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How to manage the hiring process remotely

In the wake of COVID-19 and the fact that many employers are now exercising ‘remote working’, it means that hiring processes are also being completed remotely.

Has your organisation planned and prepared for this shift in practice? Follow our top tips to ensure you continue to attract the right talent whilst hiring remotely.

Create a job advert that sells

Having a quality, well-written job advert is an incredibly important component of finding possible hires. You must always consider what will motivate the applicant to click the ‘apply here’ button. A job description should not only make the role stand out but should also be effective in communicating the function and responsibility of the role.

  • Start with an engaging introduction to sell the position.
  • Follow with a clear outline of the role responsibilities, written in a language that speaks directly to your ideal candidate.
  • Finally, ensure to tell your company story along with any employee perks available – now more than ever, candidates are searching for roles that offer non-monetary benefits.

Focus your sourcing strategy

Due to uncertainty created by COVID-19, sourcing quality candidates may become increasingly difficult. If a person has a full-time contract with their current employer, their willingness to change roles is likely to be  lowered as most candidates value job security. You should, therefore, take a proactive approach and close the loop on all open communication with your current active candidates. This will help build trust and candidates are more likely to remember you in the future.

Partnering with the right recruitment firm can bring a wealth of industry knowledge and market insight to your hiring process. A professional recruitment consultant will have established talent pools, and be able to access high quality, passive candidates who may be more selective or less willing to respond to traditional job adverts.

Finally, don’t forget that right now, people are staying at home on their computers. With cleverly targeted ads, you can get their attention. Robert Walters offer an online advertising strategy to promote your recruitment campaign across a variety of job boards, LinkedIn and the Robert Walters website. Advertisements can be co-branded as a more powerful attraction tool to leverage off both brands’ reach.

Screen and shortlist candidates appropriately

Screening is an essential procedure in any successful recruitment process and all candidates should be thoroughly screened to ascertain their suitability, interest level and alignment to your organisation’s core values.

In candidate-short markets and locations where the exact skill set required might not be readily on offer, a more nuanced screening process, based on hiring for potential, should be adopted. However, as more and more professionals potentially find themselves without work there is likely to be a significant increase in the number of applications you receive for each role you are advertising. In this instance, you may wish to use pioneering AI chatbot technology, which can rank applicants on their knowledge, skills and experience helping to identify the best applicants in the shortest time frames.

Utilise video interviewing tools

Even though employers are currently unable to complete interviews face-to-face, it doesn’t mean an interview can’t take place. Most companies have access digital tools to help with remote hiring, such as Skype and SparkHire, and can host interviews from the comfort of their own homes. Always provide login details to the candidate in advance and make sure you are familiar with the digital tools you are using to avoid any technical issues. To have a fluid conversion, which is even more important when an interview is being conducted via video, make the candidate feel as comfortable as possible. Finally, as well as selling your company benefits, describe your current remote working situation whilst being transparent about expectations from employees that are working remotely.

Keep candidates up to date

No candidate wants to feel like they’re being ignored by a potential employer or that their application has disappeared into a black hole, so communication is key throughout the hiring process. Although there are plenty of application tracking services available these days, keeping candidates well-informed doesn’t necessarily need to depend on the latest technology. Whilst some larger employers will prefer a branded candidate portal with real-time status data, for other companies, a simple call, email or text message with feedback, next steps and timeframes can work just as well.

Making the right hiring decision

Even though the interview is completed remotely, it should be structured in a way that leaves you feeling confident in which candidate is right for your organisation. Using the right tech in the right capacity before the interview (video profiles) will support this, but don’t be afraid to be creative and challenge the candidate so that you can truly understand how they think.

Don't keep candidates waiting

A common mistake made when recruiting new employees is to take too long to decide on the preferred candidate. In the current environment, employers should be reacting quickly to hiring and although it may depend on how many candidates are at the final interview stage, a decision should be made, and the successful candidate informed within two to four days. It’s important to move fast to avoid losing out on top talent and ensure your preferred candidate feels valued.  

Don’t underestimate the importance of remote onboarding

Once you have made the hire, don’t forget the importance of your onboarding process. Now more than ever, employers need to ensure a smooth transition for their hires and get them up and running in the job as quickly and effectively as possible. As much as possible, try to ensure your onboarding process is completed digitally (i.e. create and ask your hire to e-sign their contract via DocuSign). Share reading lists prior to your new employee start date so they feel educated and ready to start on day one. Finally, and most importantly, although this is likely to be a mostly digitised process, there is always an element of hand holding needed. Send a friendly welcome video prior to the start date, from a HR representative and/or their manager. Once the employee has started their role, schedule a welcome meeting (via tools such as Zoom or Skype) with their team members as well as with any mentors they may have. This will create a sense of familiarity and belonging from day one, which is incredibly important when not able to meet in person. Scheduling regular virtual meetings and providing ongoing support will be paramount to maximising the efficiency of your newest hire.

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