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  • Writer's pictureMrwa Abbas

Recruiting in 2020

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

Much like everything else in 2020, the way we recruit candidates for new positions has been impacted immensely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I had the opportunity to sit with our Superstar Recruiter, Jordan, to talk about the changes he’s faced and how he’s managed to navigate through them. Jordan has been in IT recruitment for the past 5 years and has had the opportunity to see the nature of recruitment evolve firsthand.

While discussing the different hurdles recruiters face these days, Jordan had pointed out that recruitment styles have had to change fundamentally. Previously, the approach taken by recruiters was more of a reactionary type, where the practice was to simply post the position on a job board, wait and watch as resumés would fly in, and peel off the resumés of any viable candidates for the open position. Though that was the approach taken pre-pandemic, it’s become evident that the recruitment process has become very relationship centered. With the way our dependence on technology has been growing and evolving, and as more tech-companies enter the field, the competition has become as fierce as it’s ever been. In order to compete and ensure you are recruiting the most viable candidates, candidate-nurturing has become an extremely important practice. Establishing a strong connection and rapport with candidates is going to define your path to success.

The pandemic has forced many to adapt and implement additional changes in the way we recruit and hire. Here is what Jordan had to say about how recruiting in the midst of a pandemic has been for him:

1. How much of an impact do you think the pandemic has had on hiring and recruiting?

A fairly big impact, especially for companies. Companies’ are a little bit closer now to their budgets and not spending as much because we don’t know what’s going to happen.

When it comes to candidates I’m finding that they’re more reluctant to move to another position. To put it simply, because they are not being pushed out of their current positions, they feel safe, and are therefore not looking to move. I’ve talked to a number of people even for internal positions and their responses were along the lines of “I’m not looking right now, not during the Covid-19 pandemic”, or “I’m happy where I am”.

2. What have you seen change due to the pandemic?

I would say that people are more flexible in terms of interviewing, most likely because they’re at home and they don’t need to sneak away from a desk. I’ve noticed getting people to agree to and schedule an interview is a lot easier than it used to be if they’re interested in the position. I also believe that’s why we’re moving towards the use of video during interviews, because you can still meet the interviewer from the comfort of your own home and manage your time better.

3. Do you think this impact is permanent, or what aspects do you think will be permanent?

I definitely think the opportunity to work from home as a permanent set up is probably here to stay. It’s obviously good to have co-working spaces and such so you can meet with colleagues and have personalized interactions but as far as the day-to-day business goes, I think it’s here to stay. Working from home means  saving on office space and utilizing technologies you already have available to you more. There’s also going to be more technology  coming out for this shift alone.

4. How has Innosphere responded to the pandemic from a Recruitment perspective?

They’ve done a really great job! As soon as we were placed on lockdown in March, we quickly transitioned into remote work as a company and we were still able to fill all the internal positions we were recruiting for. Even though it took a little bit to set things up in terms of the interaction, we were still able to continue with collaboration and I think we’re on the right path!

5. Are there any tools or programs that Innosphere has adopted since the pandemic? How has that worked out so far?

We started using a tool called Spark Hire. Spark Hire is basically a one way or live video software. So what I mean by that is that you can set up a list of questions and have the candidate record themselves answering the questions or you set the day and time to have the live interview with the candidate and you can record and pause during the interview. That way you can present it to the client, or internally which ended up working really well with one of our internal positions.

Spark Hire is working out fantastic. It’s convenient because the candidate can do it on their own if it’s a one-way video. If it’s live you still need to coordinate but what I like about it is that you can pause and record when speaking to the candidate so you can put together a video to present. And it saves a ton of time! Basically you send out the invitation, and they have a set date by when they need to complete it by. You get live updates in terms of when they opened it, when they start it, and finish it and you can just set aside 5 minutes or however long the video is to watch it. It doesn’t take too much time out of your day.

6. Talk to me about recruiting the Scrum Master role specifically. Was it particularly challenging?

It was fairly challenging just simply because it was in the heart of when the pandemic was ramping up. The timing was extremely unfortunate. We found a lot of great people, but a lot of them just turned around and said “hey, we’re not looking at this point in time”. We were able to leverage our LinkedIn network and we found a great referral who ended up accepting the position. I would say in terms of hiring for Scrum Masters in the past, by comparison, this was by far one of the most difficult ones.

7. While recruiting Scrum Masters, were you facing difficulties because of the nature of the skills that were needed for the position or because it was remote recruiting?

I think that it’s probably due to the type of personality we were looking to recruit and the market itself at that time. The market alone was extremely slim and because we were very particular in the type of person we needed, it took a while to find them.

8. How did you identify candidates with this unique skill set? What were some of the things you looked for?

I used LinkedIn and casted my net wide. I started talking to people who came from software companies and I got great referrals from some people as well. Some people worked out and some didn’t.

It just so happened that someone I had talked to in the past reached out saying they had someone who’s awesome and was looking for work too. I ended up speaking with him and it was kind of one of those things where you knew right away that this was the person we were looking for. Sure enough he met with all the teams and clients and they really liked him! We’re happy to have him on our team!

9. How long did hiring [Tom] take? Were there any bumps on the road? Lessons learned?

It took just under 2 months. There were a couple requirement changes on the client’s end which we had to switch up. We were also rolling out the new Spark Hire set-up which took a while. Since it was such a heavy time during the pandemic, we were just trying to find different ways to interview candidates. First I started out interviewing with the President and then it shifted to just myself because it was taking too much time on the President’s side. So I just did it on my own and I did the live interview via Spark Hire. We ended up saving a ton of time for the organization and were finding the right candidate while developing good rapport with other candidates as well.

10. Are there any roles that you find are more difficult to hire remotely for than others?

Not that I’ve come across. Remote is not something we can fight anymore. It’s here. It’s now. A lot of companies don’t even want people in the office, so I think it’s just something we are going to have to get used to. I haven’t noticed a difference with any specific role. It just comes down to the fact that some people would rather be in an office. It’s very rare that someone will turn down a position because of the remote work, but it has happened.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year, it’s that change is inevitable. Remote work and remote hiring are here to stay. Although there may be some hiccups along the way, technology allows us to stay on top of our recruitment game. With the many different tools and practices available, recruiters can reevaluate, redefine, and reconceive their remote hiring processes to ensure a more efficient hiring process for them and the candidates.

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