COVID-19: Remote Recruiting Changes - New College Graduates

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COVID-19: Remote Recruiting Changes - New College Graduates

A selection of first-hand experiences from ten college graduates concerning the virtual interview process and other aspects of the recruitment process are detailed below. The experiences recounted relate to the new virtual processes implemented as a result of the pandemic. Few reports reveal the innovative adaptions companies have made to their recruitment processes in response to the pandemic. LinkedIn, Lidl and Alorica are three companies that have adopted virtual measures in their recruitment processes to varying degrees.

FROM THE MOUTHS OF COLLEGE GRADUATES

Graduating Kean Senior on the Remote Job Search

  • Graduating senior from Kean, Patrick Eachearn said, ¨Most of my searches have been turning up with nothing. I had one friend who was applying to places and a few of them did end up canceling the hiring process … It’s definitely an unsure time. There’s a lot of variables that could just kind of change the situation day by day.
  • This quote was given in the context of discussing the difficulties associated with finding work during the pandemic and the uncertainties associated with remote interviews for a media article.

Reddit User on Employer Ghosting

  • Reddit user, mabeluniverse discussed the experience of employer ghosting following interviews. Mabeluniverse said, "I’ve been rejected or ghosted from most places I’ve applied. There’s two (materials science and energy systems) I interviewed with and hadn’t heard back. I’m also considering where I’ve interned (aerospace and defense) but do not have an offer (they may also be in a hiring freeze...). Even before this happened, I’d wanted to start in the fall instead of the summer, and I think I’ll still be able to do that. I’m not sure how much companies are trying to hire (let alone work) with all this going on. On top of that, a recent death in the family has made me reconsider how far from home I want to be."
  • Mabeluniverse is a recent college graduate.

Reddit User on Job Offers

  • Reddit user, notpotus posted his thoughts on the impact of COVID-19 on the recruitment processes for college graduated,
  • Notpotus said, "I secured and signed an offer in November. Fortune 3 company so I’m not too worried about it going under. But I am worried about not starting work for a while. Supposed to move to the west coast and I don’t know when that’ll happen/ If it’ll still happen. I have friends in the airline industry that are having their offers rescinded. I know a lot of interns who are getting let go in multiple industries. I’m worried things will go to shit and the c/o 2020 will have a really tough time as a whole. I’m a pretty optimistic person, but also a realist."
  • This excerpt illustrates some of the difficulties the new hiring and recruitment processes are causing for college graduates.

Reddit User on Virtual Interview

  • Reddit user and college graduate, imdoinm3 posted an account of her less than satisfactory virtual interview experience on Reddit.
  • Imdoinm3 said, "Hey everyone I just had my final round for a New Grad position at Amazon. It was supposed to be a 30minute interview, but it ended up being barely 15 minutes, all they did was ask about my OA2, I described it and then I just asked questions to them for 10 minutes and it was over. Should I be concerned that they just asked me a few questions, didn't even bother showing me my code because I remembered it? It felt really easy, as if I wasn't even being considered as a serious candidate. I am just unsure on how to feel right now, pretty nervous..."
  • The interview obviously went better than she thought, as she later posted she had been offered a job.

Reddit User Compares to Low Budget Porn

  • When responding to a question asking for advice on virtual interviews, Reddit user def_not_a_dog recounted her own experience.
  • Def_not_a_dog said, "I did one for United Airlines and hated it. I could rewatch my recordings and it looked like either an interrogation after massacring 10 people or a low-budget porn interview. The only bright side was that I could study my mannerisms and try to improve them for future interviews."

Reddit User Discussing the Awkwardness of the Interview

  • Another Reddit user, chaopesco1 felt his virtual interview was awkward.
  • Chaopesco1 posted, "I had to do this for the job I have now. Its quite awkward and I felt so dehumanized, I was just about to write them off but I got through it. In the in person interview, it was a talking point about how awkward it felt. They had just implemented video interviews. Unfortunately, its the future because it saves time for interviewers. Make sure the background is nice and clean. Make sure its quiet and you can be heard. The lighting should be so they can see your whole face. Look presentable, at least on top. Stay calm and act as if you’re talking to a real person. Mine showed me the question before I answered and I controlled when it started to record so it was easy to not be taken off guard. But always prepare answers to at least your basic interview questions. Good luck! "

Reddit User Offering Advice

  • Having attended several virtual interviews, Reddit user, dank5454 offered some advice to those still waiting for virtual interviews.
  • Dank5454 said "Have good audio, clear background make sure it’s not messy, and don’t dress like a slob (professional). Try and plan out the questions they ask in advance, mostly STAR format responses probably, but make sure u are genuine and confident. I’ve done several of these (big pharma companies use them initially a lot) and gotten past this stage to the next round in most cases."

Reddit User Mixed Bag

  • Another Reddit user littleviel found the recruitment process a mixed bag following changes to the interview process.
  • Littleviel said, "I had a final interview at once place that was a mixed bag. They had a sign on their front door saying that there was no hand shaking due to COVID-19, but were proceeding with business as usual. It's a role where the general public and I would be using shared iPads. Struck me as a little strange that they'd be interviewing for this position when they won't even shake hands. I also got an offer from a different place that says my start date is "up in the air" due to the virus.
  • Not sure what to make of all of this, myself. It seems like it depends on the company and their commitment to public health. It doesn't hurt to put in applications and see if the company will accommodate tele-interviews. Your start date may be delayed, but some companies can accommodate remote onboarding."

Reddit User Destroyed Inside

  • Reddit user coladetigre experience cannot be described as a positive one.
  • Coladetigre posted, "I've had two interviews postponed indefinitely (government jobs), one company decided to halt the entire hiring process, and one theoretical final answer hasn't arrived yet. No response after follow up email either. So I went from two possible offers and two interviews lined up to absolutely nothing again. I am fucking destroyed inside."

Reddit User Bemoans Lack of Communication

  • Another Reddit user, cholat1 was unhappy regarding the lack of information from a company she had been successful in obtaining employment with.
  • Chocolat1 said, "I feel you. I'd applied for casual work with my local council, had my interview, and got accept[ed] before this whole corona fiasco blew up even more and all eateries and entertainment places began closing.... Annnd I'm still waiting to hear something. It's a bit like signing up with a job agency the way it works, so I'm not sure if I should be applying for other stuff in the meantime."

COMPANIES ADOPTING INNOVATIVE RECRUITMENT PRACTICES

LinkedIn - Virtual Interviews

  • LinkedIn announced in May 2020, that it had adapted its hiring processes, and all job interviews would be virtual due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic and the associated requirements of social distancing.
  • In an email to prospective employees, LinkedIn said, "In light of the recent coronavirus outbreak and with everyone’s health being LinkedIn’s #1 priority at the moment, all candidates who are scheduled to come onsite are being given the option to either complete their entire interview virtually via BlueJeans video conference, or cancel their current schedule and hold off on rescheduling until coming onsite is possible."
  • BlueJeans video conferencing is an innovative "cloud-based service that is able to connect users across multiple devices and utilize conferencing solutions including Google, Microsoft Lync and Cisco. The platform offers collaborative video, audio, and web conferencing as well as allowing users to host livestreams and other interactive events."
  • The company has experienced a marked rise in subscribers to its service as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lidl - Virtual Interviews in Combination with a Truncated Process

  • Arlington-based grocery store, Lidl has expanded on the virtual concept by innovatively adapting its hiring process through the use of not only virtual interviews but virtual job fairs.
  • Faced with a growing demand for new employees, the company has decreased the time taken to recruit new staff members.
  • Eoin Byrne, the chief human resource officer explains, "If you apply at a Lidl store either in-person or online on a Wednesday evening, you will be able to start on Monday morning. Part of that speed has been achieved by conducting interviews over video-conferencing platforms, but the company also had to cut out certain steps from the hiring process. "We had to break away from some of our standards to make this happen,"
  • Some of the adaptions to the hiring process included doing away with the need for each employee to be interviewed by two people and the requirement that a background check be completed prior to an employee starting in any position.
  • When discussing the changes to the hiring process, Byrne said, "Part of our culture is being agile and adaptive, and COVID-19 circumstances have made sure we are living up to that. Recruiters and hiring managers trained to use a competency-based interview model have been asked to modify their practices for a completely virtual experience."
  • Although Bryne could not say with 100% certainty good customer service could be guaranteed with the truncated virtual process, he felt that the chances of doing so could be greatly improved through the use of situational judgement questions and a focus on core competencies.
  • The technology used for the virtual processes was not disclosed.

Alorica - Virtual Job Fairs

  • Outsourcing talent acquistion firm, Alorica has taken the virtual concept to a new level with the innovative adaptions it has made to its recruitment process. In addition to holding all of its interviews virtually, the company is attending virtual job fairs as part of its recruitment drive. The pandemic has seen demand for the company´s services skyrocket. The company is also seeking to capture the potential of those who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
  • Senior Executive, Jeff Luddell explains some of the adaptions that Alorica has made to its hiring process and the use of "a variety of online communication and collaboration tools to pull it off."
  • Refering to his recruitment team, he said, "They've also created videos of recruiters providing step-by-step instructions on how candidates move through the application process and adjusted the paperwork process to include electronic signatures. Recruiters have been texting more with candidates and using chatbots to serve job seekers, applicants and candidates has grown."
  • The use of virtual job fairs had not all been smooth sailing, and the choice of technology contributed in part to early difficulties. According to Luddell, "It's been a lot of trial and error," he said. "We had to deploy technology quickly, because [the pandemic] happened so fast. We made some mistakes in the beginning. We learned that Microsoft Teams is not so good for virtual events, Zoom is better. This will probably change recruiting at our organization."

Research Strategy

Despite appearing relatively straightforward, some difficulties were experienced, identifying first-hand experiences of current recruitment practices focusing on the virtual aspects of recruitment. To identify first-hand experiences, we first reviewed a number of sites, including Glassdoor and Indeed. There were no posts of this nature identified on these sites. In fact, there was a surprising lack of discussion regarding recruitment in light of COVID-19 in any accessible forums.

We attempted to leverage this information from media publications discussing the impact of the pandemic on college recruitment, as articles of this nature often include a student quote. Unfortunately, while there were numerous stories written on this topic, few explored the areas required, with most relying on quotes from industry experts, rather than the college graduates themselves.
In a final attempt to locate relevant first-hand experiences, we turned to Reddit. We felt this approach had some merit, given the platform is orientated toward the demographic the research is interested in. Again the absence of any substantial content of this nature was surprising. Several relevant quotes are highlighted in the report. Given the lack of any additional relevant data among college graduates and the market, in general, relating to the virtual aspects of recruitment, we were forced to include a couple of quotes that reflect in the total recruitment practice rather than focusing on just the remote aspects.
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