Hiring that great new addition during a Pandemic
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Hiring that great new addition during a Pandemic

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Human Resources (HR) is by far the most important and the most challenging resource for any organization. From planning, organizing, leading, and managing, human resources require constant transformation and novelty.
Hiring is a vital part of the HR function, which has its share of challenges, find the right talent for the right job at the right time; this process turned out more challenging to many organizations with the spread of Covid19. Nevertheless, finding the right talent is by far one of the single most prominent decision managers need to make as it impacts the team and the entire organization’s success or failure as a whole. Added to this, the complication of hiring remotely without even meeting the candidate in person is a unique challenge many HR teams and Hiring Managers have faced during the last year or more.
We would always prefer to meet someone in person, as human interaction is essential to us. And when it comes to hiring, as a manager, we prefer to make hiring decisions after spending considerable time interacting with the potential talent. This involves face-to-face meetings and discussions, with the objective to ascertain whether the talent has the required knowledge and skills and attributes that fits. Despite situations changing we needed to adapt to remote working,
To improve the challenges of finding the right talent while giving such individuals the best possible chance of success, Informatics Group adapted some adjustments that anyone can consider.

1) Talent Attraction Made Easy Due to Location Agnostic

Location agnostic working is an approach to working which provides staff to could choose where their office location is. At Informatics, for projects and companies with the flexibility to work remotely, a location-agnostic working functional approach is a great strategy to attract talent as the team/organization can dip into a wider talent pool. For the software company of Informatics, the idea of remote working is highly desirable. However, some positions under the group did not have suitable roles to perform the duties remotely, as an alternative such staff were given the flexibility to work from a convenient coworking space. This helped us widen the search areas for such positions as well.

2) Adapting Different Methods, and Multiple Platforms to Conduct Interviews

We all know it is a challenge to switch from conducting interviews face-to-face to moving to virtual platforms. Despite having minimal communication methods and synchronization with other teams, HR and hiring managers needed to ensure that a successful interview process must be conducted. And it is essential to evaluate how the candidate fits the team and organization accurately.
At Informatics, hiring managers use multiple platforms, communication methods, and even assessment techniques during the interview process. These include:

a) Switching from Audio to Video Mode, and Vice Versa

During different levels of the interview process, we adapt different modes. One interview round would be conducted using only Audio, while the next interview level would be held using video. While one interviews were conducted based on the candidates’ profile and exposure, the second interviews was held without any background information about the candidate to have a blind audition type scenario. This helped both HR teams and hiring managers to get an overall understanding of the candidate.
b) Table Topics
A term used in Toastmasters, table topics, is a method we at Informatics use as another selection technique. Candidates would be given few questions ahead of time to record. The answers would need to be precise and summed up into two-minute videos. These need not be limited to job-related questions but could also be based on one’s judgment, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. This method helps ascertain how the candidate concisely can provide information, and it also helps identify how well he/she can follow instructions. This method would be most successful among a pool of candidates when given uniformly to compare and decide on the best responses.
c) Adapting Back of The Envelop Questioners
An approach used to give a situation/calculation by expecting a quick and approximate response, appropriately named to fit in the response on the back of an envelope. Informatics uses this approach as a selection method for various job roles, primarily technical roles. This method helps in understanding the candidate’s quick response by using one’s experience and exposure.
d) Multiple Discussions
As much as knowledge and skills need to be evaluated for a job role, it is also imperative to identify the right attributes of a potential candidate. Attributes such as great attitude, good communication skills, ability to learn, collaboration, team dynamics and agility significantly impact the individual’s as well as the team and the entire organization’s performance and success.
Even in a remote working environment, it is important that the team which the new hire is due to join would have an idea of who the new hire is as it has an impact on the short- and long-term goals and objectives. Therefore, it is worth having at least the second tier of staff from the team get involved in the hiring process to understand the fit and evaluate the different responses by conducting one-on-ones. This method would also be successful in gathering a bunch of team members as a panel to have an informal chat with the potential candidate.

3) Project to Asses

By gathering the potential candidates to work with the team, Informatics made the ultimate decision and evaluated how candidates work with teams. Many companies adopt similar methods such as sample work or case studies. While adopting these methods, Informatics, on some occasions, got the potential candidate involved in ongoing/new projects by offering such individuals consultancy agreements for a brief period. Significant projects considered enough were provided as a chance to observe the candidate’s competencies. During the consultancy period should the candidate be successful at the given tasks, Informatics would offer a more permanent or fixed employment.
The takeaway is that it does not necessarily require a pay or a considerably long period, a more straightforward project that takes a few hours or days would help judge the candidate’s performance and potential.

4) Documentation Is Important, But Communicating Is More Important

When it comes to onboarding, documentation plays a significant part. From filling statutory requirements, medical to HRIS input, the list goes on. At Informatics, we attempt to carry out these documentations as remotely as possible given the current circumstances. At the same time, certain essential elements such as policies and practices are communicated during each level of the interview and/or during the onboarding process to reduce the new hires “Break-in time” as much as possible.
Having understood that it is always important to be upfront with expectations and other organizational implied and express terms. Informatics shares such information through virtual orientations, touch bases, policy clinics with support from the respective HR Business Partner.
Once offers are made and accepted by an individual, it is important to prioritize to communicating with teams. Informatics appoints a virtual buddy (similar level or senior level staff) to coach and mentors the new hire during the joining period. The HR Business Partner also constantly keeps in touch with the new hire supporting them to transition into the organization smoothly.

Final Consideration

Although separately all these may sound quite normal and usual, together, they form a sound strategy, and at Informatics, we understand and emphasizes the importance of a culture fit and better collaboration.
Regardless of whether Covid19 or any other Natural or Human disaster, should situations lead us to work remotely, facing its challenges, both HR professionals and hiring managers need to ensure that the most suited candidate is selected for the openings in the organization. Team dynamics must be assessed apart from the candidate’s knowledge and skills to achieve the proper culture fit.


Written By: Sachithra Ranasinghe