Neil Holloway of Wilson Brook, on ways to avoid recruitment mistakes when you can’t actually meet people.

IN MANY WAYS the continuation of business this year, and especially in recruitment, has been made largely possible down to technology. Companies have implemented communications software more and more to keep their company connected even when their teams are disparate and isolated. Alongside this, the recruitment process has had to adapt to the new “normal”. Whether you like to admit it or not, social media has already been a massive presence in the recruitment process. Prospective employers have already been looking up their candidates to get an idea of their interests and their public image. On the other hand, individuals have been following the companies on social media to try and get a feel for company values and culture. This has become more important to the recruitment process since the interview and induction has moved online. Unless a virtual tour is offered, a candidate can no longer gather important stimulus and input from the offices themselves. Conversely, the candidate has the ability to limit the company’s view of them through the use of webcams and control of the interviewing environment. It stands to reason that the online social and personality presences of both parties is important to the recruitment process.

For the individual, it is key that their social media profiles

are regularly audited so that, at least throughout the recruitment process, they are parading a positive (and honest!) image before prospective employers. Similarly, the companies should make sure that their values and culture are accurately and positively portrayed on their LinkedIn and Facebook pages. This will help ensure the employer and individual are matched to create a long and bountiful relationship.

Simple, descriptive, and accurate job specifications and CVs With candidates and employers being unable to meet face to face in any setting, formal or otherwise, there is now no room for ambiguity. For the candidate, recruitment specialist and the company looking to hire, it is important that all documents leave no room for interpretation. Or, at very least, there is an open, obvious and approachable route to ask questions or clarify points. The easiest way, for everyone, to reduce the ambiguity of the recruitment process, is to simplify the language used when creating your CV or job specifications. The recruitment process is only hampered by complicated grammar and language. No matter what position needs to be filled, it is imperative that both the employer and candidate fully understand each other as swiftly as possible if they are to begin a

Social media has already been a massive presence in the recruitment process. Prospective employers have already been looking up their candidates to get and idea of their interests and their public image.

12 productive discussion.

One of the biggest problems you might have, is trusting the process. Unlike the traditional interview process, there isn’t an awful lot guidance or data on created on the online interview process. In fact, it some ways, the “new normal” might pose some personal security risks.

It is important that the security and safety of both the company are protected throughout the interview and induction processes. 1. If any recordings of the interview are being taken, it stands to reason that they be made available for all parties involved in the recruitment process. 2. The video conferencing software used must be secure. If anyone is uncomfortable using particular software, then an alternative should be discussed or provided. 3. No data or recordings should be made or kept without the consent of all parties.

However, if you put together your interview, all care should be taken to create a transparent and secure process that protects all parties.

Beyond the interview There are a number of other steps, used in traditional recruitment processes, that have now become even more important: 1. Personality profiles/

psychometric testing. A decision on whether to hire someone should never be based solely on the results of such. However, they can give a fascinating insight to the personality of the individual and they’re often frighteningly accurate. Similarly the role can be profiled by the company and the two matched up. These can be easily completed online in circa 10-20 minutes with reports then generated in seconds. 2. Testimonials and references. Being able to read what former

managers and colleagues have to say about the candidate gives such a fantastic insight into the candidate – after all these people have worked with them for a reasonable period of time and have got to know them inside out. Does the candidate volunteer references early in the process, or do you have to go hunting them down at the end – by which case it’s probably too late. Are they really detailed or just a “statement of employment” – becoming more common these days and nowhere near as useful. LinkedIn profiles have a section for testimonials – but it’s hard to know exactly what’s the truth. Even better are verbal testimonials ahead of short-list or offer stage. 3. Presentations – yes, typically used as part of the interview process, but again we’d argue even more important now. Set a clear topic or question and then precise guidelines as to what’s expected, what format and how long.

The virtual induction There are people out there that have started new jobs during the last 6 months that not only have never met their manager but also have never visited the office and met their colleagues. A structured induction is important in normal times, but this now becomes critical when you can’t meet. Proper information must be provided, working IT hardware and software and then a number of key support people or mentors or buddies to help guide the new starter through those all-important initial weeks and months. Reports from the field have said that in a bizarre way a virtual induction does have its benefits. The new starter is not overwhelmed in the first day/week with too many introductions, names to remember and meetings. BMJ November 2020

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