Online recruitment and training – Time for a new approach

Disruptive times like the Covid-19 pandemic are impacting recruitment and training in many ways.

Digital approaches are evolving at an unprecedented pace and external circumstances now mean it may not be possible or desirable to have candidates and assessors in one place, especially where recruiting for purely remote positions.

Similarly, trainers may also not be able, or willing, to meet candidates in person where they are working remotely, so to meet the need for continuous professional development, alternative approaches may be required.

However, this means we are in a unique position where the recruitment and training industry needs to rethink how it approaches the selection of new staff members. It is time to rethink recruitment and development strategies and explore how virtual assessment solutions can help your talent strategy.

Recruitment

Applications like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack and Webex can play an important part in the initial vetting process before a possible face-to-face meeting, socially distanced and in a Covid-secure environment, can take place.

Many businesses have had to adapt to new technology to conduct business meetings, pitches and to complete the recruitment process.

Online tech is not only useful now in helping us all practise safer recruitment such as online interviews, but it could also fundamentally change how the whole business operates thanks to its ability to create realistic virtual environments that feel like an office.

Organisations are also working hard to protect their staff, employees are adjusting to working from home while dealing with school closures and cancelled events, and job seekers wonder if they’ll be able to find a new position.

Importantly, all concerned in the process must remain healthy and are taking all of the recommended steps to keep yourself, your employees and job seekers safe.

Choosing the right candidate often involves vetting, disclosure and barring checks before starting employment but it may not always be possible to meet candidates in person. It can also be difficult managing vetting and barring checks, for example, if referees have been furloughed or if you can’t check identification as you normally would.

When working with young people, children’s welfare remains paramount. Whether paid or volunteering, it’s important to make sure that everybody working with children or young people is suitable to do so.

During a recruitment drive, ensure that the job description is going to grab the attention of the right people. Avoid a short-term solution and find the right person that has exceptional candidate experience, and that will be with you for years to come. A selection of core things to consider when writing a job description include:

  • Offer the applicant an exciting and honest company description.
  • List examples of previous job experience that would be helpful in this role.
  • Explain what is needed to excel in this role.
  • Ensure that the applicant can see where they might grow in this role.
  • Honestly describe your company culture.
  • Online recruiting involves remote interviews with candidates and there are several things you can do to make this process easier:
    • Find a room in your house that has a blank or neutral background.
    • Maintain a natural flow when you speak and try to communicate as if you were in the room together.
    • Position yourself in a quiet room where you’re going to receive minimal disruption.
    • Before you start the interview be sure to send over any electronic briefs you may have to make sure the candidate knows what to expect.
  • Keeping in touch with your recruit is important, so in the days before they start, check in with them to see if they have everything they need to get started.

Structure during lockdown is really important, which is why your early recruitment process should include an itinerary for their first month or so that showcases what the new starter can expect to be doing from home.

As well as these practical considerations, employers and recruiters must take care not to accidentally introduce procedures of checks that may disadvantage or discriminate against particular groups.

This extends to the use of AI and other software that pre-checks CV’s or applications for certain characteristics. Creating a process that unfairly disadvantages a specific sex, age group or any other protected characteristic could open the business up to potential legal proceedings if a bias is uncovered.

Training 

As well as hiring new staff members, employers must maintain training within their team while working remotely.

A huge number of businesses and organisations have been forced to adopt a remote training model, with little or no time to prepare the right processes.

Like remote recruiting, training outside of the workplace has its own unique set of challenges to consider, including:

  • Lack of face-to-face supervision
  • Difficulties accessing information or support
  • Social isolation and distractions
  • Technical challenges

Regular study and training usually allow employees and candidates to bounce ideas off one another and seek out mentorship during their regular day-to-day activities, but the challenges above restrict their ability to do this, which is why it is important to adapt your approach to training.

To help review and revitalise training, here are some steps you can take:

Make and communicate an effective training schedule – All employees will benefit from guidance through a consistent and transparent schedule for training.

By clearly stipulating the time that needs to be set aside for development, employees can feel empowered to undertake the necessary steps to learn and develop.

Rather than having your training attendance reports and other important info carried across multiple files or to-do lists, think about creating a single calendar for employees, which lays out their time for development.

Make sure the right technology is in place – If you are using dedicated tools or platforms, like Zoom, then make sure everything is functional, not only for you but also for employees.

If an employee is struggling to access training resources or tools, then find out how you can support them.

This could be through the provision of additional technology or devices or may just require mentorship from another employee.

Make access simple – Communication is key to running remote training, so don’t be afraid to communicate regularly with employees about the steps they need to take to be a part of each training session.

Lay down ground rules – Training sessions with multiple employees can become confusing and messy without some ground rules, such as:

  • Keep microphone on mute when not speaking
  • To ask a question, request clarification or comment, use the chat or raise hand features on many platforms
  • Put mobile phones on mute
  • This should limit the number of disruptions and allow for more focused sessions.

Engage learners – Make sure to reward and feedback to employees about their training so that they remain engaged with the process. If someone remains quiet during sessions, direct questions to them to make sure they understand the information being provided, but also don’t be afraid to make sessions fun, where appropriate.

With so much going on within many workplaces, it is easy to overlook the need to train employees, but if you are to maintain expertise and quality within your business or organisation employees must continue to be developed.

In some professions, you may also need to look beyond your organisation to ensure that employees maintain their CPD training remotely, which is often required for many professional accreditations.

Many webinars offered by outside trainers carry CPD accreditation, so research and invest in courses or events that support your team.

Failing to develop and train your employees may also make them more likely to seek support elsewhere, perhaps through a change of employment as they seek further career progression.

With so much changing at the moment it makes sense to seek legal advice to ensure that your digital recruitment and training processes are fair, effective and compliant. To find out how our team can help, please contact us.

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