenge for organizations. Often recruiters are buried under the operational work and find little time for this cause. In the current scenario, when they will not be able to meet face to face, establishing that connection and remote visibility will become all the more challenging.

    AI-powered recruitment chatbots can once again resolve this situation. Conversational AI is specifically built to hold meaningful discussions and imitate human interactions. By using such tools, organizations can engage candidates from the first instance of their contact. The chatbots can be programmed to answer candidate queries so that they can get easy access to all kinds of information. Besides, chatbots can also update them about their application status and close the loop.

    Chatbots can provide all these features and make remote recruitment a smooth and streamlined process.

    3. Regular communication

    As teams start working in distributed locations, it can be tough to establish good team dynamics. To resolve this and to be in constant touch, teams should come together at least once a week. Teams can make use of any of the several collaboration tools, available today, to stay in touch. Such a platform will allow the team members to share their challenges, and updates and keep track of new developments. Apart from conferencing tools, these tools help with project management and tracking activities.

    As crucial as it is to equip the recruitment teams and hiring managers for this change, it is equally essential to prepare the candidates. It is an equally new experience for them as well. It may help to prepare documents or videos for remote interview etiquettes and do’s and don’ts.

    4. Video interviews

    Conventional face-to-face interviews can be replaced with video interviews. While the recruiters may choose to hold individual interviews for niche positions, it may not be possible for high-volume recruitment. In such cases, automated video interviews may be the right solution.

    These are again intelligent tools that can be programmed with interview questions. They offer flexibility to the candidates as they can choose the time and location of their interviews. Some of these advanced tools can evaluate candidates’ body language apart from the answers to filter the qualified candidates.

    impress,ai platform allows easy integration with these video interviewing tools. Moreover, it can give scores to the candidates and rank them on their performance. The recruiters can review the scores and promote the qualified candidates to the next stage.

    For all the later stages, the interviewers can hold telephonic or video rounds, as they deem fit. They may want to create a staggered panel to remove any kinds of doubts from the hiring process. For instance, if a recruiter is unsure about a candidate, there should be a mechanism to get a higher authority into the hiring process. It will further tighten and streamline remote recruitment while ensuring the quality of candidates.

    5. Analytics

    As the world is stepping into a zone that has not been chartered before, data has the power of unleashing new information and aiding decision-making. Analytics tools will furnish insights to identify roles that qualify for dynamic and virtual working or require workplace adjustments to that teams and hires can quickly transition to this new style of working.

    From identifying the best sources of sourcing candidates to enhancing the recruitment metrics, data will enable you to arrive at the right answers and controls.

    6. Remote Onboarding

    In what may seem like one of the toughest challenges of remote hiring, onboarding may take some time and lots of effort to turn around.

    When employees join a new workplace, they learn the ways of working through their colleagues and pick up cues or norm practices from the workplace environment.

    However, in the current situation, when most of the workforce has a virtual presence, new employees need self-learning tools and resources. There is a need to document every process for providing easy access to new employees. Online presentations and internal systems training can also help new employees to self-start their work.

    Frequent and regular meetings with their line manager and colleagues can further help the new employee to settle more comfortably.

    The onboarding process can also move from a standard process to a reaction-based or need-based process. In simple terms, it allows the new employee to take charge of the onboarding process. Of course, it comes with providing the essentials like a laptop, accounts, and access. As the employee learns, there should be a query system to ask and get answers to all the questions along the way.

  • Conclusion

    Amidst the advisories of staying home and staying safe, the business needs to continue as usual; albeit from remote locations. In the current scenario, as remote working becomes a reality at scale, many organizations will have to change the fundamentals of working. It will begin with changing mindsets, speed up digital readiness, and will culminate with running businesses in the virtual and digital world.

    The world of recruitment will also see a new wave of remote hiring as organizations will continue adding to their workforces.

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