How can leaders resolve recruitment challenges during COVID-19?

tips for leaders to resolve recruitment challenges.

If there is one thing that the current pandemic of COVID-19 has taught us, it is that the show must go on. The world is following social distancing, implementing lockdowns and restricting travel. In this scenario, organisations are finding new ways to carry their operations as usual. This situation has brought several recruiter challenges to the already high-pressure job of recruitment. Hiring has traditionally been a high-human-interaction job and thrives on face-to-face conversations. 

Due to the impact of COVID-19, recruitment will slow down in some industries. However, online shopping giants, retail stores, technology and healthcare will see a spike in their hiring numbers. In other sectors, recruiters may still have to close the open positions. They may still have to prepare a pipeline for critical positions.

This phase of COVID-19 is also a good time for leaders to reset their recruitment functions. It is an opportunity when they can prepare their teams to work in a virtual environment. It will help the teams to traverse the physical boundaries and even lower the costs in the long run. Moreover, it will bring more flexibility to the hiring process and engage more candidates.

Let’s look at a possible action plan that recruitment functions can adapt to manage recruitment challenges.

Prioritise the tasks at hand

The COVID-19 pandemic was so sudden that nobody could prepare for it. Organisations had to move their operations to the virtual environment almost overnight. Recruiters can manage the situation effectively by targeting the immediate tasks at hand. For instance, they can prioritise the candidates who are set to join shortly. As the future is still unclear, holding their onboarding to an indefinite time is also not an option. Moreover, there must be candidates who were far ahead in the interviewing process. The line managers could still be keen on hiring and onboarding them at the earliest. 

Leaders can enhance the output of their recruitment functions by addressing these recruitment challenges. 

Equip the recruiters to work from home

If the recruiters have never worked from home before, they may not be prepared to do so. To begin with, they may not have the right wifi setup and other tools. A few companies are offering allowances to address such recruitment challenges. The team leaders can share tutorials to help the recruiters maintain their productivity when working from home. They can also ask the recruiters to take breaks as the boundaries between personal and professional life may start to blur.

The time also demands organisations to be sensitive to the needs of their employees. For instance, recruiters may have children at home who may need attention during the day. The team leaders can offer time slots so that they can give equal attention to their personal needs. 

Lastly, recruiters thrive on human interaction and conversations. This sudden lull of activity and social distancing can get to them. The team leaders can encourage their teams to stay connected. Apart from frequent calls, offline IM thread, sharing personal pictures, virtual pizza parties can help in engaging the team.

Conducting video interviews

One of the main recruitment challenges is moving to video interviews. Recruiters and line managers are used to meeting candidates in person for most hiring positions. It is during these interviews that they have evaluated candidates and made their hiring decisions in the past. They are not going to be comfortable with virtual hiring overnight. 

In light of this, recruiters may have to unlearn and relearn a few aspects of interviewing. Team leaders can start by encouraging recruiters to take an empathetic approach. All the rules of in-person interviews may not apply for video interviews. There are good chances that candidates are also not comfortable with the distance. Moreover, they may not have a disturbance-free environment for interviews. With a sensitive outlook, recruiters can resolve these challenges more efficiently.

The team leaders can also share the best practices of video interviews with their teams. Additionally, the recruiters can be encouraged to share their learnings on a common platform. Apart from engaging them, it will help in fostering a long-term virtual hiring culture in the organisation.

Work closely with hiring managers

Building better relationships with hiring managers is a crucial part of a recruiter’s life. The new situation of COVID-19 demands them to collaborate even more than before. Hiring managers may not be comfortable with interviewing people remotely. They may need hand-holding and some encouragement from the recruiters. 

Hiring managers can also play a crucial role in the acceptance of offers. Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, candidates may not be willing to leave their current jobs. The hiring managers can take them in confidence and assure them of job security.

Leveraging technology

In the absence of walk-in interviews and job fairs, volume recruitment can add to recruiter challenges. COVID-19 may have also affected the plans of visiting campuses for hiring freshers. Even if the organisations cut these numbers by half, the recruiter could still be up against a huge challenge. They may have to spend several days doing what could have been achieved in one or two days. Moreover, their follow-ups and manual tasks can increase by manifolds.

To overcome these problems, leaders can evaluate technology-powered tools. For instance, recruitment chatbots can substantially reduce the efforts of recruiters. Moreover, they can enhance the output of the hiring process, both quantitatively and qualitatively. 

Recruiters have to spend a lot of time answering calls and queries of candidates. Recruitment chatbots can be programmed to manage these questions. Their most useful feature is that they can be used to conduct the first level of assessment. Recruiters can feed interview questions into the chatbots. As the candidates apply to the open position, the chatbots will administer the questions. Impress’s recruitment chatbot is an intuitive platform. Many organizations use the platform for remote recruitment and for creation of virtual graduate recruitment experiences.

Positive candidate experience

Maintaining a good candidate experience is one of the recruiter’s challenges that need priority during COVID-19. In-person meetings can have positive influences on the candidate. However, at a time when every conversation is going to be virtual, it is going to be hard.

The fundamental rules of a positive candidate experience will remain the same. There could be some candidates who would have entered the recruitment funnel just before this pandemic. It is advisable to inform them of any changes in your hiring plans. The recruiters can ensure a positive experience by adapting an empathetic approach. For instance, overlook the appearances of kids or pets during the interview.

These simple steps may seem unnecessary now but will reap results in the long run.

Onboarding 

A survey by Glassdoor found that positive onboarding experience can improve retention by 82%. Maintaining the same level of onboarding experience is going to be challenging in these times. However, there are a few steps that the recruiters can take to deliver the best in this situation.

  • Ensure that the IT accesses, usernames, emails etc. are configured before the day of joining.
  • A new employee is going to have several queries and will need resources to understand the processes and systems. The recruiters can assign mentors who can help the employees in this regard.
  • Recruiters can organise virtual events like one-day video-conferences. It can help in giving a virtual experience of the organisational culture. The recruiters can manage the first few days by arranging calls with team leads and inter-departmental colleagues.
  • To give a view of the organisational culture, recruiters can use story-telling. New employees get to experience the culture through casual conversations and professional interactions in the office. In the absence of these, recruiters can use several incidents to weave stories around the company’s culture.

Upskill the recruiters

What will the recruiters do if your organisation has implemented a hiring freeze? It is a valid question that many leaders will be asking themselves.

If the leaders see the business picking up in the next few months, they can utilise the recruiters for workforce planning. The recruiters can have detailed conversations with the line managers and evaluate their future needs.

Besides, it is a good time for the recruiters to upskill themselves. Leaders can encourage recruiters to take courses. For instance, data analysis, behavioural interviews and story-telling can help them to become the masters of their profession. 

Conclusion

COVID-19 has resulted in an unpredictable situation. The real impact will come to the surface after things have settled down. Organisations will have to reassess their hiring systems and processes to take a more empathetic approach. It will be a good time to assess how technology can empower and resolve recruiter challenges.

Leaders can also use the current experience as a test-run for virtual hiring. They can understand the bottlenecks and brainstorm ideas for adopting remote hiring as a standard practice.

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Remote recruitment on the rise in the time of COVID-19

remote-recruitment-covid-19

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we know it. Who would have thought that the world would come to a grinding halt like this? As we grapple with staying within the confines of our home, enterprises are at a crossroad. Although organisations have been working on disaster management for years, an emergency of this scale was unthinkable.Whilst HR teams lead change from the forefront, they continue to grapple with issues spanning new policies, remote recruitment and change management.

The current scenario poses an extraordinary challenge for organisations and leaders. Apart from maintaining business continuity, they also have to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their employees. Most organisations do not have the necessary  infrastructure to support work-from-home capabilities at such a large scale. They are going back to the board to prepare for the uncertain future that is staring at us. 

However, challenging situations like this lead to innovative approaches. This is the time to devise and flesh out new ways of working. Organisations will seek to enhance their technological capabilities to optimise business performance.

As all business functions reel under the impact of Covid-19, recruitment is not immune as well. In fact, it is one of the areas that will witness significant change. As interviews have traditionally happened face-to-face, recruitment leaders will now have to start seeking alternate approaches including remote and digital hiring.

One may argue that this difficult period may see a reduction in the number of hires being made. While it may be right for some businesses, several sectors like retail, healthcare and non-profit will experience a spike in their hiring volume. In the near future, hiring demand across industries like communications, online learning, logistics, transport and delivery services could be so high and variable that it may become difficult to manage without technology.


With recruiters and hiring managers looking to work from home, organisations will need better capabilities and collaboration tools to be resilient and continue business as usual. The current situation also calls for higher automation and digital operations. In this article, let’s look at how recruitment teams can gear themselves for remote recruitment.

What is remote recruitment?

Remote recruitment is a practice in which recruiters screen and interview job applicants without having to come face-to-face with them (mostly). 

Remote recruitment, in this context, should not be confused with recruiting remote employees. As the name suggests, remote employees do not work from a dedicated office location and generally are not hired on the payroll of the employer.

What are some best practices for remote recruitment?

1. Structured and comprehensive screening

As the hiring process goes digital, organisations need to be more stringent with their screening process. Technology, enabled by AI, can offer outcome-oriented results in this scenario.

Recruitment chatbots powered by AI technology can help in more ways than one. 

Firstly, these chatbots can evaluate the candidates and ask relevant questions based on the role outlined in the job posting. Customisable chatbots allow the recruiters to feed different sets of questions for different jobs. They can help to proactively create a pipeline of candidates for different roles to ensure recruiters and hiring managers do not lose out on valuable talent and operational time. 

Secondly, with smart intelligence, these chatbots can score the candidates after evaluating them. Instead of going through individual responses, recruiters can only look at the final scores to progress candidates to the next level of the hiring process.

Lastly, chatbots are less prone to errors and help in reducing unconscious bias during the hiring process. It becomes a challenge for the organisations to hire quality candidates if the recruiter or line manager has certain preferences or bias. With algorithms evaluating and screening applicants, hiring managers can be assured of receiving better quality shortlists.

2. Engagement with the candidates

Engaging prospective candidates has always been a challenge for organizations. Often recruiters are buried under the operational work and find little time for this cause. In the current scenario, when they will not be able to meet face to face, establishing that connection and remote visibility will become all the more challenging.

AI-powered recruitment chatbots can once again resolve this situation. Conversational AI is specifically built to hold meaningful discussions and imitate human interactions. By using such tools, organisations can engage candidates from the first instance of their contact. The chatbots can be programmed to answer candidate queries so that they can get easy access to all kinds of information. Besides, chatbots can also update them about their application status and close the loop.

Chatbots can provide all these features and make remote recruitment a smooth and streamlined process. 

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3. Regular communication

As teams start working in distributed locations, it can be tough to establish good team dynamics. To resolve this and to be in constant touch, teams should come together at least once a week. Teams can make use of any of the several collaboration tools, available today, to stay in touch. Such a platform will allow the team members to share their challenges, updates and keep track of new developments. Apart from conferencing tools, these tools help with project management and tracking activities.

As crucial as it is to equip the recruitment teams and hiring managers for this change, it is equally essential to prepare the candidates. It is an equally new experience for them as well. It may help to prepare documents or videos for remote interview etiquettes and do’s and don’ts.

4. Video interviews

The conventional face-to-face interviews can be replaced with video interviews. While the recruiters may choose to hold individual interviews for niche positions, it may not be possible for high volume recruitment. In such cases, automated video interviews may be the right solution.

These are again intelligent tools that can be programmed with interview questions. They offer flexibility to the candidates as they can choose the time and location of their interviews. Some of these advanced tools can evaluate candidates’ body language apart from the answers to filter the qualified candidates.

Impress platform allows easy integration with these video interviewing tools. Moreover, it can give scores to the candidates and rank them on their performance. The recruiters can review the scores and promote the qualified candidates to the next stage.

For all the later stages, the interviewers can hold telephonic or video rounds, as they deem fit. They may want to create a staggered panel to remove any kinds of doubts from the hiring process. For instance, if a recruiter is unsure about a candidate, there should be a mechanism to get a higher authority into the hiring process. It will further tighten and streamline remote recruitment while ensuring the quality of candidates.

5. Analytics

As the world is stepping into a zone that has not been chartered before, data has the power of unleashing new information and aid decision making. Analytics tools will furnish insights to identify roles which qualify for dynamic and virtual working or require workplace adjustments to that teams and hires can quickly transition to this new style of working.

From identifying the best sources of sourcing candidates to enhancing the recruitment metrics, data will enable you to arrive at the right answers and controls.

6. Remote Onboarding

In what may seem like one of the toughest challenges of remote hiring, onboarding may take some time and lots of effort to turnaround.

When employees join a new workplace, they learn the ways of working through their colleagues and pick up cues or norm practices from the workplace environment.

However, in the current situation, when most of the workforce has a virtual presence, new employees need self-learning tools and resources. There is a need to document every process for providing easy access to new employees. Online presentations and internal systems training can also help new employees to self-start their work.

Frequent and regular meetings with their line manager and colleagues can further help the new employee to settle more comfortably.

The onboarding process can also move from a standard process to a reaction-based or need-based process. In simple terms, it allows the new employee to take charge of the onboarding process. Of course, it comes with providing the essentials like a laptop, accounts and accesses. As the employee learns, there should be a query system to ask and get answers to all the questions along the way.

Conclusion

Amidst the advisories of staying home and staying safe, the business needs to continue as usual; albeit from remote locations. In the current scenario, as remote working becomes a reality at scale, many organisations will have to change the fundamentals of working. It will begin with changing mindsets, speed up digital readiness and will culminate with running businesses in the virtual and digital world. 

The world of recruitment will also see a new wave of remote hiring as organisations will continue adding to their workforces.