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Navigating virtual recruitment during COVID-19

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

As a consequence of the recent oil price fluctuations and COVID-19 pandemic, all sectors of the oil and gas industry have been affected and downstream is no exception. Being the closest connection to everyday consumers, the downstream sector and its daily operations are vital during this time of uncertainty. The show must go on and the recruitment and hiring of necessary, competent personnel should not take a backseat.

For downstream companies that are still hiring, plant operators and managers will have to retire their traditional recruitment efforts due to social distancing. As specialists become available over the coming weeks and months, leveraging technology to conduct interviews and sourcing local talent will be key. Globally, companies are scrambling to implement virtual interviewing, recruitment and onboarding processes. Fortunately, global workforce specialists, like NES Global Talent, are stepping in to guide downstream companies in the right direction.

Utilising video interviewing technology

“Travel and personal contact restrictions make it difficult for downstream companies to recruit in their usual manner,” said Vicki Codd, Marketing Director of NES Global Talent. “Finding and retaining qualified workers can be difficult, especially when companies are undergoing operational changes amid crises. Therefore, quickly adapting and implementing new hiring processes such as video interviewing technology is critical.”

Video interviewing enables managers to undergo a seamless screening process, overcome current travel and contact restrictions, pre-record questions for candidates to answer in their own time, and conduct a live interview where and when it suits both parties.

Video interviewing technology is efficient and flexible as one recorded interview can be used for several opportunities or seen by several members of the hiring team at a time convenient to them. Moreover, the ease of the process gives candidates a great first impression of your business amid a challenging time for all brands.

How does it work?

“Our consultants will liaise with hiring managers to agree on a suitable and concise set of initial interview questions. Each candidate then undertakes a solo interview or one of our consultants hosts a live recorded interview session, after which the NES consultant will compile a high-quality prospective candidate video shortlist, sending managers a link to the footage for review,” said Codd.

Video interviewing also provides companies that are looking to hire immediately with a frictionless process. As long as candidates have access to a webcam or a mobile (cell) phone with video conferencing abilities, candidates can take part in video sessions wherever they may be, while the pre-recorded sessions allow hiring managers to review footage at their desk or on the move, meaning travel restrictions do not hold up hiring logistics.

“To maximise your hiring efficiency, match verification is key. Our solutions allow companies to cut down on first round interviews. Clients can watch candidates’ initial recorded interview responses and review their resumes online. That way, you can be sure the candidates you move to the next stage are a close match to your vacancy,” said Codd.

Welcome on board

Virtual processes do not stop at hiring. Once the candidate is hired, onboarding will likely be virtual as well. This can pose difficulties for both hiring managers and new hires. A smooth and welcoming onboarding process is very important and will reflect your company’s culture. With social distancing eliminating a face-to-face onboarding, downstream companies should implement new solutions to ensure their new employees not only feel welcome but receive key information, training and clear, direct objectives.

Companies across the global are finding innovative ways to onboard. Some are delivering welcome kits and necessary operational equipment such as laptops to their new employees’ homes. Other larger corporations are utilising virtual reality technology to provide new hires with virtual tours of their facility.

Moreover, it is important to continue the use of video conferencing to communicate. Phone calls are nice but putting a face to a name, via video conference calls, can make an employee’s onboarding process more personal, as it should be.

What lies ahead?

As new technology and processes emerge, the recruitment landscape is sure to evolve, and new standards will be set.

“As expected, it is difficult to predict when the world will return to normalcy. Companies should, where possible, embrace remote working, as now it is the only option for many,” says Codd. “This dramatic shift in recruitment, interviewing and onboarding processes requires willingness for change, adaptability and patience. Treat your employees with grace as we all navigate a new way of business. Fortunately, our oil and gas workforce specialists are here to help you and your company during this time.”

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