With the rise of the pandemic and subsequent restrictions, the last year has had a dramatic effect on nearly all aspects of life. Lockdown has forced everyone to stop and take stock and one of the unexpected side effects of this is change; whilst some people are eager to return to business as usual, others want to embrace a new way.
The business world is one such area that is changing. Many businesses and employees have discovered the benefits of working remotely and it’s likely not everyone will return to the office. However, what about hiring new employees?
During lockdown, most people were working from home and this meant a move into the virtual landscape. Whether it was meetings, presentations or interviews, apps such as Skype and Zoom became incredibly popular. Interestingly, virtual hiring is likely to continue as a survey from Cielo found that a whopping 82% of hiring managers want to continue with this approach, even after the pandemic is over. The benefits of virtual hiring is that it tends to be faster and cheaper than traditional in-person meetings, plus it removes location and travel as a potential barrier.
There are even different types of virtual hiring to consider. For example, many managers will screen their potential employees using asynchronous interviews. This involves the applicant answering prearranged questions and then sending this video over as a pre-recorded interview. If the employer likes what they see, they can then organise a live virtual interview. Although convenient, virtual interviews do involve setting aside time and a dedicated space, and if the applicant isn’t suitable for the position, this is time that is wasted. Therefore, by screening interviewees at the beginning of the process, you’re prioritising time and money.
Time away from the office has allowed employers to assess traditional hiring techniques and whether they’re still relevant in the modern world. For example, a common pre-requisite for many applications is experience. Of course, in some professions, experience isn’t just an added benefit, it’s crucial. However, in many workplaces, you can learn “on the job” and although experience may be nice to have, it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker. This is backed up by a meta-analysis of 81 different studies (from Alan Grant) which found that there isn’t a clear correlation between experience and job performance.
The problem with only accepting applicants with a certain amount of experience is that it bars many potential employees who could be a fantastic addition to your company. After all, you often need experience to get experience and many employees find themselves in this impossible situation. Considering the economy is suffering and many people are out of work, being flexible with issues such as experience is not only helpful to those looking for a job but also beneficial for business.
Onboarding is a process in which new employees are introduced to the business. There isn’t a set routine, each company is different but usually it involves information on salary, training, benefits, introductions to work mates and a general overview of the business culture. Interestingly, another apparent change in the corporate world is the move from in-person onboarding programs to virtual alternatives. Whilst many companies may have shifted to virtual onboarding schemes during lockdown, it’s another change that is likely to remain post-pandemic. This is due to the benefits of virtual onboarding. For example, it’s easier and more convenient than in-house training, it can involve more people at one time and it can be spread over a longer period, allowing for shorter, more manageable meetings. Also, just like with the interview process, virtual onboarding can include both live and asynchronous video sessions, again saving time for everyone involved.
The changes we have experienced during lockdown are likely to leave a lasting impression on the world around us, especially within business. It’s only in the coming months and years that we will know which changes will become permanent.