What 2020 has meant for recruitment

2020 began with hope, with a hiring plan, and with intentions of further improving recruitment. We understood clearly that feedback not only after a rejection, but also after every interview, is well appreciated by candidates and that improving our Candidate Experience and Employer Brand would help us hire better and faster.

Instead, 2020 has taught us that the plan for the company year can change in the blink of an eye and that many workforce structures can absolutely be adapted to being remote. But we have also witnessed how recruiters froze their hiring process, how they have slowly restarted them, and how despite hard times they have been fighting to provide an even better Candidate Experience.

Let’s hear what they have to say first-hand!

Iria Mavji, Human Resources Director at GuideSmiths

So far in 2020, we have hired 35 developers. Even though we were already a remote-first company, with COVID-19 we’ve learned a lot about doing other tasks such as onboardings remotely. Before the global pandemic, this procedure was normally carried out face to face.

Our strengths have been reaffirmed and we have learned how to boost candidate confidence in the company and earn their trust along the hiring process. The experience has of course been quite challenging, and how we overcame it represents the spirit of GuideSmiths very well. We were able to change our routines, strengthen our brand, and adapt to the needs of our people and the market.

Despite the uncertainty of the situation, we knew we had to work together more than ever and the management decisions have been very exciting. On top of that, we’ve had the chance to meet very interesting people that were affected by other companies’ layoffs and offer them jobs that were up to their expectations.

Ramon Egea, Head of Talent Acquisition & Development at JobandTalent

By the end of 2019, we had improved our NPS from -13 to 46, and we continue measuring it for hiring processes that are not frozen due to the COVID situation. But how does the Candidate Experience change in times of COVID with the newly 100% remote hiring processes?

  • Focus on communication and transparency
  • Adapt your recruitment to meet safety requirements
  • Place emphasis on the human touch
  • Onboard new hires effectively

Improving candidate experience during COVID when you are in a hiring freeze can seem like a contradiction, but it is not. You must think about the long term. The critical point is to build a talent pipeline for the future by cultivating relationships with interested and interesting candidates. But how?

  • Use the golden rule: transparency
  • Create quality content: blogs, LinkedIn posts
  • Engage in frequent, high-quality contact with target profiles
  • Systematization: create a CRM system to record candidate status

It is surprising to see that when we do this, we already have pre-selected candidates for the role whenever we open a hiring process. This is proof of how taking care of the candidate experience can save you time.

Antonieta Hurtado, People Experience & Talent Acquisition Specialist at Doctoralia 

For us, the process has changed completely since we were used to running our processes in person. We were not prepared for remote hiring processes, and so in order to make the switch we had to rethink the whole process and implement some changes. I’ve led many processes this year during the pandemic. At first it was difficult to adapt, but the Workable tool has helped us readjust our processes to the new situation.

The main changes were:

  • No longer conducting in-person interviews, using Google Meet or Zoom instead.
  • Making every process remote-friendly.
  • We used to invite candidates to a trial day so they could visit our offices and get a real feel for what the environment is like, meet other developers and colleagues, and take the coding test. Now we do everything online and we miss that warm experience a bit. However, we continue doing the trial day, instead having them meet colleagues online for a coffee or tea and carrying out the coding test remotely.

Before the pandemic, employees would have the chance to work remotely one day a week, but now we are fully remote. Our plan is to implement more of a hybrid model once the current situation is over. I think the most complicated thing for candidates has been taking the decision to change jobs in the middle of a pandemic, considering the uncertainty out there and how vulnerable the market is to changes. I’m aware that many companies have gone through lay-offs and because of that we have been lucky enough to meet great people.

Gianluca Rosania, Global Technical Recruitment Lead at Glovo

When it comes to remote onboarding, it is important to make sure that the person is not feeling alone or lost. Here one of our values speaks for ourselves: CARE. We start strong with pre-onboarding. As recruiters, we get the candidate excited about their future position before even starting the onboarding process: we make videos, communicate a lot, share all the information needed, and also give them support, for example telling them that we are going to help them connect with different groups of people. Then we focus on collaboration, where each member of the team that plays a role in the onboarding process is perfectly in sync so candidates feel comfortable and feel that this will be the best job of their lives. We tailor the experience for each hire, we use checklists to keep new hires engaged, and we provide constant feedback and metrics.

Remote onboarding is one of the biggest challenges that we are all facing. The first key is communicating: people need to feel supported, so it is important that everyone is keenly aware of how everything works. The second key is to have a channel for asynchronous communication, as there’s no need to have meetings for everything.

The third key is the onboarding checklist, so people can mark when they pass from one part of the onboarding to the next.

The fourth key is offering ways to engage hires, for example using trivia, games on Kahoot, and Zoom breakout rooms, among others.

Also, in order to help employees deal with stress, we use a custom-made internal survey called Glovoice that Oscar helps us to get answered. Through this, we gather information about how employees feel about the company and also obtain feedback on managers/leaders. We have launched several things, one being the Glovo for Glovo initiative, in which basically the Glovo employees share the different skills that they have with other employees in order to relieve stress, organizing things such as cooking classes, yoga classes, music classes, etc. Another one is unlimited vacations and full flexibility, so they know that we are here for them, supporting them 100% of the time. We just launched another program called Wellfeeling, which is a program where you can ask for emotional or psychological support, access training, talk with external speakers, and share testimonials between collaborators.

Lucía Etxabe, HR & Office Manager at Bebanjo

During COVID, we halted all the hiring processes. We thought it was a good idea since we wanted to guarantee job security for the new employees. What worked well was being transparent about our decisions and always keeping the candidates informed. Everyone was grateful for the transparency.

After a couple of months, we started hiring again and 5 new employees are now part of our team.

Jose Martín-Corral, HR & Recruitment at CARTO

At CARTO Spain we would normally have 30% of our employees working remotely and 70% from our offices in Madrid and Sevilla, but with the current situation, 90% of us are now working remotely.

As for the tools we use to make this process flow nicely, the most important part is that we create a recruitment guidebook for every job opening. This is a guide for everyone involved in the process (HR, interviewers, test reviewers, etc.), so they know in advance what the steps are and they have all the information close at hand. This includes who is going to participate, what questions are going to be asked during each phase of the process, what the most important things to look for are, etc. It is a very well-structured process and this is something that is especially important when hiring remotely. We use an ATS, so we are able to see what candidates are in the process with just a glance and to add the notes we consider necessary. With remote recruitment, the coding tests are more important than ever. With in-person interviews you’ll have more information about the candidate, but it is also easier to be biased. In this way, holding remote interviews ends up being more efficient because you only focus on those things that really matter. In the end, for us, a good fit doesn’t mean that the candidate is someone you’d like to go out for a beer with, but rather someone you are excited to work with.