Recruitment | Successful ways to hire critical talent remotely

Successful ways to hire critical talent remotely
McGregor Boyall Associates

Since the UK went into Lockdown over three weeks ago, I’ve had a multitude of conversations with senior HR Professionals about the challenges they are currently facing.

They’ve told me that Covid-19 is taking over every aspect of their working day, and they are coming up against things that they have never experienced before. This has been and continues to be incredibly overwhelming for both the HR function and the broader organisations they support. Not knowing what to do, where to start and what the future may hold can have a hugely negative effect on productivity. Employees need reassurance and support more than ever in these unnerving times, much of which is driven by HR.

HR is having to deal with changes in employment conditions, policy and navigating the government schemes around furloughing staff, and those are all just the considerations around current organisational state. When they get the head space to think about the future state, they have to consider whether they currently have the talent needed for the organisation to move forward. One of the biggest challenges here has been around how to hire in this new remote/virtual environment. Whilst this might be a challenge it is still possible to do, and smart forward-thinking organisations are finding ways to successfully achieve this. To help make this challenge easier for organisations I thought I would share some tips on how to successfully hire critical talent remotely.

Consistency in the Recruitment Process

Talent Management and Talent Acquisition specialists must ensure they have robust assessment processes for interviews.

  • This will need to include clear agreements on who is to be involved in the hiring process.

  • Ensuring that those involved in interviewing have a clear understanding of the capability and skills required for the role as well as an understanding of core business values.

  • Ensuring the interviewers have a consistent assessment/questioning technique that can assess the candidate. The Talent Acquisition team should provide training around this where required.

  • Ensure that anyone involved in the hiring process has the technology to support virtual interviewing. Connectivity might be an issue for some individuals, meaning they cannot be interviewed via video therefore other formats like telephone should be used in these cases.

Lower the Risk

Some organisations are reluctant to move to an offer stage without having met the candidate in person as they feel that there are more risks associated with this; from how to onboard effectively, how to conduct checks and generally how to embed a new starter in the organisation. But there are things that agile companies are putting in place to stop this from halting hiring, such as:

  • Extended probation periods – Some organisations will be implementing a longer probation period to lessen risk on hiring virtually and mitigate against what could be an extended period to get new employees up to speed.

  • Remote on-boarding – I have spoken to numerous clients who are onboarding remotely. They are posting out laptops and offering online inductions utilising Zoom or Microsoft Teams to run the programs. Clients are also arranging virtual welcome drinks/lunches etc. The current feedback from candidates on their experience of this has been very impressive and this has made them feel very welcomed.

  • Effective communication – This is critical for both existing employees and new potential hires. The remote environment can be very isolating, and it can be easy to drift away from undertaking objectives, so it is critical to have both formal and informal communication check-ins on a regular basis. This is to ensure engagement and productivity are kept high as well as promoting a positive mind-set.

  • Compliance/employment checks - It is extremely important when hiring to still ensure the relevant employment checks are in place. It’s not something you can get away with not doing, some organisations including our own are set-up to be able to conduct the checks remotely, but with adaptations to the sighting of original documentation being embedded as a solution.

  • Delayed start dates – If the above solutions still do not dispel concerns, some organisations are appointing candidates with a delayed start date. This is a solution that can work effectively and ensure that you are in a position to hit the ground running when the world starts to return to normal. However, if you are doing this it is critical to build in touch points with the candidates in the interim period to ensure they remain engaged.

Let’s not forget the Interim Candidate!

If the need is urgent but the sign-off for the permanent hire is too challenging, there is always the option of hiring interim expertise to support your needs. The advantage of this is that you are hiring experienced individuals who are able to hit the ground running, are able to work autonomously and are well equipped to work remotely.

If you are at all unsure of how to tackle the challenges outlined above and want to ensure you successfully hire top talent remotely during this pandemic and beyond, please get in touch to discuss how McGregor Boyall can be of help.

About Kara Feller:

Principal Consultant – HR & Talent Management Recruitment Practice

McGregor Boyall Associates Ltd.

[email protected]

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