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Recruiting senior roles remotely

Recruiting during Covid-19 has presented its own set of challenges, talking to Rebecca O’Connor at Allen Lane it is clear that by being agile and responsive, they have been able to maintain business as usual whilst still delivering high standards of client and candidate care.

Concerns they have heard from their clients that running a remote process from start to finish would prove impossible due to lack of the right technology in place, or impractical because it was felt that candidates wouldn’t engage with the process, have thankfully proven unfounded in many cases. The private sector has been utilising technology to its advantage for many years and parts of the Not for Profit sector are quickly having to catch up. But it doesn’t need to be costly or as time-consuming as you may think to instigate changes in your approach to recruiting remotely.

Rebecca is currently working with a small cancer charity based in London to find their next Chief Executive, and with a national educational organisation based in Bristol to find their Deputy CFO. The recruitment processes for both roles started during the lockdown phase and are now approaching the final stage.

They have been working closely with each client to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. They have continued to include every stage of the recruitment process but just approached it slightly differently by using technology to advantage. Below are just a few tips and suggestions for adopting a different approach to your recruitment process that will still ensure a successful outcome.

Embracing agile working and technology: in the absence of being able to hold meetings in person, use video technology throughout the process; from briefing the recruiter or your internal HR lead, to interviewing prospective candidates. Being able to see the person you are speaking to is a far more effective way of engaging than conference call facility. Being able to see everyone in the meeting allows for more of a natural flow to the discussion than you would get on a call.

Test, test, and test again: whichever platform you are using, make sure you take some time to test or hold a dry-run to avoid any nasty last minute technical hiccups. The devil is in the detail, so planning ahead and ensuring you all have access to the same technology (i.e. Zoom, Google meet, Microsoft TEAMS, Skype, WhatsApp to keep in touch etc.) will help to ensure as smooth a process as possible. If anyone is unfamiliar with technology, equipment or software, you may want to think about booking in a virtual training session. Many software providers offer free training, while there is plenty of content online to support you if training resources are lacking internally.

Online induction and engagement: once you get to the stage of having your candidate start with your organisation host a video call with your new starter to welcome them to the organisation. Ensuring that virtual meetings are arranged with relevant key stakeholders will ensure the candidate is engaged from the start and will help them forge important connections internally, which will be really important as we continue to work remotely.

Although the lockdown is starting to lift, the impact on our working lives will be changed forever. Business critical recruitment can still be undertaken successfully and with minimal disruption if you are willing to be flexible and adopt a few new practices.

If you would like to explore anything mentioned in this article or would like a copy of Allen Lane’s in-depth guide on remote hiring please contact Rebecca at rebeccaoconnor@allenlane.co.uk

Rebecca O’Connor

Board Practice Lead, Public and Not for Profit Sector and Executive Lead for Not for Profit