Hiring Quality Staff in a Changing Environment
Within the work environment, there has been a radical shift over the past year or so. According to Stanford University, 42% of the workforce is now working from home in the USA. Statista shows a similar trend in Spain, quoting the remote working contingent at 36.6%.
Many businesses expect to keep working remotely through 2021 and some large tech companies have announced that the shift may well be permanent.
In Spain, even smaller businesses that had a strict office only policy prior to Covid, have had to rethink their working practices in order to conform with Covid restrictions, maintain their workforce, and reduce pandemic induced concerns amongst their workers.
Hiring Quality Staff for Remote Working
Remote working requires a somewhat different set of skills and personality traits compared to conventional office-based work.
A Proactive Approach
Proactive or “self-starter” people are generally better suited to remote working.
A self-starter will look to find some productive work to do as opposed to waiting for management direction. They are also more likely to be solution-oriented. When problems arise, they will take a proactive approach to solving them rather than complain or wait for management to step in.
One way to determine how pro-active a worker is would be to ask them how they would react if they didn’t have too much work to do and how they would busy themselves? Would they request special projects from their manager or perhaps offer to lend a hand to their colleagues? It’s an indirect line of questioning that can reveal how self-directed they are.
Experience is also at a premium when hiring remote staff. An experienced candidate will have enough knowledge to work independently. Experience in their specific role and being able to work with the technology used in your office is also a compelling advantage.
The environment is also a highly important factor, as having a work area at home where you can detach yourself from distractions and work in an uninterrupted and noise-free environment is not always easy. Traffic noise, children, machinery, pets etc. can all play a part in making homeworking difficult. In essence, everyone is different with varied noise management capabilities, so it is important that potential remote workers can operate within their environment to at least the same efficiency and productivity levels that they could if they were working in the office.
Proficient Writing Ability
With the increased use of email and different online messaging systems, we are more reliant on written communication than ever before. Non-verbal communication via these platforms carries a risk of being two dimensional and can often convey facts or opinions without the ability to convey emotive feeling or real meaning, so someone that writes clearly and concisely will save time and eliminate potential misunderstandings. Being able to hit the right tone is also important. There can be a fine line between appearing efficient and sounding abrupt.
A candidate’s C.V. is a good place to start but may have been prepared by an agency or other external source, so it is good to consider asking for a cover letter to get a sample of their writing. And keep in touch throughout the interview process to get a sense of their written communication style.
Remote employees are obviously not under the watchful eye of management. It is therefore even more imperative to find people you can trust to work their hours and be productive on their own. It can be hard to get a feel for trustworthiness over video conferences. But a helpful question for an interviewee is “what’s the best and worst things you have done in your life” as this can evoke interesting responses that can give you an idea of how honest and genuine they are.
Follow through on reference checks. You may even consider a background check.
Ability to Prioritize
You need candidates who have a sense of what is really important and who can organize their time productively. You can vet for this quality by asking potential hires to detail how they managed a large project or specific situations in the past.
A Challenging Time to Recruit and Find Quality Personnel
Despite the large pool of applicants, hiring has never been more challenging. Recruiters must leverage a variety of different processes and tactics to find the right candidates.
Respect Physical Distancing
Many governments have loosened restrictions on socialising and movement in recent months. However, some candidates still feel uneasy about physical contact and non-essential travel. Wherever possible, make your interview and onboarding process remote. Virtual tours and coffee meetings can also help assess the culture fit while keeping candidates safe at home.
New hires are getting cold feet and ghosting employers at record rates. In workforce terms, ghosting means the new hire never shows up for the first day. One way to avoid this is to maintain regular communication between the point of hire and the start date. Use the employee’s preferred communication channel and find reasons to make contact with them regularly. Speeding up the onboarding process will also improve retention. Don’t leave weeks of silence between the interview and the orientation.
Best Practices for Hiring During the Pandemic
Hiring during a pandemic is challenging. But every business has the opportunity to emerge from this crisis with a stronger workforce. Recruit the people that will thrive in today’s challenging environment and in the post-COVID world. Appeal to candidates by providing a safe, flexible workspace that fosters human communication either remotely or office-based.
Use a professional and well-established Recruitment Agency. Yes, there will be a fee involved but they will do all the work for you, taking into account all the skills and experience required for each specific role, together with the right personality traits that will match the position, the company culture and management fit, and the working environment, whether it be home or office.
A professional Recruitment Agency will gain a good understanding of all the above, advertise the roles across multiple platforms, assess the resumes, telephone screen the applicants, meet or video interview suitable candidates, carry out personality profiling and reference checks, and submit tailored profiles to you the clients. This means that you should only need to carry out final interviews with highly vetted shortlisted candidates.
At JobFinder Spain this typically results in our clients seeing only two final candidates in order to hire the right one. This also means that there is a far better chance of hiring the right candidate first time and reducing the constant turnover of staff. When the time and cost of hiring and re-hiring without using a professional recruiter is taken into account, the fee from the recruiter can seem highly cost-effective and result in significant savings, as well as building a stronger workforce and better staff retention for the future.