• Laura Rushton

Remote Recruitment - Risk Reversal


Westray Recruitment Group's Matthew Hickford offers some practical tips to reduce risk when recruiting remotely.

Recruitment may be the furthest thing from your minds in the current climate, and that’s perfectly understandable. Depending on your industry sector and offering, your focus might be purely on surviving, we sincerely hope that you do.

For many businesses however, now is a time of opportunity. Not for profiteering, no brand could survive that bad press; but an opportunity to continue doing great work that directly or indirectly has a positive impact during this crisis.

For those, recruitment may not just be necessary but vital as they ramp up their efforts. Take Food or Pharmaceutical manufacturers for example. Their work is more vital than ever and demand could far outstrip supply unless those risks are mitigated (and the public stop panic-buying). Increasing the rate of production is of course, not as simple as flipping a switch and is made even more complex by the enhanced health & safety regulations in place, and the need for social-distancing, for example. Increasing production involves more material and more packaging and therefore more strain on machinery and those operating it, as well as countless other considerations we wouldn’t even think of.

The point is, in some industries, recruitment will play an important part in business continuity and of course, it’s made more difficult in the lockdown we find ourselves in. So, here are some tips on how to reverse the risk of recruiting remotely, whether or not you engage with a recruitment consultancy:

  • Set-out clear guidelines on what a good hire would look like in the current climate, not what you’d usually look for. In the past, you may have typically recruited at the junior end of a market where you can coach and mould. Practiced hands, whilst more expensive, inevitably bring more to the table and can offer a more immediate and profound impact


  • Conduct telephone interviews initially. Video is everywhere right now, and we’ll come onto that, but on receipt of a decent CV, get them on the phone and have a chat. Understanding their situation and making sure they understand yours is easiest via an informal chat without the need for formality

  • Profile and/or Skills-test that shortlist. Candidate profiling is making a resurgence at the moment and having it carried out can provide an in-depth insight into candidates you know you’re interested in. Many are particularly detailed and will help you consider each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. Don’t rely on CVs to tell the whole story. It may be worth testing candidates in some way. Whether that’s a basic numeracy and literacy assessment for entry-level roles or more specific scenario-based testing regarding how they’d handle a certain challenge, make sure you’re testing claimed knowledge rigorously

  • Conduct video interviews, and where possible, record them too, that way you have them to refer back to as deliberations take place. Stress-test the platform you choose ahead of time and ensure all relevant stakeholders are aware of the need to be available. Brief the candidate that you’ll likely introduce them to multiple stakeholders within the business and get impressions and feedback from those stakeholders

  • Be honest about your brand and challenges, no candidate expects perfection, least of all now, so if you’re bringing them in to help with a challenge, tell them, the good ones will embrace it and value the honesty, whilst filtering out those unsuited to the challenge. Instil the importance of your brand and reputation, take pride in it, and make it clear that new hires are expected to passionately represent that brand.

  • Understand your ability to onboard remotely, there’s no point in going through the process and making an offer only to have to indefinitely delay the start. If you can promote your ability to onboard remotely in the initial advert and then follow it through when you’re at offer/acceptance, potential applicants will have faith in the opportunity and be more willing to engage. Make it personal, have the CEO or MD personally welcome them, acknowledge the current climate and your expectations of them during it, but also hopes for them for the future too. Set up a video call to introduce them to colleagues, essentially, treat them like they’re in the office, even though they aren’t

As technology allows more and more to be done remotely and on an agile basis, we feel it unlikely that businesses will completely revert to expecting constant workplace presence once the current crisis is over. Getting that right, will rely heavily on being able to do as much as possible remotely, including recruitment.

We hope you found some value in the above. If you’d like any more information or free advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via 0191 4926622. We’re here to help. Because people are your more powerful resource.

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