A Virtual Recruitment Process For a Post-COVID-19 World

Released On 15th May 2020

Having the structure in place to run your recruitment virtually means you can begin to future-proof the growth of your business, and become confident in adapting your business to fit the ‘new normal’ we find ourselves in.

The reality is that not a lot has changed since Before COVID-19 (BC) in terms of how to manage the process – and the fact that you may be conducting interviews from the comfort of your home office or kitchen table shouldn’t impact the need for process, structure or clarity.

We’ve highlighted the key areas of the recruitment process which you’ll need to adapt to keep your recruitment moving throughout COVID-19 and beyond:

Advertising

Ensure your advert is clear on the role, the type of candidate you’re hiring for and the culture of the business.  It’s also never been more important to have a strong job description to use as a basis for your advert, steering clear of the copy and paste trap.

Keep it clear how candidates should apply, and signpost them to how they can contact a member of your team if they need to.  Give them confidence from the get-go that your business is a great place to work.

Don’t get sucked into what recruitment blogger and commentator Mitch Sullivan would define as ‘Jobsplaining’.  Telling a candidate what they do every day in “excruciating detail” isn’t helpful or engaging – because – they’re already doing it every day.  The copy should be light, engaging and candidate centric – see our blog here on creating compelling adverts.  Read it back – would you want the job you’ve just written about?  If it’s not a resounding yes – candidates probably won’t be interested either.

Shortlisting

If you’ve put together a brilliant advert and been clear about the expectations of the role, ideally at this point you’ll find yourself with a well curated pool of talented prospective candidates to pick from.  No?  Read on.

If you’ve been inundated with applications and don’t know where to start, refer to your job description and use this to create a scorecard, based on the essential qualifications, skills and experience required to the perform the role to use as a shortlisting tool. 

You’re looking for candidates that, on paper, could do the job.  Avoid reading any further into the CV and accompanying material at this stage, otherwise you’ll find yourself hunched over your laptop at 2am scrutinising CVs, creating back stories, side plots and future scenarios for each candidate, desperately wondering why they made the switch from marketing to HR in back in ‘09. 

Telephone Interview

We always recommend a brief telephone interview with shortlisted candidates, and this shouldn’t change in a remote interview scenario. 

A telephone interview is the perfect opportunity to establish the candidates’ interest in the role, sense check any areas that could be a future showstopper – for instance specific qualifications or essential experience and undertake what I call a housekeeping check.  Check notice periods, salary expectations and start to talk about potential interview dates if appropriate.  There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of a lengthy interview process only to offer your chosen candidate the job and end up negotiating down to the wire or find out they have a six month notice period.

Video Interview

Establish which platform you will use ahead of the call, and make sure your candidates have the links and passwords they will need at least a few days in advance.  Advise the interviewees on dress code and who will be attending the call – sounds simple, but it’s the sort of thing people will agonise over.  A well structured and informative invite to interview email template will cover the above and help put your candidates at ease ahead of the call.

Ensure you have a good Wi-Fi connection and a quiet place to interview the candidates – although an inquisitive toddler intruding on the call to ask for snacks or Peppa Pig will always make for a good ice breaker.  We’ve all been there!

Start with you and any other colleagues joining remotely in the interview ‘room’ prior to the candidate and get clear on the structure of the interview before the candidate joins you.  Being well prepared is key – and you can see our blog on interviewing remotely here.

Post Interview

Set aside a time within 24 hours of the interview where all internal team members can get together for a virtual post-interview debrief meeting, to keep the decision process and momentum moving.

Call all your candidates’ post interview to let them know the outcome of the interview – avoid sending a copy and paste email. 

For your successful candidate, remember that leaving a job right now probably feels like a big leap of faith – so make them feel comfortable that they’ve made the right decision.  Give them all the information they need for the next few weeks, what to expect next from you and keep in regular contact.

Remote Onboarding

Your normal onboarding process probably starts with meetings, tours, one to ones’ and introductions to the team over the weekly stand up – none of which is happening right now.

The most important thing is making sure your recruit has everything they need to get going on day one and is clear on who they need to contact if they need anything. 
Ensure any equipment they will need is prepared and sent to their home ahead of their start date.  Confirm they’ve received everything and liaise with IT to get them set up ready for day one.

Meetings can still take place virtually, and you can cc them in on important team emails or communications in the week before your new team member starts.  If you use a communication channel such as Slack, ensure they’re set up and recommend the threads and conversations they should follow.  Regular, virtual communication is the key.

It is a strange time we find ourselves in – but if your business needs to keep recruiting throughout this pandemic and beyond, think about how you will adapt your process to keep up with the ‘new normal’.