Evaluating Recruitment Practices in Times of COVID | Undutchables

Evaluating Recruitment Practices in Times of COVID

Categorie: Guest article Business


Recruitment has for many been a challenge during 2020, as processes at once needed to be changed. We have been talking to Chris van der Schoor, Vice President, HR&O at Accedo Broadband AB about how he and his team have worked with the recruitment this year. He is sharing his thoughts with us, through evaluating the recruitment practices in times of Covid.

Out with the old, in with the new

The HR practice is a practice very much built on convention. We do many things because we believe or were told that this is the way to do it, and many of the core HR processes have not fundamentally changed in decades. Moments of great disruption, similar to a global pandemic, are moments when these conventions are put to the test.

2020 was an ideal year to put some commonly shared recruitment conventions to this test. Let me start by acknowledging that I am aware of the hardship that many of my peers from other companies and industries are going through, wherein testing recruitment assumptions in 2020 might seem a frivolous luxury. The IT sector has seen few layoffs compared to others, and the battle for scarce talent remained relatively unaffected.

Has the quality improved?

One of the common recruitment conventions put to the test is the need for in-person interviews. This has been widely recognised, also by us, as a vital part of the hiring process. Working from home, closed offices, and government restrictions made it no longer possible or desirable, practically overnight. It would be fair to assume that taking out such a vital part of the process would impact the quality of the hiring decisions that were made.

At Accedo, we assess the quality of hiring decisions by looking at mis-hires: the percentage of people who join us for employment and leave, regardless of reason, within 6 months. A low percentage of mis-hires implies a high quality of hiring decisions and vice versa. So, did the quality of hiring decisions reduce in 2020?

It is still too early to draw permanent conclusions (many 2020 hires have not passed their first 6 months yet), but the preliminary results are very interesting. The percentage of mis-hires dropped significantly, and basically halved versus previous years. Even if we correct the 2020 numbers for new hires who haven’t passed the 6 month period yet, the worst-case scenario still shows a 20% drop in mis-hires. Why is that?

The first explanation is that both candidates and hiring managers are likely more critical in their selection process. Candidates are well aware of the global turmoil, and will critically assess whether it is worth giving up the security of a current job for the insecurity of a new job. Likewise, hiring managers are aware that they will need to onboard remotely, and may be less inclined to give a candidate the benefit of the doubt.

In-person interviews needed?

The second explanation is that the online interview strips both the candidate and the hiring manager from many subconscious biases that may influence the hiring decision. The candidate will not be wowed by a fancy office, an easy commute, or good quality coffee in the office. He or she will need to focus on the job at hand. Similarly, a hiring manager will not be influenced by biases around a sloppy handshake, specific body language, or the little social chat walking to and from the meeting room. They, too, need to focus fully on the candidate at hand. And with many unconscious biases stripped, what both sides need to do is to listen to what the other is saying. And careful listening often helps in making better decisions in any situation, including a recruitment process.

"And careful listening often helps in making better decisions in any situation, including a recruitment process."

Finally, a counterargument that could be made is that it is not so much the quality of the hiring decision that is improving, but that the way of assessing performance in the first 6 months is deteriorating. Many subtle cues of cultural mismatch or underperformance may go unnoticed as we work without immediate proximity to each other. I can’t see this reflected in our data just yet, of course, but am sure keen to see how this evolves moving forward!

So does this mean we need to ditch the in-person interview? Not necessarily. We all experience the interpersonal value of connecting as people face to face: that subtle ‘something’ that you don’t get from a computer screen interaction. But the added value is probably in establishing that human connection - not in increasing the quality of the hiring decision.

Chris foto

Chris van der Schoor is Vice President, HR&O at Accedo Broadband AB, a global provider of premium video streaming solutions. Chris is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and combines a keen focus on organisational behaviour with extensive pragmatic HR experience in diverse industries like IT, Financial Services and HVAC.

Are you on the job market looking for a new opportunity? Or are you a recruiter, HR, or hiring manager, looking to expand your team and you do not know where to start? Reach out to us at Undutchables Sweden , we advise you further! We can guide you in the recruitment process and define the talent you need!

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