It started off with handshakes being outlawed. Then it was in-person meetings. Then it was being in a office, full stop. No small groups; no large groups; the least amount of human interaction possible. This is pretty problematic in a “people” business, such as recruitment.
What about candidate registrations? Job interviews? Client meetings? Internal catch ups? All of these rely – or used to – on being face-to-face, able to read the other’s body language or catch a glimpse of their working environment.
But, with all of that stripped away, recruitment went “virtual”. The entire process – from first meeting a candidate to offering them a job – has been conducted largely via video call. And so, this begs the question – when “normality” returns, will our appetite for face-to-face meetings return, also? Do candidates and clients prefer doing things virtually or are they missing “the human touch”?
It’s clear that we’re not going to “get back to normal” straight away, meaning that recruitment will no doubt continue to operate remotely or begin by taking a blended approach. There are pros and cons for having the pendulum swing fully either way. Here are my thoughts on each:
Virtual / Remote Recruitment
In a high volume environment, video calls and using video interview technology is a huge time saver. You can watch videos at a time that suits you, as opposed to trying to get 20 candidates in an office in one day. It can also open up your talent pools – it doesn’t matter where a person is located as we can all log on from just about anywhere.
From the candidate’s side, video interviews can feel less intimidating as you’re not actually face-to-face with a person, so you may well get a more relaxed and natural result. It’s also less of an impact on their day – no need to travel into a recruitment office to register when you can do so remotely, avoiding using holidays up or paying for travel.
However, video calls may prove a bit more challenging to conduct in a busy office.
Getting to meet someone in person can tell you so much more about them than just seeing their head and shoulders on a screen. Does their body language intimate that they are really interested and engaged? Are they a confident speaker? Does their personality shine through?
If you are interviewing a candidate on-site, it lets them picture themselves working within that environment. Perhaps they’ll catch a glimpse of where they’ll be working or who they’ll be working with. All of that can work in a clients favour.
Physically having to show up in person also demands more commitment – on both sides – meaning you are likely to see less “ghosting” as a result. It’s probably easier to ignore a video call.
However, group interviews or handshakes may well be a long way off, yet.
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