A phone interview, followed by face-to-face interviews, will always, for me, be the most effective way of connecting with a person and gauging their cultural fit. I love meeting new people. Technology opens up a world of virtual recruiting with far-reaching opportunities, expanding your talent pool, and, if done effectively, saving you time, reducing spending on hiring, and, in today's new normal, ensuring continuity. As always, finding the right person for the job (and for the company) and gauging if they will complement your culture is at the heart of the quest.
COVID-19 has accentuated the need for remote hiring strategies. Thanks to our technology and our culture, we have embraced that switch and in doing so, have expanded our team, recruiting more than 300 employees since March. We still use the same recruitment process; it's now relying on technology more than it did before.
At Moneypenny, people are our specialty, and we pride ourselves on getting recruitment right. We have always done the first interview by phone and then use a combination of personality profiles and team interviews, the latter now via video link.
Here's what we have learned about finding great new hires even when you're conducting your recruiting virtually.
1. Do not discount candidates who are changing industries or who are returning to work.
Virtual recruitment offers you an almost endless talent pool, and it's easy to waste time hoping to find the right person in that pool. It is crucial before you set about the actual recruiting that you know exactly what you are looking for. What are the traits and attitudes that you need? Will they enhance your team and culture?
Of course, skills play a role; I am not saying ignore them, but if the person is unable to apply them in line with your values and purpose, they aren't going to last long. It is overwhelming the impact the wrong person can have on your business. And the very last thing you want is to start the recruiting process all over again.
If you know what you are looking for in a new team member and communicate that effectively, making culture a central part of that, you can successfully discover the right people in this larger pool of candidates. They could be from a different industry, different profession, a seasonal worker or even someone returning to work. A key trait you are looking for is coachability – you are seeking someone who possesses self-awareness and responds positively to feedback.
There is so much fantastic talent out there; it is a great time to recruit. Focus on culture and traits, and you will improve your success rate of attracting and identifying people who align with the company and the role.
2. Do not chase applicants down.
Ahh, the perfect candidate. Do they exist? However exhaustive your job description is, it is very rare that you will find the perfect candidate to fill the position. The perfect candidate may be an elusive creature, but the qualities are not. It's not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Your wish list of requirements is absolutely essential, but be flexible. With a new team member comes new ideas, perspectives and outlook, all great qualities to help your business. Think about it, if we were always looking for a templated version, nothing would change, business becomes stagnant, and that's not a business model that will thrive in the world today.
Do not waste your time and money chasing that perfect candidate, and if you catch a glimpse of one, do not waste your time and money chasing them down, as it takes away time from engaged candidates. Be open to the opportunities recruiting represents.
3. Be wary of online skills assessments.
Online skills assessments are not a new tool. They offer a tangible way to assess skills for a role and how an individual may fit within a company, but only as part of a recruiting toolkit that includes other elements, such as an interview or a presentation perhaps. All the elements combined can give you a better understanding of the individual, their capabilities and what they offer.
There are pros and cons – the key is to balance it out. For example, if you want to ensure against someone other than the candidate completing an assessment test, or that the candidate is answering what they think you want to hear, inform them that they will be retested under controlled conditions later, and use your other toolkit measures to verify. As just one element of a package of recruitment tools online skills assessments can be an effective tool, but it is just that, one part of your suite.
Returning to my point at the start, a face-to-face interview will also be the best way to connect with a person. When that is not possible, a video call can be just as effective. The secret to a good interview is finding out about the actual person. Say little, ask a lot. Keep interviews short. Break it down, and ask several open-ended questions, leading them to reveal themselves and not just their representative. And don't be afraid to get more than one interviewer involved. Our interviews are conducted by at least three team members to ensure that new recruits will fit well with the team. You know that they have the skills, but what you really want to know is will they fit.
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4. Do not make remote working your selling point.
All businesses have had to adapt in recent times, and remote working has been a forced but embraced change. It should not be your unique selling point in recruitment, however. Be clear on your remote work policy. Empowering employees, balancing work and life, and flexibility for better crisis preparedness are all policies to be clear on, but that does not necessarily mean remote working, so do not emphasize it as the main selling point of the role. Culture, schedules, pay rates, long-term growth and leadership will speak to those who are interested in more than a job they can do from home. While it may flood your inbox with applications, it doesn't help to attract viable candidates.