The pandemic has proven challenging for recruiters as many companies stopped hiring overnight and redundancies and the furlough scheme flooded the market with candidates.
The impact has been significant on the world of recruitment. Many companies began to hire virtually and were faced with onboarding a new remote workforce for the first time.
Before the pandemic, the default for interviews was in-person, which potentially led to a degree of unconscious bias in the process, as it was easier to create a connection or affiliation with these candidates.
Those with caregiving responsibilities or who lived further away may have been negatively impacted as they were unable to be flexible with their availability, for example.
However, with the shift to 100% virtual recruitment, all candidates are now able to enter the process on an even footing — helping to champion diversity and open the doors to those who may have previously been overlooked.
By recruiting individuals from a range of backgrounds across all levels of seniority, businesses have gained access to a wide variety of viewpoints and perspectives. In fact, research has shown that companies with a more diverse range of staff outperform firms with a less diverse workforce.
At Perlego, we have hired over 30 people during the pandemic, and have a diverse range of employees with over 25 nationalities in the team. We’ve decided to continue our virtual recruitment program even after our partial return to the office. Currently, we have nearly 70 employees, with ambitious plans to reach a headcount of 109 by the end of the year. So, how can other companies do the same?
COVID-19 has made the job market extremely competitive and without a talent acquisition strategy in place, recruiters and HR professionals can fall into the costly trap of hiring the wrong candidate. As some head back to the office, companies need to have the right strategy in place to avoid making these mistakes.
Companies will need to attract the right talent for the hybrid workforce, so getting to know the candidates when they first apply will help address where, and if, they’re aligned. Asking the right questions upfront in an application is essential and makes these conversations a lot more effective.
We aim to do this by sharing guides and blog articles as early in the process as possible to make this easier for candidates. It’s important to remember that everyone is in this together, the candidate is hoping to join an exciting company and the recruiter is hoping to find a great colleague!
Candidate tracking and recruitment software, like Workable, make implementing a solid talent acquisition strategy attainable by providing a single source of truth and provides a self-service portal for all of the stakeholders involved, whilst simultaneously saving the talent team time.
We also use hiring platforms like Cord.co and Otta.com to help us get in front of the best tech talent. Sites like these help recruiters expand their talent pool, helping to increase diversity and get that all-important facetime with their applicants.
Recruiting in the hybrid environment
As we head towards a blended approach of office and home-based working, businesses will need to refine their virtual processes and get used to using new technologies, making sure they continue to look for ways to add human touches back into their systems wherever possible.
Companies will also have to decide for themselves when it is right to use virtual or in-person interviews, and consider how they will optimize the candidate experience in-person while continuing to leverage the speed and efficiency of virtual.
For us, we have decided to commit to 100% virtual recruitment, so that all employees start on the same level playing field. Using virtual recruitment will enable companies to diversify their workforce. It will also lead to other benefits, such as saving time and money, enhancing workplace culture and wellbeing, and increasing productivity.
Virtual recruitment will also enable firms to connect with potential workers early on, and meet the best candidates before they enter the competitive marketplace. Virtual careers fairs give companies the opportunity to hire the best graduates and placement students, helping to form invaluable relationships resulting in long-term employment and success for the future.
Onboarding new recruits effectively
Onboarding is now more important than ever before, as it will contribute to the initial impression a new team member has about your business and culture. Therefore, Talent & HR teams should commit a significant amount of time, thought, and resources to their onboarding practices.
One-on-one meetings with the management teams, dedicated purely to getting to know each other, are a great way to develop effective communications between senior management and the wider team. As companies grow, it’s really important to maintain these connections, and it’s a great way for people to build relationships in those important first few weeks.
To help new recruits get to know the wider teams, we have used tools like Donut, to connect employees at random and arrange virtual coffee catch-ups. Tech like this will help to create those ‘serendipitous’ water cooler moments and onboard new employees seamlessly — whether that’s in or out of the office.
The new hybrid model of working will make the social element of onboarding harder. Before the pandemic, teams were able to have lunch together, catch up on each other’s weekends and go through the plans for the week. Careful thought will be needed to build the same level of social engagement for both in and out of the office.
There is a fine balance to find with virtual meetups, too many will cause Zoom fatigue, while having too few will lead to a sense of disconnect. Having a dedicated social committee will help ensure everyone has a good balance of social activities, and also allow new employees opportunities to get involved. Our social committee has created a calendar of events, with a range of small get-togethers to more organized monthly socials, to help everyone keep up to date with what is going on.
As we head to a new ‘normal’ companies should adopt virtual recruiting technologies and shift their talent attraction efforts to remote candidates, helping to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.
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Talent Lead at Perlego
Having successfully closed our Series A round and the continued success of Perlego, I lead the full end-to-end recruitment process across all seniorities and departments growth, retention and all things talent.