I recently found an interesting Forbes article by Marilyn Tyfting of Telus International. The piece offers some best practices related to hiring in the time of COVID-19 you might find useful. While no one in Talent Acquisition views the past six months as a positive experience, there are some silver linings and learnings if you look for them.
As noted in the article, an expanded “work from home” setting created a massive expansion in potential candidate pools. For example, no longer do companies based in tech hotspots like Silicon Valley have to rely on poaching from neighboring companies or relocating talent from outside of the region, which is challenging considering cost-of-living differentials. In this new remote working environment, the whole of North America, and perhaps beyond, now becomes a pipeline of potential candidates.
The article’s discussion around virtual hiring is particularly timely for the work we do at Personify. “Virtual” is rapidly becoming a new norm in recruiting. When the pandemic hit, Personify quickly pivoted to deliver a virtual recruitment experience. In conjunction with many of our clients, we now source, screen, interview, offer, and onboard new employees often without ever conducting an in-person meeting.
Since the pandemic struck, we have been conducting virtual career fairs, have arranged over 2,000 virtual interviews, and onboarded nearly 1,000 new hires virtually. Personify is fortunate to partner with numerous clients hiring at higher than normal rates during the pandemic. Due to our virtual recruitment and onboarding process, in many cases hiring is being done faster and more efficiently than ever before. No doubt, these practices will continue long after COVID is under control.
See Forbes’ article “The ‘New Normal’ Of Recruitment” below.
The ‘New Normal’ of Recruitment
Although the current state of business could be described as unusual, critical day-to-day operations must continue as usual for the sake of business continuity, and that includes recruitment. With shelter-in-place orders still in place across some regions, looming uncertainty about a possible second wave of Covid-19 and an uncertain timeline for vaccine availability, companies are wondering how to effectively find, interview, assess and create a connection with job candidates in an expanded virtual labor market as we settle into the new normal.
Previously, an overhaul to long-standing HR practices and processes would have felt prohibitively complex, but in a Covid-19 world and economy, many companies have quickly shifted and adapted to a remote workforce and are discovering the benefits of this approach. Namely, their talent pools have expanded exponentially.
Once upon a time (a few months ago!), the majority of search parameters for talent were regional, or national at most. Today, because of the prevalence of virtual work models, companies can post positions that are location-agnostic, literally opening up a new world of qualified applicants. And this works both ways. Candidates seeking work who previously overlooked firms that were unwilling or unable to accommodate remote work are now also throwing their proverbial hats in the ring.
With the technology available today, including cloud platforms, AI-powered analytics and automation, online recruitment may become and remain the preferred approach, even when many of us return to the office. But how can companies make the transition from an in-person to a virtual talent acquisition process while ensuring that the candidates hired are verifiable, qualified and a great fit with your company’s culture? This will mean adopting a number of best practices designed to address some unique challenges.
Streamline Virtual Recruitment For A More Effective Hiring Process
The benefits of enabling employees to work from home aren’t limited to your employees. By sourcing talent at virtual job fairs and on social media and advertising new roles as remote positions, companies stand to find more qualified candidates. As noted in an article published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), recruiting outside of the local talent pool can provide access to higher-quality candidates. This approach also stands to help organizations establish a more diverse workforce, according to a recent MarketWatch report. And, I believe that to truly find success, diversity and inclusion are paramount, and a workforce must mirror the customers they serve and be equally diverse in nature.
So what does the online hiring process look like? With virtual interviews, hiring managers and candidates can still connect on a personal level, but have the added perk of recording the conversation so those unable to attend also have the opportunity to share their feedback. With the help of AI and machine learning, data captured and analyzed from online applications and background checks can also help companies further optimize their recruitment capabilities.
At TELUS International, we’ve successfully streamlined our remote recruitment process to take 125 minutes from online application to new hire training. This sort of streamlining creates an effortless candidate experience that helps to extend “customer first” branding into the very first employee touchpoint, ensuring a robust and ready pipeline of global candidates suitable to meet the organization’s evolving talent needs.
Data Privacy In Recruitment
As a virtual recruitment approach becomes increasingly common, questions regarding privacy and data ethics will undoubtedly follow suit. Employers must be aware of all privacy laws in their jurisdiction and ensure that they’re compliant and transparent with prospective candidates about how their data will be used and shared.
Companies should also be mindful of privacy and security concerns when virtually onboarding candidates, but they must also consider their own risks. For instance, how can a candidate prove they are who they say they are?
Organizations must verify a candidate’s identity to make sure they’re always dealing with the same person — not just during the recruitment process, but also when that individual attends training sessions and starts their first day of work. One solution is to use biometric technology, like face or voice ID, for verification purposes. Keep in mind, however, that biometrics have high compliance thresholds and companies must stay on top of all region-specific legislation to ensure their compliance.
Onboarding And Learning
Once a candidate has been hired remotely, they must also be onboarded, trained and kept engaged and supported. In this respect, companies must find ways to translate their existing employee engagement model for success in a virtual world.
Fortunately, digital media lends itself well to these types of engagements. Coaching, focus groups, coffee chats and one-on-one meetings can be done online. To facilitate ongoing communication, establish dedicated communication channels like chat and online video platforms. Internal social media tools can promote engagement by inviting employees to share photos of their pets and activities they may participate in to establish deeper and more personal connections with colleagues.
Finally, make a point of finding ways to provide volunteer opportunities and share diversity initiatives. A strong corporate culture inspires and engages existing employees and can also help attract new candidates. Although they may not be the sole reason a candidate chooses to apply, these types of activities are often the reason why many team members choose to stay. Just recently, our team in the Philippines generated over 500 recruitment leads based on the promotion of our Pride activities and celebrations.
The Future Of Recruitment Operations
Without a doubt, recruitment today looks different than it did a few months ago. But it’s an evolution that promises to be advantageous and that is already seeing widespread success as companies are accessing new pools of top talent that will propel their businesses forward.
With an established security framework in place, candidate-centric processes in place, next-gen technology at the ready and your company’s best ambassadors leading your efforts, your company will be well-prepared for whatever the future brings.
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