Will recruitment go back to how it was?

Will recruitment go back to how it was?

The pandemic has caused huge shifts in practically every industry. A significant proportion of employees have been forced to work from home during lockdown, and whilst their employers may not have chosen to accommodate such a move, many have been pleasantly surprised at how well their employees have coped.

The fear that workers would slack off if they weren’t in the office has proved to be unfounded; stats reflect that productivity levels have predominantly risen. One study shows that employees who carry out their role from home actually work the equivalent of 1.4 days extra each month, compared to their colleagues in the office.

Even employers who would never have instigated flexible or home working under normal circumstances might now be interested in the financial benefits of remote working employees. With fewer people needing desks in an office, companies could downsize and save money. If everyone is now used to holding meetings via screens and not in person, there’s no need to pay for a plush building in the city centre, or similar prime spot, to impress visitors; the business could now base itself in a much cheaper area.

And what about a happier workforce? When remote working, employees don’t have to battle traffic or face a long commute. They can spread their workload across the whole week and enjoy a greater work/life balance, with productivity levels and results as the main focus, rather than hours worked.

During lockdown, job interviews have been carried out via Zoom, Skype or other technologies; there hasn’t been any choice in the matter. But when restrictions are fully lifted, would this be a method worth keeping? Would a quick Zoom call to all applicants prove more effective, for example, when it comes to shortlisting for formal interviews than simply sifting through CVs? Would a recruiter gather more information this way than what two sides of A4 can tell them?

Even though some people have been able to return to work, social distancing will be with us for a while. Interview rooms are typically private, i.e. small and intimate. When it comes to second/formal interviews, the recruiter will be left with two choices: a public conversation (because it’s difficult to keep things private when someone is sat two metres away from you), which may affect what an applicant discloses, or a private, digital meeting in which they’re not physically in front of the candidate.

Zoom meetings still allow recruiters to gauge facial expressions, personality, body language, etc., so is it just as case of getting used to doing things differently? Of course, if the candidate can interview from home, so can the interviewer, which is a definite plus for some recruiters.

Twitter has confirmed that working from home will be an option “forever”, and that any employee’s return to the office will be carefully managed. Their employers will undoubtedly need to hold meetings with third parties/people outside the company, and they will likely recruit at some point; that such interaction will be carried out from their employees’ homes doesn’t appear to be an issue for this large, well-known organisation - should it therefore be a problem for others?

Another consideration is that recruiters may, in the near future, be required to recruit for work-from-home positions. Questions about company culture and team-working may need to be adapted and new questions added to the interviews’ running order, such as:

  • What do you think are the benefits of working from home?
  • How do you motivate yourself when working alone?
  • Have any of your previous positions involved working from home and/or flexible working?
  • Do you have a dedicated space to work from at home? If not, what adaptions would need to be made?

The ‘new normal’ are two words that have been flogged to death over the last couple of months, but now that the pandemic has seen all industries incorporate working-from-home and digital solutions into their day-to-day operations, will these become the new normal for recruiters?

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