Taking Remote Recruitment to the Next Level in the Wake of COVID-19

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young man smiling as he has a remote meeting on Zoom

One year after the nascent COVID-19 pandemic set off fears of economic devastation and mass unemployment on an unprecedented scale, many industries – particularly hospitality, travel, and arts and entertainment – are still grappling with a grim reality. But contrary to many expectations, hiring has bounced back – or even accelerated – in many key sectors, including healthcare, logistics, and high-tech.

For recruiters working in industries that are in hiring mode, the pandemic has triggered a deluge of applications as the unemployed seek out new positions and freelancers search for more stable work. On the one hand, this has forced recruiters to sift through reams of applications. On the other, while finding qualified candidates remains a critical challenge, the sheer volume of applications coming in means that it’s easier than it was before the pandemic: A Criteria survey released in October revealed that 68% of recruiters felt it was challenging to find high-quality candidates in 2020, compared to 87% who said the same in 2019.

As many workplaces are still operating at least partially remotely, recruiters have relied on digital solutions like web conferencing platforms to carry out the hiring process, with Criteria finding a 159% year-over-year spike in video interviews. While this has helped save costs and boost the efficiency of the process, it hasn’t come without its drawbacks. Remote interviews all too often feel, well, remote and impersonal, and even if candidates possess the requisite skillset and experience for a role, it can be exceedingly difficult to ascertain from a distance whether a candidate would make a good cultural fit.

Given that remote and hybrid work modes – and remote recruitment – are slated to become key features of the post-pandemic world, smoothing out these speedbumps will be crucial for organizations moving forward.

Here’s what’s needed to take post-pandemic recruitment to the next level.

Making Video More Personal

Jobvite’s 2020 Recruiter Nation Survey underscores just how significantly COVID-19 has reshaped the hiring process, with ramifications that will long outlive the pandemic itself. The poll found that 67% of recruiters are using video for interviews, and 40% believe that it will be the default medium for interviews in the future.

The shift to video naturally raises the question of whether it satisfactorily replicates the “analog” experience of in-person interviews. But this isn’t the right question to ask. Done right, video interviews can actually mark an improvement over standard interviews – provided they don’t simply rehash points on a candidate’s CV. Artificial intelligence technology can provide video a clear upper hand by offering recruiters a data-driven way, based on video transcripts and behavioral science research, to assess vital factors like cultural compatibility, soft skills, and personality.

By contrast, relying on video interview solutions that focus on hard skills alone, and don’t provide the candidate the opportunity to showcase their soft skill set and personality, will compromise the quality of the hiring process moving forward, reducing the effectiveness and long-term success rate of those hired.

Evolving with the Future of Hiring

A growing number of companies are already finding advanced, AI-based video solutions a welcome enhancement to their hiring processes. Case in point: UK-based online grocer Ocado, where 90% of hiring managers now say that they prefer video interviews to traditional hiring methods, according to company data. The ability to see beyond applicants’ CVs, better gauge candidates’ personalities and cultural fit, review recorded videos and transcripts, and save costs and time has convinced the company of advanced video’s long-term value.

As companies grow more reliant on AI to meet their hiring needs, they will need to ensure that they are doing so in an ethical way. AI-based platforms that support diversity by design – by incorporating rich data sets that help eliminate algorithmic bias – can enable companies to achieve a streamlined hiring process while being attuned to the unique backgrounds and experience that different candidates bring to the table.

The more recruiters can broaden the hiring process beyond the CV, the richer, more diverse, and more culturally vibrant their workplaces will be. As HR managers grapple with record volumes of applications, advanced video platforms can lighten their burden and usher in a more sophisticated, progressive approach to hiring that will see their teams through 2021 and beyond.

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