Excel Recruitment CEO Barry Whelan gives his tips for recruitment in a socially distanced world

Even with lockdown potentially (hopefully) coming to a full end in the next few weeks, social distancing and remote working where possible are going to be the way of life for many for the foreseeable future. While things might seem all doom and gloom, there are companies actively hiring and many others planning their recruitment needs for when restrictions ease and life returns to its new normal. Whether you’re looking for a longterm leader to join your business or for an immediate scale-up of staff to meet extra demand, below are some tips for employers to help tackle safely shifting your recruitment processes during this time while still finding great talent to join their team.

Do a tech check

There are a huge number of technologies available to facilitate remote working, team meetings and video interviewing, From Zoom to Microsoft teams to Bluejeans, the list is endless. But before you fall down the rabbit hole and rush to invest in tech, assess what you need it for and whether you need it at all. Are your team structured enough that a group email thread will work? What about setting up a Whatsapp group so everyone can stay connected and in the loop? For interviewing new hires, does it need to be a video call or are you comfortable with just a phone interview? As with everything, remote working technology is only valuable if you need it.

Video call confidence

Many employers have embraced video interviews and while it’s great to be able to engage with potential new hires, it’s important to remember that video interviews should be fundamentally similar to in-person interviews. All the advice we’ve been giving to jobseekers about video interviews applies to employers and hiring managers as well. Dress the part, check whatever software and wifi connection you’re using are good to go, make sure you’re in a quiet space and that people know not to disturb you, turn your phone to silent and have a back-up plan should you need it. There are often delays and pauses in the connection that don’t occur face to face so practice not only using the tech but communicating through it.

Ask: who’s doing what?

One of the biggest headaches of remote working is keeping in contact with team members and ensuring everyone is engaged and on the same page. While it may sound obvious, ensuring everyone knows who’s doing what will save a huge amount of time, money and headaches for you and your team. Simple questions such as who’s taking charge of screening at CVs, who’s scheduling interviews/ contacting candidates etc. need to be clarified before the hiring begins. Often this happens organically when the team are all in the office at the same time, but now these details must be discussed ahead of time so everyone’s on the same page. Not only is this important to ensures a smooth running in-house but also improves the candidate’s experience.

Stay engaged with your current team

With everything so up in the air, making considered, thoughtful hiring decisions are now more important than ever. Open clear communications with teams and individuals at all levels of the business means you will be better able to identify where the real gaps and needs in your team are and work to fill these, instead of where you presume the needs are. Developing stronger communication with your team also means you’re in a better position to spot if employees may be unhappy and looking for a move and you can work to address any issues before they start sending CVs out.

Have an onboarding plan

Once you’ve done the hard work of recruiting a role, don’t forget the next crucial part of the process: Onboarding and training your newest team member. It can be quite disconcerting to start a new job at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a global crisis! Depending on your company/ the role, your new hire may be working from home without the opportunity to meet their team/ manager in person or if working in essential services may have a huge amount of information and policies or procedures to absorb. Having a clear training plan ahead of time along with regular check-ins will be key to ensuring your new team member hits the ground running.