Recruiting and on-boarding new staff during lockdown

Business never stands still – not even in a pandemic. Throughout the Coronavirus lockdown, companies have had to find new ways to navigate the hiring and onboarding process without face-to-face interaction.

For both businesses and job applicants, it has often been a new experience and presented several challenges to do with technology and logistics.

The lockdown has turned remote hiring into a necessity. Even as businesses attempt to return to pre-pandemic normality, many are continuing to follow this practice for the foreseeable future. This is often to do with safety concerns, but in many cases companies have seen its benefits – businesses don’t need to limit themselves to the local area, candidates are available throughout the day rather than the usual before and after work slots, and often the process requires less of a time commitment.  

How has business recruitment adapted during the pandemic?

Melanie Astbury, HR manager at Cartridge Save says, “We were able to quickly adapt to virtual hiring. It can be strange at the beginning to not see someone in person and shake their hand, but it soon becomes normal. What this situation has enabled us to do is widen our search and hire the right talent – even if they’re located in a different city.’”

Simon Roderik, managing director of Fram Search, has also seen the benefits of virtual hiring: “In some ways, it’s made it easier for us. Both our clients and us are finding video interviews more time efficient as people are more available, and you get a good feel for a candidate – the quality of conversations has been great! Roles requiring niche skills will be easier to fill and we’re excited about the talent possibilities and the positive impact on diversity.”

Regardless of whether recruiting is in person or through video conferencing technology, businesses need a robust recruiting procedure which ensures the best person for the job has the opportunity to prove themselves and get the position. 

However, even if the company has made a great hire, there still needs to be a carefully planned on-boarding procedure that ensures new recruits understand the job requirements, as well as the business culture and expected behaviours.

A guide to recruiting and interviewing during a pandemic 

Screening CVs

The process of sifting through CVs or application forms hasn’t changed. Employers will still need to take the time to evaluate each candidate for the position, and decide whether to progress their application to the interview stage. However, the number of applicants has certainly changed. 

Current levels of employment have meant that as many as 50 people chase every one job in coronavirus stricken areas of the UK. By comparison, there were four and a half claimants per vacancy in April, and just over eight in May.

Unfortunately for businesses, this means more time sifting through a higher number of applicants, which can be a time drain on resources. So it’s vital that you:

  • Establish a robust system to check the applications against the selection criteria
  • Introduce a point-based system – giving applicants a point for matching skills that are outlined in the job spec 

For Employees

Making your CV stand out to employers

With the recent rise in unemployment, there is a lot of competition for every job on the market. It is therefore incredibly important that you craft a CV and cover letter that captures attention quickly.

With people desperate for work, people are often applying for jobs in large volumes without carefully reading the job application. The most important thing you can do to land an interview is show that you have read the vacancy description and you have tailored your application to the role. Carefully structure your CV so that the most relevant topics are positioned near the top, catching the employers’ attention at the first glance.

Creating an impactful CV can take a lot of time and numerous revisions. Employers often skim read CVs, so you’ll want to pay close attention to the structure and ensure that they can navigate their way through the CV with ease to see your relevant skills.

Discover how to write a killer CV and make your application stand out from the crowd.  

The interviewing process

With business, social gatherings and family communications mainly taking place online, people have adapted to video conferencing. The formality associated with traditional meetings has been broken down, so it’s often easier to build a rapport.

As Billy Foulkes, director of Wildfire Marketing, found, “Zoom interviews have definitely made the interview process quicker but less personal. We haven’t had the chance to meet face-to-face with candidates so we have had to place faith in our recruitment process.”

Job interviews can be still nerve-wracking – especially for applicants being interviewed for the first time online. So it’s important to put the applicant at ease to allow them to best represent themselves and show why they are the right person for the role.

Whether you’re an employer or a candidate, it’s important to do some checks prior to the interview so you can have a seamless meeting that feels relaxed and enables you to make the right first impression: 

  • Ensure your background is neat and uncluttered
  • Eliminate the chance of any distractions
  • Remove other digital distractions 
  • Check hardware – make sure your video conferencing and microphone are working properly

For more information on how to prepare for an online interview and impress prospective employers, take a look at: Top 5 tips for virtual interviews.

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