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Remotely recruiting

Tue 11th Aug 20

As the business landscape continues to change, recruiting the right people into your business may not be top of the agenda. That said, as the requirements around opening up post lockdown continue to evolve, so do staffing requirements. People are moving and many businesses are finding the need to recruit from a socially acceptable distance, often via virtual means.

Here, Tim Ryan looks at some techniques to consider when recruiting via video conferencing...

For office based businesses in particular, video conferencing has become a widely-used tool, especially during lockdown, when home working has been a necessity. Tools such as Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams have become synonymous with business and they’ve served as a lifeline for managers meeting with their teams and businesses keeping in contact with customers and suppliers.

And whereas hiring a new employee without seeing them face to face – allowing us to check for a firm handshake, tidy presentation and good eye contact – would have previously been rare, now it’s becoming almost second nature, especially in the early stages of the process, with these same video conferencing tools being used to help recruit the right people to take our businesses forward.

Set up

  1. Plan your new process
    As we would have with face to face recruitment, putting a plan together with our management teams is imperative. We need to define who will lead the interview and how the team will work together, what information will be shared and in what format.

    We also need to consider what new steps the interviewee may need to complete beforehand – a digital presentation, pre-employment tests and the like.

    Review normal recruitment questions and check whether any alterations are needed to accommodate this new virtual process. It’s likely there will be. And it’s also likely that this will need to be refined over the course of the interview lifecycle. But be sure to be consistent with core questions with all candidates.

  2. Choose your technology
    As with our day to day video conferencing, the technology selected for remote recruiting is key. It’s a good idea to use the same systems that have been used throughout lockdown, to feel more at home with them.

    It’s important to have tested the tech and to be comfortable with the set up before conducting each interview. And we need to ensure our candidates know how to download any software required and how to log in beforehand, too, so that they aren’t unfairly flustered before they start.

    Holding a few tests with the internal team will help make sure you have all the details in place and that protocols, such as muting, screen sharing and chat functions, are all understood. A back-up plan is also needed for connection issues.

  3. Set up the interview space
    The whole interview panel will need to find a quiet, well-lit space for the online interview. Consider providing branding for them to have in the background, too.

    Again, test systems and equipment to help ensure the quality of the video and audio is sufficient. And make sure to mute phones and turn off all distractions in advance.

The interview process

  1. Give candidates good notice
    While, if also working from home, interviewees may have more availability to meet virtually than they would in more normal times, it’s still important to give them time to prepare. Give them clear information on the process, the equipment and preparations they’ll need to make and the requirements of them in plenty of time, too.

  2. Log in early and test systems
    We’ve all been in the ‘waiting room’ of a video conference and know that reading whether we’re in the right place at the right time is far less easy than turning up to an office or meeting space to see someone face to face.

    So, it’s important not to keep candidates hanging around. What’s more, if we’re already there, we can check whether the interviewee turns up on time, too.

    Being early will also allow time to test the systems and ensure everything is working. And to put a back-up plan in place and communicate it to the candidate in plenty of time if needed.

  3. Body language
    It’s much harder to read a room while we’re in an online meeting situation, and our body language can often be misleading as external factors that other attendees may not be aware of can affect how we hold and express ourselves. Evidence suggests that only 7% of what we communicate is via the spoken word. 38% is conveyed through the tone of our voices, and a massive 55% is non-verbal.

    Be aware of that for your own presentation, but also for assessing the candidates. Check out how they’re sitting, whether they’re giving good eye contact and their general facial expression.

  4. Dress for the occasion
    While working from home has probably meant a more casual dress code for all of us, we should make sure to be dressed appropriately for the recruitment process and for the expectations we’d have in the normal office environment.

    What we wear will convey how important we feel this interview is for our businesses and it will give the interviewee a feel for our business culture and expectations for their future. Make sure, too, that the interviewee has been given an idea of dress code in advance.

People management is always changing and interviewing virtually is a new challenge. The talent pool is out there…make sure to tap into it successfully!