The Future of Recruitment – What HR Has Learnt From Corona

by Daniel Hannig

Slowly but surely, life is returning back to normal: playgrounds and parks are open to visitors, the local hair salons and restaurants are back in business and the offices are letting their employees return back to work, albeit under strict precautions. But what has changed and how we can we use this change to our advantage? In the field of HR, Corona has disrupted the perception of many businesses towards practices that seemed necessary up to 2019, but are now being challenged.

In our podcast on the future of recruitment post Corona, Jonas, our Head of People, interviewed Jamie Rogers from Darwin Recruitment to talk about this. Jamie’s extensive field research on the topic brought about many new and inspiring insights which we would like to share with you. You can watch the full podcast here.

Video Interviews

Job interviews via video calls are nothing new, especially if the applicant lives abroad and cannot simply stop by the office. During the past few months, however, video calls have been the only option and their benefits have become more apparent.

Imagine the following scenario: You are interviewing someone at 11 AM. You leave your desk 10 minutes before the interview starts to prepare the interview and clear the meeting room of the coffee cups and cutlery which the previous group left there. After the interview, you stop by the kitchen, meet a colleague, and have a chat about how your weekend was and how people can not clean up their own mess in the meeting room. You return to your desk and it is already 12 PM. The interview itself took 25 minutes.

While face-to-face meetings are more social and personal, they also take up a lot of time and are more distracting for employees because they have to “detach” themselves physically from their desks. Video interviews on the other hand only require that the participants switch to a new browser tab. Returning to the work routine, after the interview, is therefore easier because it is only a click away. Another major benefit is that you can record video interviews and check up on the answers afterwards. Moreover, you can now use the video for instructional purposes. Of course, recording the interview is also possible when doing face-to-face, but requires that you set up a camera in the meeting room which “tends to get weird really fast”.

What are the disadvantages of video interviews? Mainly, most people dislike video interviews because they are the more impersonal of the two options. Moreover, many applicants want to come to the office for the interview because they want to see the office spaces, meet the people and check how long the commute actually takes.

“Applicants want to make sure they like the people that they then would prefer to spend most of their time without.”

To sum up: the role of video interviews for the future of recruitment has to be seen from two perspectives. The benefits of video interviews range from increased focus of employees to a more effective follow-up and better evaluation. The disadvantage is that video calls are impersonal and deny the applicant the possibility to see the office and to get acquainted with the daily commute.

Adjusting to the Market

The outbreak of Coronavirus turned the job market upside down. Where there used to be a surplus of businesses and opportunities, there is now next to nothing. On top of that, job demand has been increasing due to companies that had to let their people go. Taking this into account, as a company, there is one standpoint you might want to consider: If you are confident enough that your company will survive COVID-19 unscathed and that your business will not be impacted by Corona in the long run, you should recruit as much as possible now before the market recovers completely. The reason for this is that there is temporarily no competition on a market that is normally bustling with companies trying to win the best talent for themselves. Furthermore, you have to be ready to engage the talent with a very candid and honest approach. Especially now, potential candidates will ask uncomfortable questions such as: “Did you fire anyone because of Corona?”, or: “What guarantee can you give me that my position here is safe in times of crisis?”. Being able to come up with arguments and numbers that show that you are a stable and reliable employer is now a more unique selling point than ever and a great way to attract top talent.

In summary: The war for talent has now come to a temporary standstill and if your company (or your willingness to take risks) is strong enough, you can turn this standstill into your own advantage.

The Future of Recruitment – Trust is the new Control

The question that remains is, what lessons can be taken away from all of this when looking into the future of recruitment? Which ideas can companies implement once the war for talent returns? As was already touched upon earlier, trust is key. If you, as an employer, can show and communicate that you trust your employees, then you will have a clear advantage when looking for talent. This holds true especially when talking about the possibility of working remotely. COVID-19 has shown many companies that home-office works in most of the cases. The companies that will take this experience and continue to offer it as a benefit, even though they did not do so before, are the companies that will be more attractive to old, new, and prospective employees. Employees that have now made the working-from-home experience and enjoyed it, will be particularly demotivated when this option is taken away from them once the offices reopen. Taking away the option of remote work, even though it worked well in practice, communicates one thing: your workplace does not trust you to work unsupervised, even though you have proven to them that you are able to do so for the last two months. And let’s face it, that’s a bad look. If you want to read more about the benefits and pitfalls of working from home, check out our blog article on the topic.

In other words: If you want to show your employees and prospective employees that you, as an employer, have grown during the crisis, do so by conveying trust. Offering remote work as a permanent benefit (provided your experiences were good) can be an effective way to do so.

Having trouble getting feedback from your remote workers? Try our Solution

The Future of Recruitment – What Has Changed?

All the predictions that were made before Corona still carry a lot of weight. AI will still have a big impact on the field of recruitment, better tech will still mean more output and the human element will still be the most relevant factor for applicants and companies. The only thing COVID-19 did for recruitment was to shift the focus to certain elements, remote work and video calls just being two examples. Because of this focus shift, companies now have the option to align their recruitment processes and improve their culture permanently and the companies that manage to do so will benefit from this in the future.


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