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Remote recruitment. One year later

Care to share?

It’s been a year since our lives changed drastically. So did our work and recruitment. 

Face-to-face meetings were replaced by Zoom, Teams, and Hangouts. “You’re on mute” became the most popular workplace quote for 2020. 

However, in IT, recruiting remotely wasn’t all that new. What has changed and what have we learned from this experience? What can candidates expect in this new world? We’ve asked Przemysław Wolski, Head of Talent Acquisition, and Bruno Ramalho, a Team Leader who is also playing the role of a technical recruiter. 

“Remote recruitment isn’t new to us. We had online recruitment with candidates from different geographic areas. Of course, before the pandemic, we preferred to meet in the office. Other than that, the process looks similar now, and it starts with a phone call.  A face-to-face meeting would be preferable because we want to show the human side of our company. When connecting with candidates face-to-face, we can read emotions better and talk honestly about the organizational culture. But whether it’s an online meeting or we get to meet in person, our priority is to make the candidate feel as comfortable as possible. We want them to not feel limited by what is happening in the world right now. Only when this is accomplished can we truly get to know them.” – Przemysław Wolski, Head of Talent Acquisition

Change is the only constant

The pandemic showed us that, in the modern job market, you need to be flexible and prepared for constant change. Perhaps the IT job market was prepared for this the most when compared to other industries, but in such disturbing times, we all felt restless.

“When the pandemic started, we paused all of our recruitment processes and observed the market. Our priority at that time was to secure our assets. Once the situation settled and there was more security again, we started to hire.” – Przemysław Wolski

“In the beginning, a lot of things were unknown to everyone. The majority of companies stopped hiring. But when things became more stable, we opened the processes because we still needed to grow. Right now, our goal is to increase our team’s size.” – Bruno Ramalho, Team Leader 

We could say that the pandemic has created a new labor market. Priorities have shifted. New challenges have emerged. Whole industries gained or lost their significance. But recruiting in IT has always been a challenge, even without the pandemic. Is recruitment easier or more difficult now? And if so, in what ways?

“Before the pandemic, it wasn’t always easy, but there was more freedom. Now, our competition has increased, and candidates can work for companies outside their geographic area. While hiring, we need to consider the economies of other countries. The rates have gone up, so the Polish firms have to revise their salaries. We are all affected by the coronavirus, and we need to start thinking more globally. What countries do we recruit from, what do people earn there, and what are the most sought-after benefits?” – Przemysław Wolski

Companies must act quickly to shape a new environment that supports workers to thrive in the disrupted circumstances. Fortunately, we have observed that the speed of businesses adopting new technologies over the past year has accelerated faster than ever before. And so have we!

At Divante, we knew from the start that we needed to adjust our processes. 

“First and foremost, we needed the whole process to be more organized. We have created a Kanban board for me and HR to communicate better and have better visibility of where we stand in particular recruitments. I also decided to invite a second engineer to accompany me. Before the pandemic, it was just me and HR. From time to time, I worked with the engineering director to hire for special roles.” – Bruno Ramalho

From the candidates’ point of view

Last year, we shared with you some of the best practices in recruitment. Most of those good tips are still valid today, but there are some new spheres we should be aware of.

The main thing we should consider is the technology we’re using during the recruitment. All candidates should make sure they’re familiar with the software chosen for the interview. If it’s something new, install it and test it with a friend. Check out every detail, including audio, camera, screen sharing, and your internet connection. You can also suggest a different tool to the recruiter if for some reason you don’t feel comfortable with their choice. 

If you’re wondering if the camera is necessary, here’s a short answer. Yes! Don’t worry about it because this only lets you connect with the recruiter and score some personality points. Before the meeting, clean your room and make sure the background looks decent. The worst-case scenario is using the blur option or a background. Just don’t go crazy. Leave palm trees and the Grand Canyon for when you’re hired. 

“The best tip is just to be yourself. Be open and prepare. But know that during the meeting, I’m going to ask some questions. A lot of them have no right or wrong answers. I always tell a few small jokes to try to help break the ice. We ask common questions, and we just want to see what level the candidate has. We are looking for talents with different levels of experience. If they lack some technical skill, we help them grow. I could say that we hire for the candidate’s soft skills, attitude, and willingness to learn. Hard skills we can teach. It’s much more difficult to change someone’s way of thinking.” – Bruno Ramalho

During the interview, turn off notifications on your laptop and phone. Don’t scroll on social media, and try to look straight into the camera lens or at the person you’re talking to. Don’t interrupt them, and listen actively. 

Make yourself presentable, but you don’t need to be in a suit. Dress casually, and wear shoes. Some say that will help you to stay focused.  

Most important of all, remember that we’re all struggling to learn these new ways together. If you make a mistake or if your dog or cat interrupts your meeting, it’s no big deal. Everyone is understanding about how our private life intertwines with work. 

“There are people who function online naturaly. There are also people who still need to learn how to do it. In general, not much has changed in the candidates’ approach. They seem much more comfortable during online interviews. We have this communication style in Divante that relies on directness and honesty. When we show them our friendly side, people relax more during our conversations.” – Przemysław Wolski

“I focus not only on the content of the answer but mainly on how they answered and how they are speaking. In the end, the most important question we ask ourselves is would I like to work with that person? I can assume from the way that the candidates are speaking how they would behave and what is their level of communication skills. All developers, junior and senior, have their own goals. We help them to achieve them by providing training and access to conferences. It may seem unexpected, but I don’t ask many technical questions. I try to understand the person, what they know about Scrum, what they are willing to learn, and how they see the technology.”Bruno Ramalho

Great expectations

In this situation, we can assume that not only the recruitment process will change but also how the candidates act and feel. Have their expectations changed?

“Now, we face the challenge of creating something that candidates will not get elsewhere. We need a unique selling point that will allow us to attract talent.

“Even if people enjoy and manage remote work, they still need contact with other people. That is why we have changed our office into a more flexible coworking environment. We always make sure that they can arrange a comfortable space to work at home by, for example,  sending them an additional monitor.

“We also focus on our current employees. Recently, we implemented Worksmile as a benefit for our employees. It is a platform with various services like, for example, you can order lunch with home delivery. We try to spend time together like, for example, for an online coffee or morning exercises. We try things that are supposed to activate people.

We want to make sure that once you’re hired, you feel like one of us even if we haven’t met in person.” – Przemysław Wolski

“Currently, we are working on decreasing the total time to go through the whole recruitment process. Our goal is to enclose it in a Monday through Friday timeframe. Of course, it’s not that simple, but we are really close to reducing the decision-making to one week. We want to make that change in order to prevent losing good candidates. We need to take the competitiveness of the market under consideration because most companies are stable again and have increased their recruitment. This is also good for the candidates because waiting for a decision can be stressful.” – Bruno Ramalho

We’re waiting for you!

One thing hasn’t changed: Divante is hiring! Join us and start your new adventure. Check out our newest job offers, and let’s meet.

Published May 13, 2021