Entire recruitment process to move online - Candidate submissions; interviews; offers and new starter on-boarding.
It’s a very challenging and anxious time for most organisations dealing with difficult trading conditions and adjusting to new working practices including social distancing, working from home and self-isolation, whilst trying to maintain employee welfare, deliver projects and meet targets.
At Skillfinder International, like many other organisations, we moved the whole business to work from home last week and I have to say, it’s been very successful so far, with some very positive results including meeting many of our company targets. Our senior management team had prepared plans over the previous two weeks to ensure we have a strong management framework in place, that everyone had access to the correct tools and equipment and to avoid isolation, we have various touch points through the day, we hold video conference calls with each other, offering colleagues support and brainstorming ideas. We are using the MS Teams software to help ease the shift to remote working.
Why we think it’s a good idea to carry on your recruitment activity during these extraordinary times
Our message to clients and candidates is, wherever possible, it’s actually a good time to carry on with recruitment activity after all we don’t know how long these interruptions might last. Any Clients who can adapt and continue with the hiring process have access to great candidates without the recent issue of intense competition in securing top talent. Whilst many organisations understandably have their focus elsewhere, those who can find the time, and courage to hire could have a competitive edge.
The volatile market and current surge in work from home practices have increased access to the talent pool, as candidates become easier to reach and talk to. So, it’s actually a great time to finally secure that hard to find skill set or fill a problem role that has been open for a few months.
A change in working practices which allows working from home, also means that organisations seeking freelancers or contractors, can take advantage of rate discounts that often apply to work from home engagements where freelancers aren’t having to pay for expensive travel to client site.
Many projects are still needing to be delivered, and can’t be paused, so in these circumstances, a few changes in the actual hiring and on-boarding process; including facilitating video conferencing interviews and remote on-boarding can ensure that projects remain on track. Additionally, some media reports suggest that in the coming months, as many as 20% of the permanent workforce could be off self-isolating- so continuing hiring, or maybe having contingency workers available on key projects, makes sense. For those UK based organisations concerned about hiring contractors, the postponement of the IR35 changes removes a barrier, at a key time.
Setting up initial telephone conversations, prior to a video interview is now so much more easier to do since everyone is now working from home. It’s a great way of getting candidates enthused about the role you have in the pipeline, before you can ‘officially’ interview.
After that, completing video interviews using technology such as Zoom, Skype & Microsoft Teams is so simple and cost effective to use- it’s a wonder we haven’t taken to this earlier.
How Skillfinder has adapted recruitment practices for social distancing
Skillfinder recognises that clients are concerned about hiring, when meeting candidates is not always possible. With that in mind, we have adapted our services accordingly. We can offer many creative solutions including:
• Statement of Work solutions, so we focus on the outcome, and deliver project work, rather than simply supply the people.
• Replacing face to face interviews with telephone, video conferencing and on the job interviews- no charge for our clients if the contract hire doesn’t work out in the first week.
• Outsourcing/near shoring solutions to reduce cost of hires/projects
• Extended rebate periods for permanent hires to give that extra reassurance when the client and candidate haven’t physically met each other, or alternatively temp to perm solutions can work really well.
• Where cash flow is a concern, we can offer solutions, as we are fully funded and backed by our commercial bankers, RBS.
What clients can do to adapt their recruitment practices
Clients that can adapt to the current environment, will be able to take advantage of increased candidate availability and less competition. There are also ways of mitigating the risk of not meeting candidates at the interview stage. Working practices are undergoing huge change currently. Initially, most organisations, where they could, have made arrangements for their employees to work from home. This was quickly followed by flexible arrangements to allow existing contractors and temporary workers to be engaged remotely, wherever possible. Finally, we are starting to see a new shift in hiring, whereby organisations are starting to hire new employees and contractors to be interviewed, on-boarded and work remotely. This last step requires strong processes and systems in place, but as above there are clear advantages to organisations who have the flexibility to make it.
In summary organisations can adapt by:
•Remodelling existing recruitment processes so that decisions can be made purely on the back of telephone, online and video-conferencing interviews.
•Being open to having exploratory conversations with prospective candidates about roles to start in the coming weeks.
•Reducing risk by using a temp to perm hiring model.
•Consider overhauling on-boarding processes to enable new workers to work remotely from day one. Ensure new workers have the equipment and tools required for home working and that inductions and training can be conducted online and via videoconferencing.
•Ensuring business processes are stored centrally and robust systems are in place for supporting remote working
•For candidates immediately available, why not agree a week’s trial as part of the hiring process- this could be mutually advantageous.
These are indeed testing times but there are opportunities for organisations with a long-term vision to grow a sustainable business and attract talent, whilst embracing changes in working practices, that may well lead to increased productivity.
Photo by bruce mars