Remote, together

Remote, together

From interview to work life balance – how remote working is changing the face of business

The Coronavirus lockdown has forced many businesses to re-examine the ways in which they operate. Remote working – and remote recruitment – are becoming more common, presenting an array of adjustments to be made by companies in all sectors.

Remote recruitment

If remote recruitment is to work, resources become pivotal: “Most companies will need to quickly ramp up their use of video-call technology for remote recruitment, as well as customised applicant tracking systems,” says Candice Clark, Managing Director, Dynamic Talent. “Recruiters will need to apply their sound knowledge of selection methodologies more than ever before, and especially how to adapt these to a remote recruitment model,” Clark explains. “If you are recruiting with a high-quality KPI scorecard for the role and asking good competency-based questions, guided by a sound selection methodology, your chances of successfully recruiting the right person are high, even if you have never met them.”

Empathy and compassion part of mix

Greg Naidoo, Head of Talent Acquisition at Inspired Testing, says that “empathy and compassion are important in ensuring a high-quality recruitment process, particularly when it’s done remotely. “The interviewer should seek to understand the candidate first – their environment and circumstances – and then transition into the interview. This is uncharted territory that we are all discovering together, so it is imperative that we create a sense of inclusivity.”

“It would also be effective for companies to put together a basic guide for interviewees on how to use a particular video call tool, and how to prepare for a remote interview,” Clark advises.

Getting the remote interview right

As far as candidates themselves go, how can they present themselves remotely in the best professional way? Clark gives some basic tips: Show up on time, dress professionally, and be 120% prepared. “Because the interview is being done remotely, that does not mean it is more casual, or that professionalism can be overlooked.” Candidates should prepare by getting to know the video call tool they will be interviewed on, and practice on it with a friend. “Get all the technicalities out of the way at least two days before the interview – that will calm nerves and ensure putting your best foot forward on the day,” adds Clark. Candidates should also be prepared for questions around time management, taking the initiative and independent problem-solving.

Because there is still much that can be gauged from a face-to-face interview (such as non-verbal body language, which is a lot harder to assess during a remote interview), there is likely to still be a place for it. This could shift though, as technology catches up a bit more – especially in the field of virtual reality. But for firms in ICT, remote interviews are becoming standard fare.

Big brother isn’t watching

When it comes to remote working, lockdown has shown us that we don’t need everyone to be physically present all the time to do great work. “It’s not necessarily an all-or-nothing decision. It’s possible – actually essential – to find the right balance between working at the office and working from home,” says Johan Prinsloo, owner and Agile People Coach of Nu-HR. Prinsloo sees opportunity in the current situation for businesses to redesign their organisational operating system (OOS). He identifies the two crucial elements – collaboration and communication. “Any OOS redesign must ensure effective collaboration and communication between the business units, teams, and role-players at all the levels in the organisation.”

However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution and “every business will have to find a clear, workable, longer-term approach that makes sense for their unique business circumstances and their employee’s well-being,” advises Prinsloo, emphasising that this is the time to show sound leadership and re-examine your business’s needs, culture, impact on customers and what can work for employees,” Prinsloo emphasises. “Lastly,” he adds, “remember to consider whether your planned changes reflect your company values and what the business stands for.”

Are we in for a permanent change?

This seems to depend on different territories and the size of a client, says Clark. “Organisations in Europe (with more than 200 employees) are aggressively changing their model to remote working – including remote recruiting and remote onboarding. So far in South Africa, and mainly in smaller businesses, there seems to be a desire to get back to the office environment. These businesses mostly see the current situation as temporary. ICT is leading the way in the composition of a new landscape though, and we can expect more traditional sectors to move towards remote models as it becomes the accepted norm.”