Recruiting Goes Remote
Beth A. Klahre
The SHRM article, “Recruiting Goes Remote,” quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant
Anne Coyle on her experience of remotely recruiting leadership for universities during this time of COVID-19 and what she expects to see moving forward. The article is excerpted below.
Recruiting has changed for both recruiters and candidates since COVID-19 made its unwelcome arrival. Both groups are adapting to video platforms for interviewing, skipping the onsite company tour and going through the hiring process from home.
Many managers are unexpectedly finding that hiring without face-to-face interviews is successful, and some recruiters who saw reduced demand at the pandemic's outset are now surprisingly and happily noting an upswing in requests for services.
Anne Coyle is an executive recruiter with almost 20 years of experience. She has been with Russell Reynolds Associates for the past two years, recruiting senior-level positions such as presidents and deans for colleges and universities.
"Recruiting in our new COVID-19 reality has changed the experience significantly," she said. "Traditionally, our interactions with search committees were almost always in person. Despite the limits on travel and face-to-face meetings, recruiting is a top priority for our clients. Demand for leadership services is rapidly resuming, something we would not have ever predicted in the early months of COVID-19."
In March, recruiting and hiring were deprioritized as university presidents dealt with positive COVID-19 tests, bringing students online, summer programs, faculty training and workforce safety. Now both candidates and employers are re-engaging. "The demand is highly unpredictable," Coyle said.
She recently finished several searches in which the candidate never met the hiring manager in person. "A university president told me he wouldn't hire someone he hadn't met in person, looked directly in the eye or sealed the deal with [by] a handshake," she said. "But he did. What's important is developing trust between candidate and employer. Candidates are requesting more conversation and confidential information that requires signing nondisclosure agreements."
About technology, Coyle said, "Zoom has saved the day. In the past, if a search committee held a remote interview, it was a large number of people around a table with a candidate who could barely see faces. Zoom feels up close and personal. I'm not sure we will ever go back to in-person first-round interviews."
She added that people looking for new opportunities seem as interested as ever, and college presidents are depending on proactive recruiting efforts to ensure a strong candidate pool.
"This is a good time to be more reflective and deepen relationships with candidates," Coyle said. "Use the time gained by not traveling to foster your long-term relationships."
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