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Technology: Powering the Light at the End of the Tunnel
As we push forward into 2021, eager to put the harrowing year that has been 2020 behind us, we have reason to be optimistic. Scientists around the world have developed coronavirus vaccines that are almost 100% effective, meaning the end of the pandemic is on the horizon. It may take more time and patience, but there’s undoubtedly a bright light at the end of this unnerving tunnel.
One of the most notable things to emerge from this trying year is the impact technology has had in keeping us going. Not only has it enabled the scientific and medical industries to develop the aforementioned immunizations at breakneck speed, but it has also allowed many of us to keep our businesses running, our children learning, our food and essentials delivered (nearly on demand), and more. Just think: Technology has allowed many of us to work remotely and safely from home. It has connected students with teachers when they can’t learn together in a traditional classroom. It has powered crowdsourcing platforms like GoFundMe, which have allowed people across the country to donate to food banks, critical care services, and local businesses. And it has allowed us to “see” our friends and family even when we can’t be together in person, facilitating birthday parties, anniversaries, office milestones, retirement celebrations, and more with video conferencing software like Zoom, Teams, Skype and others. Behind our human heroes on the frontlines of this pandemic, technology has been a silent yet powerful assistant.
As we continue to charge through the trials and tribulations of this challenging time, it’s important to look for positives — lessons we can learn and take with us into the next phase of life. One of the lessons I hope the business community, and the world at large, takes to heart in the coming year is the immense benefit that comes from harnessing the power of technology and science. Developing a vaccine typically takes two to five years, even up to ten. We now have multiple vaccines at warp speed. More and more organizations are already embracing tech-enabled practices from tele-medicine to remote work arrangements. What will things look like in 2021? I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do know that whatever evolves, technology will continue to play an important and supporting role.
Although challenges abound this holiday season—we can’t be with our families and many of us have lost loved ones due to Covid—we can persist by looking ahead and grabbing hold of the positives. We have much to be thankful for. I hope you will join me in having a safe and healthy holiday season.
Sharon Emek, PhD, CIC
CEO and President, Work At Home Vintage Experts
How Covid Has Changed the Hiring Game
The Covid-19 pandemic has upended our conception of what a workplace is. Rather than being tied to a physical location, today’s “office” is a diverse network of homes and workspaces around the country—in some cases, around the world. It’s an exciting, new virtual world, and as a result, organizations are beginning to rethink their traditional hiring practices to accommodate it.
Across the board, we are all taking cold, hard looks at our current procedures and asking ourselves questions such as:
·     How do we determine which candidates to interview? Tech tools are increasingly important in the remote hiring process. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) can help businesses build and maintain robust talent pools, communicate with applicants, funnel and rank applications with the matching required skills, and more. These systems can also help recruiters select and rank the most (and least) important hard skills for a position; determine the ideal combination of hard skills, cognitive ability, soft skills, and culture fit required; and decide on the number of top ranked resumes to review. Tech
·     Is there bias in our selection process? “Blind hiring” has never been easier or more important. Organizations can easily screen candidates based on qualifications and merit by using specialized software that redacts names, colleges and year of graduation from resumes. Companies can also hold “blind auditions” (with no video) before progressing to video calls and even in-person final interviews. This data-driven approach is going to become more and more mainstream. Candidates should therefore review their resumes and see how they can tailor them to the specific job openings they’re applying for, to show hiring managers, recruiters and even bots how their qualifications meet and exceed the requirements of the position.
·     Is our hiring process taking too long? Organizations must determine whether there are too many rounds of interviews, whether they wait too long before contacting the candidate after each step, and more. Since all or nearly all of the process is done virtually, more communication and a faster turnaround time are required to lock great candidates in.
·     Do we communicate quickly with candidates? Frequent communication is especially important when physical presence isn’t a possibility, as it continues the connection.
·     How does this job fit into the overall mission of the organization? Gone are the days of “phantom jobs” that operate in a silo or don’t carry much weight. Hiring will need to be targeted and precise for specific positions that aid in the short- and long-term goals of the organization. Candidates should understand how the role fits into the business at large and what value they would bring.
·     Are we testing for culture fit? Just because an employee would be virtual doesn’t mean they wouldn’t need to fit into the company culture. In fact, this becomes even more crucial when there’s no in-person workplace to reinforce the culture and provide a great employee experience. Companies should be evaluating during these initial screens and interviews whether candidates would be a good match personality- and value-wise within the organization. Interviews should be sure to include behavioral questions.
·     Are we looking nationwide? The widespread adoption of remote-work arrangements means the entire country is now your applicant pool. Look beyond your location and consider talent in every corner. Note that you may need to adapt your recruiting and marketing strategies for new geographical markets.
As we continue to adapt our recruiting and hiring strategies for an evolving 21st-century workplace, we’ll no doubt encounter new issues that must be addressed. What challenges or opportunities have your businesses run into?
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