Face-to-face interviews used to be an indispensable process of recruitment, but with the digital storm COVID-19 has brought about, virtual interviews are only one of the many changes that have happened to the recruitment industry in the times where people's mobility has been restricted.
In our webinar “How to Source the Best and Most Diverse Talent in the New Normal” on September 23rd, we had recruitment experts from PepsiCo, Capgemini, Volvo & SGS discussing the digital transformation that has happened to the recruitment industry in the past few months, and how to source the best and the most diverse talent in the new normal.
The Biggest Challenges
A lot of companies’ attraction activity was quite digital-focused before COVID came around, in terms of companies’ presence on social media, digital interactions and programmatic ads and online events and webinars. However, with the restrictions in doing things face to face. The biggest change for recruiters has been in the assessment selection piece, which is, digital interviewing. And it was the assessment center which was normally face to face that's now become digital. And that's been the most significant change and transition that happened in March.
The advantages of being fully digital
Before COVID-19 came around, if we wanted to organize a face to face final stage interview session for instance, it would normally take us about two to three weeks to sort that out, particularly if you had to get people to a certain location in Central Europe, get everybody's diaries aligned in terms of the people who would attend the interviews. And we have quite a lot of logistics to sort out, but in this day and age where we're doing everything online, we're doing everything digital problems just completely nicely evaporated. “And the good thing is, we're not having to wait around now to get things done and to get things moving forwards. All we need to do is quite simple, jump into teams or zoom, which has its advantages in other ways.” - Rob Romans, Global Talent Acquisition Professional at SGS. Therefore, the recruitment processes will be completed in a considerably quicker amount of time. And that does create capacity for taking on more work.
“I think digital allows us as employers, but also the individuals to have much more frequent less time consuming and probably more rich conversations than we would have had to have on campus, or, indeed in schools.” - Dan, Attraction & Recruitment Manager at Capgemini.
The interesting survey Capgemini conducted
Capgemini has conducted a survey asking candidates who have been to both virtual and face-to-face assessments process, which way of assessment would they prefer if they are given the same role, same location, same salary, the exact same opportunities in front of them.
And interestingly what the assumption was that perhaps the candidates would be fairly split and evenly split, but actually only 19% of the early career audience were actively preferring face to face. Over 40% actively said that they would definitely prefer virtual that could be based on the experience they have with us or their employers virtually. But that was a bigger percentage than Capgemini expected.
What happened for PepsiCo?
PepsiCo had all the agenda ready for their campus visit that is dependent on face to face interactions. It was really challenging to suddenly have to adapt to a more digital approach, they had to rethink and see all their live events to go virtual yet still achieve the same results as they would have achieved with the initial plan.
However, PepsiCo managed to make the shift very quickly. They organized various virtual recruitment fairs focused on early career. In spring, they engaged with students from more than 80 schools, which would never have been possible if the activities were offline.
“Basically only virtually you would be able to see many Universities at the same time because normally for live events, you will go to some specific universities to attend the fair. In the digital events we organized, we e-met students from all across Europe using different devices, and that was very effective.” - Maria Aimilia Katsanou, Talent Acquisition Campus Projects - Europe at PepsiCo
PepsiCo wanted a more creative and innovative way of handling the recruitment process, and that was when Appetite Creative Soul-utions stepped in. Appetite Creative designed a web app that directs users from Agorise, a talent acquisition platform to PepsiCo’s own app, where users go through different entertaining games that serve the purposes such as testing candidates’ knowledge of PepsiCo. Each users’ performance will be available in a dashboard and PepsiCo’s talent acquisition team will be able to move some candidates forward to the next stages depending on their game performance. Find out more about the games here.
“The gamification used in the early stage of recruitment avoids the bais or discrimination people could have had during the classic hiring process.” - Imene Zidi, Talent Acquisition Director at PepsiCo. Going digital has not only increased the efficiency of the recruitment process, lifted the capacity of a single career event, but also pushed PepsiCo to hit its diversity target without a hitch.
Top tips from Volvo Cars for companies that might be looking to move from outsourcing to in housing
The first question companies need to ask themselves is, what is the purpose of moving from outsourcing to in housing? Is it cost related? Is it about more cost-efficient recruitment or a more increased quality? Depending on what one is after, there are, of course, different setups to choose from.
Another thing companies need to make sure is what areas do they want these recruiters to focus on. Is it high volume, junior recruitments, or is that the bread and butter, mid-size? Depending on the areas, companies will then choose what types of recruiters they're going to hire.
The last and most important tip is to hire senior people. Because if companies go cheap when they hire recruiters, they will also get an inferior product. “Senior recruiters will cost a bit more. Yes, and it might upset some people that you bring on board recruiters who make a lot of money but your return on investment will come so much quicker. Because at the end you do get what you pay for.” - Stefan Begall, Global Head of Recruitment at Volvo Cars.
The pandemic has certainly forced the recruitment process to adopt a more digital approach, there have been some difficult moments where companies had to make the digital shift in a short period of time.
However, we can not ignore the opportunities the digital recruitment process has brought to the table, from greater efficiency - complete the recruitment process quicker and create more capacity to bias avoidance - increase the diversity of the talent pool. Taking into account all the benefits of virtual recruitment, the digital transformation might stay even when COVID-19 subsides.