The ongoing remote working revolution is not only changing the way organisations function, but also the way they hire. Many organisations in Singapore are now interviewing remotely, which has led to faster and more efficient hiring processes. However, with remote working likely to become a permanent fixture in the new world of work, businesses are increasingly facing the challenge of communicating their employer brand to potential employees they are interviewing through virtual means. 

“This is a difficult challenge to overcome,” says Grant Torrens, Regional Director for Hays Singapore. “After all, when conducting face-to-face interviews, the candidate immediately gets a feel for your employer brand by simply setting foot in one of your offices, experiencing the sights and sounds of your carefully crafted working environment, interacting with your people and so on. But this sensory experience isn’t as easy to replicate when interviewing remotely.”

To counter this, Grant shares 10 ways organisations can best communicate their employer brand when interviewing remotely:

1.    Assess your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) – According to Grant, the first step to effectively communicating your employer brand is assessing your employer value proposition (i.e. the value your employees gain from working at your organisation rather than for a competitor), particularly after a crisis of this scale that has impacted not only the way people work but also their motivations. “Consider which changes you will need to implement to really resonate with your current and future people in the next era of work – a world which will look very different from before. The key to understanding this is recognising that the pandemic will have left many people with different attitudes to work. For example, the crisis may have left many questioning their ‘why’, meaning your organisational purpose may become a more important part of your employer brand strategy going forward; or some may now value self-care and wellbeing more, which requires a renewed focus on flexibility and work-life balance,” says Grant. 

2.    Use the right channels to communicate – “Authenticity and trust will be high on the agenda for potential new employees when assessing your organisation. It has thus become critical that you empower your people to tell your organisation’s story and share it with their social networks. They are your biggest advocates and they always will be,” says Grant. In addition, he believes now is also a good time for organisations to revise their job descriptions and ensure the right language, tone of voice, values and purpose are being emphasized. “Focus on what they as a professional can get out of this opportunity. It could also be a good idea to consider producing video versions of your job descriptions, which we’ve seen some great success with at Hays,” says Grant.

3.    Conduct virtual office tours – Coming to the interview stage, Grant recommends that organisations try to replicate the face-to-face interview experience through video. “It could help to record an office tour ahead of time and send it to your candidates, or conduct it live (if you’re able to get inside the office of course) during the interview. This may also be a great opportunity for you to highlight how your organisation is changing its environment to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your employees, whilst adhering to social distancing measures,” he says. 

4.    Record short introductory videos – “Encourage your hiring managers and interviewers to record and send short introductory videos to the candidates before the remote interview,” says Grant. “Use this as an opportunity to provide some insight into why they are hiring for the role and the impact it will have on helping the organisation realise its wider organisational purpose. It also adds more of a ‘personal touch’ which will be lacking when conducting interviews virtually.”

5.    Provide virtual access to the senior leadership team – “Previously, when a candidate was interviewing in person, they may have had the chance to meet different members of the senior leadership team, even if just in passing, “ says Grant. To help replicate this, “consider sending video clips or links to articles in which these senior leaders have been featured.”

6.    Run virtual coffee intros with your wider team – Similarly, a candidate doing a face-to-face interview would likely have the chance to meet their wider team, says Grant. This is often a great opportunity for the candidate to assess team culture and get a better feel for the organisation. “It’s important that this opportunity isn’t lost just because you’re running the interview process remotely. Instead, you could consider inviting your wider team to join towards the end of the interview, or even set up virtual ‘coffee intros’ separately,” Grant recommends. 

7.    Incorporate ‘small talk’ into the interview – The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for professionals, who may be feeling unsure or nervous about their remote interview. “As an employer, you can take this opportunity to demonstrate any values your organisation has around kindness and compassion. Begin the interview by asking how the candidate is, and if they have any concerns about the format of the remote interview before you begin. Encourage the candidate to ask questions throughout and do all you can to put them at ease,” says Grant. 

8.    Ask different interview questions – “Not only have people been irreversibly changed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, but what you’re looking for from a talent perspective may have also changed,” says Grant. “So, consider whether the questions you’re asking in your remote job interviews need to change too. For example, as hybrid working will become more common, it may be a good idea for you to ask: “Do you prefer to work independently or as part of a team?” You may also want to tailor your questions to assess the candidate’s soft skills, such as adaptability and communication which will become more important in the next era of work.”

9.    Send sample products or merchandise to applicants – “Ahead of the interview, you could consider sending a small package of branded merchandise or examples of your products to the candidate,” says Grant. “If you’re a service business, think about sending videos or testimonials from your customers to really bring what you do to life for the candidate.”

10.    Seek feedback on the remote interview process – “Consider sending surveys to candidates so that they can feed back on their remote interview experience – the more data you have, the better you will be able to refine your approach going forward,” says Grant.

“Organisations in Singapore will need to keep evolving to adapt to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world of work. This includes how they will position themselves in the eyes of their current and potential people, as well as what they offer them. Increasingly, the opportunities and tools to communicate this will be virtual or remote. By using these with innovation and empathy, organisations can not only bring their employer brand to life when interviewing remotely but attract the right talent and ultimately thrive in the next era of work,” he concludes. 

About Hays Singapore

Hays Specialist Recruitment Pte Ltd, Singapore ("Hays Singapore") is one of Singapore's leading recruitment companies in recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people across a wide range of industries and professions. 

Hays has been in Singapore for over a decade and boasts a track record of success and growth. We operate across the private and public sector, dealing in permanent, temporary and contracting positions in more than 15 different specialisms, including Accountancy & Finance, Banking & Financial Services, Digital Technology, Engineering, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Information Technology, Legal, Life Sciences, Marketing & Digital, Office Professionals, Procurement, Supply Chain and Sales. Hays Singapore was named the “Best Small Workplace” in Singapore in 2019 and 2018, and was ranked fourth “Best Multinational Workplace” in Asia 2020 by Great Place to Work®.

About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2019 the Group employed 11,500 staff operating from 265 offices in 33 markets across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2019:

– the Group reported net fees of £1,129.7 billion and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £248.8 million;
– the Group placed around 81,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 254,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 18% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 27% in Germany, 23% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 32% in Rest of World (RoW);
– the temporary placement business represented 57% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 43% of net fees;
– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Singapore, Colombia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Singapore, Luxembourg, Singapore, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA