Despite the popularity remote work has gained in North America over recent years, very few companies have fully enabled remote recruiting processes.
It’s interesting to think about how we’ve started to scale the idea of remote work, to the point that remote workers are saving money and potentially even saving the environment, but we have not scaled the idea of remote recruiting. Sure, you might hire someone from another city or geographic area, and a lot of that process may take place online — although eventually, you’re going to want any top candidates not in-market to come fly and meet your team in-person.
That’s all changed in the new normal, though. Because of the need for social distancing, most hiring processes will be fully-remote, fully-digital, fully-tech-enabled for a while. (Now, we also realize many companies will not be hiring during an economically uncertain period. But other business models, i.e. Amazon are hiring by the thousands)
But what exactly does this new normal of effective, consistent remote recruiting look like? Let’s break this into five key tips.
1. Reconsider job promotion platforms
This question has long had “the big names” of LinkedIn, job boards like Indeed, niche sites like GitHub, and more. It seems like a new potential platform debuts every day. While it’s good that you can reach candidates in thousands of different ways, it can also create a massive amount of choice overload. We actually know a recruiting team in Cincinnati that “gave in” and posted on every single board and channel they could find. They actually got 2,000+ applications — yes, two thousand — for some roles, but typically over 80% of the candidates immediately did not qualify. So, the high volume seems good in a way at first — lots of options! — it can also become time-consuming and not very valuable pretty fast.
One way to figure out a platform mix is to talk to your employees, especially employees in similar roles to the ones you need to hire for. Where do they hang out online? What sites would they search for a job on? Plus: do they know people they worked with before who might be interested?
If you’re looking to generate both brand awareness and a mix of quality candidates, focus on the big names at first: LinkedIn, Indeed, GitHub, Instagram, and Facebook. The latter two are more about showcasing how cool your culture is — at this particular moment, show Zoom Happy Hours and whatnot to give candidates the idea that teamwork still persists despite the lack of in-person connection.
2. Reevaluate the interview process and length
You might want to invest more in the front-end of the process, where you and the hiring manager work together across a couple of meetings to really define the role and the necessities, assuming it’s not a high-volume hire role (i.e. Amazon). More on hiring manager relationships in a second.
If these are high-volume hires designed to help people during the pandemic, consider reducing the length of the interview process if possible. With the current job market, you will likely get a lot of interest in your immediate start roles, so leverage technology at hand to prioritize your time on high-value tasks.
Rethinking the length of your interview process doesn’t necessarily mean shortening it — find a timeline that provides the same number of opportunities to accurately assess candidates.
3. Leverage technology prior to the interview
This is a very chaotic time. We want to make sure recruiters and talent acquisition teams are using their team wisely, as opposed to running around overwhelmed by lesser value tasks.
Think about how much time it takes to screen 1,000 candidates, conduct virtual interviews, and adjust to the current new normal. Tech can alleviate some of that admin work so your recruitment speed improves without sacrificing quality, which gives recruiters more time to focus on top candidates — and TA leaders the business metrics (time to hire, quality of hire, overall cost) to prove recruitment efficiency.
This way, you save time — and are more efficient — prior to launching the actual process of speaking with candidates
4. Master technology tools during the interview
Some of the standard tips come into play here:
- Test your audio beforehand.
- Test your video beforehand.
- Give the candidate a few minutes of grace time if they are having log-in issues.
- Be aware of bias. Seeing someone on Skype vs. sitting in front of them is a very different experience. A hand gesture or comment or facial gesture might be perceived differently in each case. Be aware that you might be a little biased and it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad candidate. We are all subject to biases sometimes.
If candidates have a lot of questions about the tech you’re using and how to connect immediately prior to the interview, and the volume becomes overwhelming to individually respond to, that’s a good potential case for a chatbot.
Overall, realize that a remote, video-driven hiring process might not be common to you. But, the overall process of video probably is common to you in your daily life. You have FaceTimed with friends, right? And, while video interviewing market growth has slowed in recent years, it had a boom period from about 2010 to 2016. Many companies have embraced this process.
As a talent acquisition leader responsible for making remote recruiting successful, you need to ensure these practices are taking place at the recruiter level — because this all impacts your core metrics and your overall employer brand
5. Prioritize hiring manager relationship
This is crucial at all times, but in a crisis period where elements of the business might be in doubt and long-term repercussions aren’t yet clear, this is especially important. The hiring manager-recruiter relationship, unfortunately, can be flawed in many ways.
What you are aiming for here is something akin to “collaborative hiring.” This means that you involve both (a) the hiring manager and (b) the pre-existing team. After all, the team will be the future teammates of whoever you select — so they need a chance to weigh in too. (Plus, they know better what the day-to-day work looks like.)
This requires a lot of front-end prep. You need to work with the hiring manager (and perhaps select members of the team that the role will go on) on:
- Need-to-have qualifications
- Nice-to-have qualifications
- Salary range min/max
- WFH/remote work options after COVID-19 subsides
- Effective traits of previous employees in this role or on this team
- The culture of the team
- Big current projects
- Big upcoming projects
Now, a hiring manager is typically busy. It is hard to get all the info you need from them, even in 2-3 meetings. That’s also why involving the bigger team can be helpful. The more information you have, the better you can target and screen.
The bottom line
Like most concepts within recruiting and TA these days, a healthy mix of good process, good communication, and good technology can get you to fully remote recruiting practices. It’s not easy and may be very different from what you’re used to, but if you need any help, feel free to reach out to us. We’ve helped hundreds of companies streamline some of their hiring effectiveness, and we’d be happy to help you as well.