Posted on 15/03/2021 by Penny Raven
As with most things, the job market is currently a little different. Limited face to face interaction presents further challenges, one of which has been very apparent to me over the last year is access to technology, or lack thereof, resulting in digital exclusion. This could undoubtedly be affecting both job seekers and employers.
Having spent a lot of time supporting job seekers through this time and the hurdles they have been facing, I wanted to give my thoughts on how some of these challenges can be overcome as an employer, resulting in a more inclusive process for job seekers and ensuring job seekers have equal opportunity to succeed in securing a job despite some of the barriers COVID-19 has presented.
What experiences have job seekers faced during this pandemic?
I have spoken to many job seekers over recent months who have reported a whole range of experiences related to their COVID tinted job search, sadly many of which meant that they were excluded from job opportunities. These range from being rejected from an interview process due to poor video or connectivity issues to job seekers not having access to Wi-Fi or a quiet space to work from due to living in flat share.
In the current market, with more job seekers available, it can be easy to overlook applicants who do not have all the gadgets and gizmos in favour of those that do. My slight caution with this approach would be that you may miss out on appointing the best candidate for the job based on the required skills and experience, so keeping an open mind about how they could do the role, may be worthwhile. Making adjustments based on the desire to be inclusive in this context can really make a big difference although there are obvious limitations when it comes to the supply of equipment and cost.
Of course, remote recruitment in this digital world also comes with many advantages, such as, access to a wider pool of job seekers anywhere and the speed in which interviews can take place has significantly increased due to more flexibility and availability.
So what can you as an employer do, to ensure you remain inclusive?
- Consider stating what tech is required, or will be provided, in the job advert.
- There are many different types of video software available, ensure you invest in and have training on multiple platforms. If someone is unable to use a particular platform, consider offering another. Software could include, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype, MS Teams and Zoom, many of these do not require a paid for subscription.
- In a recent TPP job seeker survey, nearly 10% of respondents stated that they found the software difficult to use, with no guidance given - send all applicants detailed instructions of how to use any software prior to interview, including a troubleshooting guide.
- Have alternative technology options available and should an interviewee suffer technical or connectivity issues, have alternative dates or times available to offer them.
- Ask if any reasonable adjustments need to be made, such as text script for the interview questions.
- Offer to login ahead of time, to ensure the applicant has no issues on the day.
- Ensure the candidate has your phone number to contact if they experience any issues.
- If a laptop or computer is not available for interview then offer to do a telephone interview, done in the right way, this can be just as effective. TPP are able to offer support on how to conduct all types of interviews, whether face to face, telephone or video.
- Discuss the technology needed for this role and be clear on what will be required or provided in order to do the job.
- Discuss any training that might be required remotely.
With a little forethought and preparation from both employer and job seeker, some of the potential problems that may arise can be resolved or at the very least discussed, leaving both parties more satisfied. It is usually safe to assume that a job seeker who has accepted the offer of an interview is pretty committed to securing a role and as such, they are likely to want to find solutions that work for the employer too. Your interview process may be slightly different, and you may need to be more creative with possible adjustments but with a joint up approach, the chance of success is greater.
If the last year has taught me anything, it is the importance of flexibility and having an agile approach, of course at the same time we need to be practical. If all avenues have been considered then you can feel confident in the knowledge that you have been inclusive and considerate to the best of your ability.
You can read our recent blog on onboarding remote workers on our resource and support hub and if you would like any further advice on hiring and onboarding remotely you can contact me at email@example.com or call 020 7198 6000