Virtual recruitment in the age of COVID-19

04 August 2020 10:00

Virtual recruitment in the age of COVID-19

COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge for recruitment, with lockdown restrictions and social distancing requirements pushing many businesses to adopt virtual hiring practices.

Rudi Kruger, General Manager of LexisNexis Data Services, says that now is actually the best time for Human Resource practitioners and talent resourcing professionals to tap into the technology platforms available to support everything from comprehensive background screening and reference checks to interviews and candidate assessments.

“COVID-19 is forcing those involved in recruitment to reassess their traditional face-to-face hiring programmes and to establish what in-person hiring processes can be adapted with the aid of technology,” he says.

“The ideal e-recruitment programme is one that harnesses technology to minimise or eliminate the risk of COVID-19 exposure among both employees and candidates, while supporting HR efforts to secure quality hires,” adds Kruger.

Some considerations to aid your business in its virtual recruitment programme are, according to Kruger:

Stay above board. Whether you outsource your recruitment or manage it in-house, having a rudimentary understanding of the legal framework governing recruitment is key. Online labour law solutions can ensure you adhere to best practices and comply with legal standards, while staying on top of the latest need-to-know information, guidance and resources as you follow the recruitment process and get the employment relationship off the ground.

Get on screen. Video calling and virtual meeting services are excellent tools to bridge the distance. This is an inexpensive way to operate as anyone with a smartphone and access to the Internet can be interviewed, limiting person-to-person contact. This also provides the candidate with the freedom to conduct an interview at their convenience without having to apply for extra leave or having to travel. A secondary upshot for the recruiter, is that working in this manner gives employers the opportunity to evaluate how comfortable candidates are in the digital space.

Consent is key

Legal compliance obligations remain paramount – digital interviews do not absolve your business of this. Use electronic consent forms to obtain permission before conducting background searches on potential employees. These forms can be turned into hard copies once the lockdown is lifted but soft copies should also be stored online for future audit processes.

Biometric fingerprints

While there are currently restrictions on capturing fingerprints, there are other methods available to conduct vital checks to ensure your candidate does not have a criminal history.

Shared Fingerprint Databases are great tools which give recruiters access to fingerprints that were previously captured and often require only the name and ID number of the candidate to provide verification. Processes are put in place before fingerprints are added to the database, ensuring trustworthy results.

Prepare to go paperless

The time is now. Establish electronic signing solutions within your business. This further eliminates the need for face to face interaction, while still allowing processes to go ahead unencumbered by waiting times. Many of these solutions already exist and have been developed in line with signature legislation, ensuring employment contracts remain well-organised and up to date.

Don’t let lockdown slow down verification

While a number of verification bodies within the country remain closed, your company can still conduct real time identity checks and credit and fraud listing searches, as well as verify academic qualifications – all with the aid of technology. Many institutions are working digitally during lockdown and are still able to provide results. For those that are completely shut, process your application as per usual to ensure you make it into the queue for verification as soon as the lockdown is lifted.

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