Virtual Recruitment. For real.

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Years ago, I had a conversation with the CEO of the company I worked at about Virtual Recruitment. It was predicated around me wanting to work a bit more from home, but still deliver business goals. My family was young and the ability to be involved and get to events or even school pick-up was pretty important to me. We came to the conclusion, with a little bit of leading that all I needed to do my job effectively was an internet connection and a phone. That was probably 10 years ago and the internet was a little different to what it is now. Luckily enough, this CEO was forward thinking and trusting enough to go with the idea. He wasn’t let down. 

That said, post that appointment, I went to another organisation who were not so flexible. Being physically present was more important than delivering it seemed. If you weren’t visible, how would they know you were actually working? “This is the way we’ve always done it” felt like the company slogan. 

Looking back with my COVID-19 lens on, I think I know which organisation pivoted with its people quickest. Those who adopted digitally without fear (if it wasn’t obvious).

The way business’ have jumped on the online bandwagon, embracing a variety of platforms and ideas has seen the way we work change dramatically. We’re online schooling, we’re using video tools, chat tools, music streaming, tv/movie streaming, online collaboration tools, all are common place now, think about how you were operating 10 years ago, and now look at your desktop. Mind blown? Especially in the Talent Acquisition realm. Companies have had to become technically courageous just to get things done, and whilst Talent Acquisition haven’t exactly led the way, our ways of working have evolved tremendously. 

As a function we’ve been lucky in the fact that there have been so many vendors innovating, seeing gaps in the market or areas that can be improved (let’s face it we all know there is a lot) and have been building solutions and (in some cases) waiting patiently for the business world to catch up. The Human Resources, Recruitment technology fields have long been the sweet spot for angel investors and venture capitalists, logic dictates that eventually business will see a better way of doing things. Didn’t it? 

That said, I’ve sadly seen many good ideas go broke with the market not being ready or not seeing the value. COVID-19 has sped up this evolution to a mind melting pace. For example “To zoom” someone or “do you want to zoom” are accepted phrases now, and we all know what it means. Imagine saying that to your parents a year ago, what would they have thought? 

Talent Acquisition professionals are embracing technology to uplift their functions. Some have been forced by geography, some by a lack of resources or purely by economic forces to review what can happen.

As an old timer in this space, it’s hard to imagine that we are now hiring people who haven’t met a single company representative face to face. And yet…. here we are.

Video screening and interviewing has increased itself to be a more common place, both candidates and businesses have gained comfort in this space. Now Artificial Intelligence (AI) enthusiasts are building (and selling) taking these ideas to their natural extension with their technology and gaining market share. Logical really. 

Assessment centres have pivoted. No more is this area just littered with psyche’s giving their two cents. More and more vendors are sprouting up to assist in candidate assessment, to save time, people involvement and remove bias. The idea of auditioning to get a job essentially isn’t new, it’s been happening in the theatre and entertainment areas for years. I was inspired years ago by Ross Clennett when he recommended a book called “The Rare Find” by George Anders, I built a whole campaign around this concept. Now we see gamification, a concept that has always appealed to the nerd in me, gaining a stronger foothold in the market. Seeing companies bravely instilling gamification in their process shows a real maturity in the market. 

Automated Reference Checking is becoming a crowded market, much to the happiness of every Recruiter out there. No more phone tag, or mystery conversations with person’s unknown to verify someone’s ability. These new tools help verify, detect fraud and in some cases give a more thorough understanding of an individual due to their nature of anonymity of the referees, forgoing the fear of litigation a lot of referees feel. I remember one referee telling me that he was scared to say something bad about someone but he would “thoroughly recommend” said individual “to his competitors”. Take that how you will. With anonymity assured I’m not sure my “reading between the lines” skills would have been required. 

Even onboarding is being disrupted by clever innovators, who saw the opportunity to automate this step and enhance the candidate experience at the same time. Companies building virtual processes to take all that pesky paperwork and process out of someone’s initial experience starting with a company. 

COVID-19 has pushed companies to explore these options for the betterment of the function. Whilst the market is hard at the moment. When the dust settles and the sun comes up again, I, for one, am excited about what the new age “Talent Acquisition” function will entail. 

This is all happening now, the future is here. I hope you are ready. 

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