Recruitment
5 minute read

How to rethink recruitment: Lessons from hiring remotely

The shift to remote recruiting can be tough for People teams.

Part of the problem is technological. Video conference calls are inherently stressful. People tend to talk over each other. You can run into technical glitches. You can risk overwhelming the candidate. Worse, too many video calls may exhaust your People team altogether – “Zoom fatigue” can throw you all off your game1.

But the tech isn’t the only problem. When you don’t meet candidates in person, it can be very hard to get a sense of their personality, body language, and physical presence. We depend on physical interaction far more than we realise - until we suddenly have to manage without it.

Compounding these issues is the fallout from the coronavirus lockdown. Businesses are confronting rapidly changing priorities and an uncertain future. As a result, it may be tough to know who you actually need to hire at this point, let alone how to hire them.

So yes, recruiting remotely can be challenging. But getting it right will not only benefit you now. The lessons you learn from remote hiring will set you up for a more cost-effective, inclusive and efficient recruitment strategy - even once you’re back in the office.

 

How to set yourself up for recruiting success in the “new normal” and beyond

To stand out from all the other companies suddenly switching to remote hiring, you need to take a deep breath – and throw out the old recruiting playbook. Not sure what to do instead?  Let’s take a look at some of the most common concerns.

 

Q. I’m looking to start hiring into my team again, but right now I don’t even really feel like I know what resources we need. How do I even start to define a job description when the markets are in chaos? 

A: When businesses are struggling to adjust to change, there can be a knee-jerk urge to hire someone to “fix” the problem. Unfortunately, all this does is to give you two problems instead of one. You’re still dealing with the chaos, but now you have a new employee on board who is desperately trying to figure out how they can possibly help.

Instead of hiring someone to solve problems, try to identify and articulate what the problem really is first. Once that’s done, you might find you can solve it with your existing team. Or you may find that you can automate it away altogether.

Even if you don’t have the people or the tools you need, starting to tackle the problem will tell you much more about its scope and shape. Feeling the pain before you hire means that you know exactly what it will take to get this job done right.

As a result, you have a specific candidate description in front of you before you start recruiting. And you can set clear metrics to make sure that your new hire knows exactly what they need to do from Day 1.

 

Q: If we want to help our customers and solve real problems, we know that our team has to represent them. But how can I encourage more applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply?

A: One of the best things about remote recruiting is that you can fling your net much wider. Suddenly, your talent pool can include people from anywhere in the world, and from any background.

But even if you’re planning to return to the office and need to hire locally, now is the ideal time to take an in-depth look at how you’re approaching diversity and inclusivity and have a more proactive strategy for the long-term.

To build a talent pipeline of representative, diverse candidates:

  • Advertise on diverse and inclusive job boards and platforms. Examples include the Diversity Job Board, Evenbreak, and Empowered Age.
  • Make your policy on diversity and inclusivity public. Share it in all your job postings to make sure people realise it’s a priority for your business.
  • Keep your job descriptions gender neutral by avoiding words that hold underlying gender coding. You can use a gender decoder tool to check that your job ad won’t put off half your potential applicants.

 

Q: In the past we used to invite candidates in for a face-to-face conversation. I’m not sure how best to interview them now. What’s best practice?

A: Instead of trying to handle remote interviews with video conferencing software, use asynchronous technology to run a seamless recruitment process:

  • Send candidates a pre-recorded video introducing yourself and your company.
  • Ask candidates to provide a video responding to specific interview questions.
  • Set candidates tasks with a specific time limit. For instance, they could write a short code using your usual tech stack – or for non-coders, a mock exercise in HubSpot – and return it within 1 hour.
  • Share a calendar link, like Calendy, with candidates so they can choose their own time slot for tests and calls. It will save back and forth on email trying to schedule a time that suits you both.
  • Make a minimal candidate shortlist for real-time video interviews. Keep these interviews brief and focused on cultural and value fit. As much as possible, video interviews should be one-to-ones.

Asynchronous interviewing has many advantages. Your team can more easily build candidate screening into their day-to-day workflow. Interviewing can become far less time-consuming. You can go back and review your first impressions without conducting a second screening interview. Using multiple asynchronous stages means that senior staff don’t need to get involved until the final short-list.

 

Q. I’m concerned about effectively onboarding new hires without meeting them in person. How do we handle induction from a distance?

A: Onboarding remotely requires you to abandon one-size-fits-all induction programs for new hires. You need to make sure that each individual has the tools and training available to self-serve their own induction.

Again, technology is a vital part of remote onboarding:

  • At Learn Amp, we set up dynamic pathways on our platform for each employee, with milestones and quizzes to ensure they receive all the information they need at their own pace.
  • We also use our performance management tools to set up regular digital check-ins and one-to-one meetings for our new hire and their manager. Frequent, structured check-ins promote open and honest dialogue as well as providing space for the new hire to give and receive timely feedback on how things are going.
  • A project management tool can also be used both as a checklist for the new joiner to work through and to automatically nudge hiring managers and team members to book in check-ins.

Getting remote hiring right can require you to rethink your recruitment process from the ground up. But there’s good news too. The changes you make today will deliver transformative results for your People team, your talent pipeline, and your bottom line, for years to come.

To find out more about how Learn Amp helps companies to provide an exceptional remote employee experience, request a free demo.

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References:

  1. National Geographic, “Zoom fatigue is taxing the brain,” 2020