10th October 2020


If you are thinking about recruiting someone new to join your team it is important to be prepared.  Here are five smart hiring techniques that we have seen companies use in 2020.

1. Be Bold

The employment market has changed significantly in the last three months.  Certain sectors have been more affected which has meant that many of these businesses face uncertain times or have already had to restructure.  The market for candidates is very strong right now and there are some amazing people available who may not have even been thinking about a new career move. We have noticed an influx of candidates on contracts worried that this may be cut short and also people who had decided to take some time out to go travelling have suddenly found themselves back in the UK.  Smart businesses have been able to spot this change in market and use the window of opportunity to bring in a great hire.  If you think about it logically, there are more people available with less vacancies being recruited so there is less competition for candidates.  Also, because of the number of vacancies available, candidates are being more flexible on things like salary and location, meaning now is a great time to hire.


2. Embrace Video Technology

Before COVID-19 it was unheard of to hire someone without having met them first but now it seems to be standard practice.  Since March, we have seen companies running panel interviews, presentations and even a four-hour assessment centre over video call.  Businesses are trying to stick to their interview process as much as possible but will tweak this where they can to move forward with a key hire.  The first stage is usually a phone / video call with the person hiring for the position and second stage is usually a presentation over video call that the candidate pre-prepares.  One thing we would recommend when choosing video technology is that you use a platform where if you are sharing your screen you can see the faces of all people on the call.  If the candidate who is presenting cannot see the faces of who they are presenting to then it makes it difficult for them to read your engagement level at different points in the presentation.


3. Involve More Stakeholders

As well as embracing technology, another step that companies have taken is to involve more stakeholders in the process from different parts of the business.  One small positive we have seen is that with everyone working from home and at different times it is easier than ever to get interviews booked in.   We’ve seen businesses introducing additional stages with the person who is leaving the role in order to get a sense of their skill level, meetings with key stakeholders from different teams, additional stages at the end of the interview with the MD / founder and even candidates being interviewed by key external stakeholders from agencies / retailers.


4. Take Character References

When asking for a reference most businesses (especially bigger companies) do not give anything more detailed than the dates they worked and the position that they held.  Another thing we have seen this year is businesses who are hiring requesting character references when they get to offer stage.  Understandably, most candidates are unable to provide this from their current employer, but a great candidate should be able to get ex-colleagues or a manager that they used to work for to provide this.  As the person hiring, you would then speak directly to their referees.  One thing worth considering is that if a company has a policy of only offering a standard reference then it may be difficult to get a telephone reference from someone who currently works there.


5. Onboard Remotely

Once you have found the right person and they have accepted the role you need to get them started.  More recently we’ve found that the onboarding process can start once everyone has signed the paperwork and would typically involve a series of short phone / video calls to get someone up to speed so that they can hit the ground running when they start.  Recent examples have included video calls to get a handover from the person doing the role, key meetings that are specific to their role, induction sessions with key stakeholders and even team welcome drinks over Zoom.  As well as getting the person mentally prepared to start their new role, they also need to be physically prepared, so think about how you would get things like a company laptop, mobile phone, etc. to them.


With more companies starting to think about hiring for key roles, the recruitment market seems to be evolving all the time. If you would like help recruiting, we would be happy to speak to you. You can reach us on 0207 042 3800 or send us a message.