The recruitment industry has taken a huge hit since the lockdown began. This is hardly surprising as it thrives on market confidence and (traditionally) the ability to meet candidates in person – both of which disappeared overnight. However, some firms quickly adapted to innovative online methods to recruit, and others are now beginning to follow suit. There is a great example of this recently, when my candidate Ciara was interviewed, offered and onboarded successfully – all remotely.
We noticed a certain degree of scepticism from firms – would a candidate want to accept an offer without seeing the office or working space for themselves? Without meeting the team that they would be working with?
We spoke to Ciara Sizer who we placed at Canada Life during lockdown. She reflected on her experience of the online recruitment process and we asked whether it had been an issue for her. She was actually very positive about the new approach:
“I felt that the online interview part of the process was actually the best for me. Face to face interviews can be intimidating – it’s an unknown office and you have to consider things as simple as shaking hands correctly and making sure every part of your outfit is flawless.”
She added, “being at home in a familiar setting made me feel comfortable for the interview, I probably ended up being myself more as I was much less nervous.”
This raises an interesting point. Do we really get the best out of a candidate by interviewing them face to face initially? Traditional interviews can unnerve even the most confident candidates. If we can interview in a way that is more comfortable and less daunting; one which allows their real personality to shine through, then shouldn’t everything be done to accommodate this?
Ciara and I went on to discuss the issue of not seeing her physical workplace or meeting her team before accepting an offer. Interestingly, she felt that the interview process itself had such a positive impact that it wasn’t really a concern.
“This wasn’t something that I thought about throughout the process, to be honest. Because the interviewers were so warm and friendly, it gave the impression that the rest of the company would be like that – it made my decision to accept much easier! Because they spoke so positively about the company and role, I didn’t feel I needed to see it for myself.”
She added a cautionary note – “If the interviewers didn’t make the effort to build the relationship in the interview and actively sell the role to me, it’s unlikely that I would have accepted the offer.”
Whilst this is an important point generally for interviews, it’s now more important than ever that interviewers understand that it is a ‘two-way’ process with both sides needing to make a great impression.
Ciara’s experience shows that recruitment during these unprecedented times can be successful. It is the time for companies to be innovative and bold. Find a way to recruit remotely and you will gain the advantage over more cautious firms. As the benefits of remote working become more apparent, those firms who adapt their recruitment process the soonest will emerge strongest once the economic recovery begins.