How Do You Overcome The Obvious Challenges of Digital Recruitment?
It is now becoming clearer that the Coronavirus has brought about radical, long-lasting changes in the way we conduct business. It has got us to jump out of our comfort zones and think about what the world is going to look like once the dust settles. While the near future is looking very tough, it is pretty obvious that you may be hiring very less. However, as soon as the market shows signs of picking up, you will have to ramp up your digital recruitment as good talent is a core ingredient for company growth.
In all this uncertainty, one thing is certain; finding qualified, relevant and responsive candidates has become a frustrating, time-consuming and an uphill battle. Yes, the job market will soon be on the uptick, and this will be good news to rebuild businesses. But unless the HR team gets a handle on how to move forward, things can get overwhelming.
In the pre-COVID world, the HR team would assess the suitability of CV, and follow up with a telephonic assessment, after which the candidate will have to come for a face to face interaction. This has currently been replaced by virtual interviews where the candidate may even have the final round of interview through a video call.
For example, a large US-based bank hired people for junior operational roles typically through a written test. During the lockdown, they had to do this differently so they broke it down into a part assessment over the telephone, and partly through video interviews.
The process of hiring during these times have raised so many questions and doubts. Here are some of the top challenges of digital recruitment that our clients are bringing up of late. Also here you will find some solutions we offered to them which you too could focus on during each stage of the recruitment process.
1. Heighten complexity in candidate shortlisting.
In the recruitment process, candidate sourcing was always digital, and having the initial interest check conversation was always telephonic. One of the current challenges has been a huge influx of applicants. With job losses, this is almost doubt or three times the earlier pool of applicants. Narrowing the pool of resumes can be overwhelming. This calls for tightening of the candidate shortlisting process.
The foremost way to manage a large pool you could ensure that all applications are submitted on specific email id if that is not the case currently.
Secondly, create a mandatory online questionnaire to be filled in by all candidates. This questionnaire can be designed such that it checks key requirements for the role. That way only you will have information beyond the CV of the candidates and only the serious ones will take the trouble to submit answers. The basic fitment check will also get automated to some extent.
Thirdly, recruiters have to create more accurate job description (JD) which includes key result areas. In my experience, the more detailed the JD is the better are the chances of receiving highly relevant applications.
Lastly, the possibility of a face-to-face interview may be next to impossible. Support and encourage hiring managers in making this cultural change and accept the idea of a digital interview as even the onboarding process may have to be done virtually.
2. Leveraging technology effectively to look beyond the resume.
Sometimes a candidate may be excellent but just not comfortable with doing things virtually due to various reasons. Maybe the technology is too new, maybe the person is camera shy, maybe getting on a video call from their residence is overwhelming, the reasons could be many.
It is important to factor this in while hiring, and make sure they are not overlooked in the hiring process; especially in the COVID times. This means bringing about changes in the interview process, the interview format & questions.
A good way to do this would be to extend the video interviewing to two-three rounds to get a 360-degree assessment. It is also important to have longer video interviews. Changing the interviewing style from strictly formal to slightly informal for at least one of the interview rounds might also give you different insights into the personality and better assessment of the candidate. Including situational questions early in the interview will aid in making accurate skill and cultural fit assessments, ensuring only the best candidates are hired into the company.
As opposed to the traditional recruitment process, conducting background checks with previous supervisors at the early stages of selection will also help you firm up your assessment about the candidate.
3. Preparing to hire remote/flexible team members.
As we have discussed in our previous articles, flexible work options are more and more preferred by a large majority of individuals. Also choosing to hire remote employees might be the ideal cost optimisation strategy for certain businesses. So it does seem like a possible way forward. However, organisations continue to face productivity and performance management challenges.
Two aspects to consider when preparing to hire remote employees – One – as a company you should be ready to be outcome-oriented rather than process-oriented. Two – it is imperative to now assess candidates’ ability to work remotely.
For that, you may want to decide whether having previous experience working remotely is a necessity. For example, if occasional remote work is more of a perk, you probably don’t need someone who’s been based out of their home office for years. But if you’re building a remote team from scratch, hiring people with remote experience first may be a good idea. Whether they have prior experience or not you should include tests or interview questions that allow you to gauge at the use of applications that will make remote working easier like video conferencing, chat, project management, online whiteboard, etc.
That is on the functional side. As for work operations, it might be a good idea to have a task or assignment or project that needs to be delivered remotely as part of the digital recruitment process; irrespective of seniority. Why? Because even the best of the best are facing tough challenges to manage work and/or teams remotely.
4. Assessing the cultural fit virtually.
Culture is such an intangible yet palpable element of any workplace, in many organisations there may not be a consolidated effort towards actually defining it either. Nonetheless, organisation culture exists and broadly speaking, company culture includes factors such as the work environment, organisational values, and business goals, as well as a focus on ethics, people management, and employer-employee expectations. And most likely in the current COVID scenario it is once again evolving.
When you interact with a candidate in person, it allows you to gauge at several personality aspects through body language, facial cues, gestures, how they carry themselves, how they dress, etc. So how do you do this virtually?
At the very beginning, it is critical that you provide a solid baseline on which to build your cultural fit assessment tool .i.e. define your company culture. Even if it means just 100 words. Secondly, invest time in developing a tool that should cover cross-departmental checklists and a pre-selection funnel that should be company culture-specific, including personality traits, psychometric indicators, behavioural guidelines, and interview questions, all of which should be aligned to a company’s culture. Questions during a cultural fit assessment interview could be slightly creative, asking the candidate to respond to various hypothetical workplace scenarios and focusing on hands-on experience of the candidate. This tool will go a long way in ensuring the right candidate is selected and you don’t have to deal with early exits.
5. Virtual onboarding.
An effective onboarding process boosts productivity, engagement, and retention. How do you make an employee feel welcome in the absence of office tours, meet-and-greets, and team engagement? This is the biggest challenge of recruiting digitally.
It helps to spread out the onboarding process over several days, including online sessions every day from the orientation that covers the company culture, values, and products, to online team engagement events (like cosplay or other virtual games). You should also have orientation talks with various team members, important team leaders and colleagues. Assign them a mentor, and have virtual check-ins regularly with them and the people they work with. These are some of the ways to familiarise someone with your company digitally.
Ultimately dealing with uncertainty and unpredictability over time and outcome is going to be the ongoing challenges here. Testing out more parameters, keeping the learning curve on the upswing, regularly relying on feedback, ensuring flexibility on both the hiring and employee ends, leaving more room for negotiation, and following an advisory approach rather than ticking off the boxes will be effective in helping you and your company alter the digital recruitment process.
At Yellow Spark, we can help you update and upgrade your hiring policies and processes. To know more please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Profile: Aparna Joshi Khandwala is a passionate HR professional. She co-founded Yellow Spark to work with like-minded people who believe in the power of leadership, which is the only business differentiator in today’s time.