May 15th, 2020

How remote hiring changed our recruitment process: 5 things we actually improved

In January I had the chance to join ParkBee, a scale-up, and help them with their steep hiring goals in Q1. The recruitment machine was up and running full speed and we made hires almost every week for several months resulting in 13 happy hires. 

However, the pace dropped when we started working from home. Due to the uncertainty of the situation with COVID-19, we had to prioritize some roles above others and adjust our hiring plan. What is surprising is that we had more applicants than ever. Therefore, we had to adjust our recruitment process due to the working from home (WFH)  situation as we were used to having candidates on site. 

What we didn’t anticipate is that it actually helped us improve our speed, quality, and team involvement! 

Here’s what we did: 

1. Getting hiring managers more involved

It was already the case before, but setting-up a weekly catch-up time with the hiring manager can do wonders. When having these catch-ups remotely via video it became even more productive as there were fewer distractions or time pressure compared to what we had at the office. Now everyone had time to properly discuss all candidates and the recruitment process. 

We asked all hiring managers to review the selected resumes in our ATS and leave comments. They were all super fast with it too which helped us speed up the process quite a bit. Hiring managers started to use our ATS more for CV screens and submitting their feedback (without reminders!).

2. Making the interviewing process shorter & more efficient

It was clear that the interview process has to change. As everyone is WFH, of course, it had to be video calls instead of face to face meetings. This was strange in the beginning as we were so used to having candidates over. We already invited them after the first recruitment screen. But having video calls instead turned out to be easier to schedule with all: the hiring managers, teammates involved, and candidates.

  • First of all, it takes less time than having candidates on-site; 

  • Second, it is more convenient to do it from home or any other place. 

Having to do it remotely via video instead of on-site meetings also ended up, in some cases, to shorten the recruitment process from 4 to approx. 2 weeks from application to hire.

3. Creating a case study

Next to video calls, we included a case study for every role to make the further video calls non-repetitive and to test the candidates’ abilities more in-depth. The response from candidates was very positive as the cases were interesting to work on (realistic problem-solving questions). Also, everyone had more time to work on it while being at home. It helped us to make the second video call more interactive, see how motivated the applicant is to put some work into the case and check whether their approach matches ours.

4. Candidate evaluation and decision making

This is the fun part! We already tested it while still working at the office but turned out to be a great way via video meeting as well. After the final video interviews, we decided to include all interviewers in one call. You might think a bit messy? Not at all if there’s a clear structure. We used the good old thumbs system. At the beginning of the call, we all share our decision on 3 by using our thumbs, 1, 2, 3..:

  • Double thumbs - strong yes;

  • Thumb up - yes; 

  • Middle thumb - not sure;

  • Thumb down - no;

  • Double thumbs down - strong no.

Then we immediately see the overall result and can go around explaining our feedback. The call takes around 15min and in the end, we have a clear decision. It is nice to give candidates a response within 24h.

5. Virtual onboarding

Ok, but how do you sign a contract during a lockdown? Easy, invite all the team, and the candidate for a virtual contract signing party. It is a fun way to meet your team and to introduce yourself. 

As some of the candidates that we hired during the lockdown haven’t been to our office we also had to get crafty. We created an online culture guide that included pictures of teams and our office. Next to this, we came up with fun personal facts about each team, and funky descriptions of our rooms next to the pictures. The guide is also personalized for every hire with their name and a welcome from their team. 

Before their start, they also get to join the weekly meetings, Friday drinks calls together with all, and learn more about the company, our teams.

Voilà!

We had a lot of fun with the ParkBee People & Culture team trying to figure out how to do recruitment from home. This resulted in systematic improvements in our recruitment process, closer collaboration with our teams and candidates. The slower pace in hiring doesn’t need to slow us down, as recruiters, it can be a great chance to re-think your recruitment process, test it, and make it scalable.

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