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Preparing for “the great rehire”

Two years ago, the global COVID-19 pandemic changed the world. Riddled with an uncertainty of what tomorrow might bring, many who were able to, saw their homes turning into their offices, as they moved to remote working. While trying to maintain a sense of normalcy in their lives, they also managed to help keep their organisations afloat, and for those who were prepared, it worked, and worked well.

Sandra Crous, Managing Director at HR and payroll software leader PaySpace, said companies who were ahead in their cloud journeys thrived and began offering positions that were fully away from the office, to an extent where a slew of roles began to flood the market, offering fully remote work, with excellent salaries and perks. This gave birth to the Great Resignation of 2021.

The term was first coined by Dr Anthony Klotz to refer to this dramatic number of staff members who were expected to leave their roles during or towards the end of the crisis. “Many had epiphanies about not being stuck in traffic, and of spending real time with their families. In short, they changed the way they thought about work. The great resignation was inevitable,” says Crous.

However, while the pandemic saw many entities forced to scale back or even freeze recruitment, savvy organisations today are already planning for the future. “With the need to stay ahead of the curve, I believe the great resignation is offering forward-thinking business leaders an unprecedented opportunity to reset and revamp their talent strategy. Let’s call it the ‘great rehire’.”

However, it’s not as simple as sticking an advert in the classifieds, or bringing a recruitment company on board, Crous explains. “The individuals who are tasked with interviewing top talent have a crucial role in any organisation’s growth. Being able to find the top talent on time, and efficiently, is key to ensuring business continuity with little to no disruption to daily operations.”

Firstly, she says interviews need to be fair, thoughtful, and targeted. “In terms of fairness, a good interview guide removes any trace of interviewer bias and should include only questions that are appropriate and legal. When it comes to being thoughtful, interview guides need careful preparation and planning with the core team members. A well considered interview guide will contain questions that can offer more insight into a candidate than the stock-standard questions. Finally, interviews must be targeted, meaning that interview guides must be different for different positions. Each interview guide must be created with a specific position within the organisation in mind.”

The first step, she says, is a structured process. “Whenever a single interviewer follows the same steps in the same order, structure is created. Moreover, this lessens the chances of individuals not remembering to ask candidates specific questions or to give them specific information. In addition, making use of an interview guide guarantees that all candidates have the same experience. We must, of course, take into account that not all interviewers are the same, so there will always be variances, but at least the process and questions are the same for each candidate. Remember, that when the same interview method is used, the same questions are asked to each candidate, and the same scoring is used to assess them, bias is taken out of the equation.”

According to Crous, there are several steps to creating the content of an effective interview guide. “Firstly, determine which position or positions the company requires an interview guide for. It is helpful to meet with those individuals that are employed in the same position, as they are uniquely placed to provide valuable insights into the work environment, the soft skills that are needed, as well as the culture related to the job.”

She says it is easy to incorporate relevant questions into the interview guide using this information. “Then, identify the skills or competencies required for the role in question, and when doing this, review the job description or meet with department managers to identify key skills, competencies, and the qualifications that are needed for the particular role.”

Finally, it is also important to choose which types of questions will help the interviewer learn the most about a candidate. “Questions should be carefully crafted to show how the candidate has displayed the required skills in specific situations during the course of their career. Responses to these questions can offer invaluable glimpses into applicants’ real experiences.”

HR practitioners are well aware that hiring and retaining top talent is the only way forward when it comes to staying competitive in the long run. “ To make ‘the great rehire’ easier on everyone, particularly the HR department, an interview guide can be a crucial tool, and while this may be viewed as an onerous task, the benefits far outweigh the effort,” Crous ends.

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