Remote Hiring is Here to Stay: a Fresh Take on IT Recruitment



Published20 August 2020at11:45, updated on19 July 2022at17:32

Remote Hiring is Here to Stay: a Fresh Take on IT Recruitment cover

Any activity that could afford it went remote with the arrival of Covid-19. Now, as the months ahead remain uncertain and companies discover that is possible to operate remotely, the exception has become the norm. A recent Gartner survey confirmed the writing on the wall: a sweeping 82% of business leaders are planning on allowing at least some level of remote work moving forward, even after the pandemic is over. Yet despite being the other side of the employment coin, recruiting has not received that much attention thus far. In fact, remote hiring has become as much of a necessity and a reality and, just like telework, it comes with its own set of challenges and peculiarities.

Remote hiring & the new recruitment landscape

Gone are the days of overcrowded career fairs full of eager master’s students elbowing each other to get a minute with a representative of one of the top companies present. So are the endless rounds of in-person interviews that have candidates repeatedly come into the employer’s offices and meet half the team.

From now on, businesses will conduct fewer and more focused interviews, mostly online. Only the more critical and senior positions will get greater face-to-face time, with the rest of candidates being interviewed remotely except for perhaps the last interview, which is often just used to meet the chosen candidate and establish a more personal connection — something rather important in the colder remote work environment. In the case of IT contractors and temporal employees, however, the selection process is most likely to move completely online as flexibility and speed can be more of a priority.        

Career fairs and other networking events will also move online or even disappear completely, in favour of a new model that can accommodate safety measures while allowing for talent attraction. Eliminating the physical barriers of traditional career fairs will, in turn, expand the pool of candidates available to companies and democratize access to the top positions. Companies will be able to seek the best candidates regardless of location, while candidates will get to apply to positions that otherwise would have been completely out of reach.

A new series of challenges for employers with remote hiring

But moving the hiring process online will create new problems while solving existing ones. Assessing a candidate’s fit for the position and the company is more challenging when done through a computer screen. And there is a lot to assess in today’s candidates.

Hunting for the most in-demand technical IT skills was already tricky before the pandemic. Especially for the more niche skill areas, HR managers and recruiters who did not have that deep a technical expertise often had troubles assessing the technical skills of IT candidates.  

On top of that, the current crisis has created a need for IT professionals to possess a series of more business-focused skills. From change management and compliance to business intelligence, recruiters now have one more checklist to worry about when evaluating candidates.  

Additionally, the unique conditions of remote work make soft skills more important than ever. Softer skills like creativity and entrepreneurship were already becoming a must-have for IT experts. Now, interpersonal and communication skills are key to ensuring efficient teamwork dynamics and workflows. So is cultural fit. Employees need to be proactive in reaching to colleagues, making their work more visible and being open about their needs. Unfortunately, soft skills are some of the hardest qualities to assess when not face-to-face.  

Looking ahead

Both the new recruitment environment and the difficulties it brings along are forcing companies and hiring managers to come up with new best practices and processes in order to attract and retain the best candidates.

Ideally, the new approach combines a better and more targeted online interview model, with personal know-how and the use of the latest technological tools. For example, AI can help recruiters identify candidates who match the job’s criteria and are a

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