Whilst many pharma companies have already begun to lay out their plans for their return to in-office working and face-to-face recruitment, some are choosing to adopt a more hybrid return to work and are making remote working and recruitment a more permanent solution going forward.
Although you may have a remote role and an in-office role which share the same responsibilities, the way you approach filling each of these roles shouldn’t look the same. Similarly, if you’re making a move towards more remote working in your organisation, then the recruitment processes you followed before need to be reassessed.
In this article, we outline some of the most important things to consider when hiring pharma candidates remotely, from building a strong online employer brand to making your new hires feel welcome.
Focus on Your Online Employer Branding
Having a strong online reputation is essential in attracting qualified candidates, especially if your recruitment process is fully remote as this will be the only way for candidates to get a feel for the company.
Your online brand should give candidates a clear idea of the following:
- What you do and why it’s unique in the industry.
- Why your company is a good place to develop a career in.
- How trustworthy you are in the industry.
- What your company culture looks like.
- Why employees enjoy working at your company.
To present this information, get creative with your careers page and social media accounts, and consider how you can take your brand to other platforms beyond your own pages. You can do this with PharmiWeb’s Employer Branded Careers Hubs which can help to strengthen your ‘Employer of choice’ positioning.
Emphasise Your Remote Working Culture
If your company is moving to a more remote working structure, you need to make your remote working culture a part of your employer brand. Although many pharma companies were forced to move to remote work in 2020, make it clear why you’re going to be moving forward with this structure permanently through choice, explaining the value you place in remote working (beyond the financial side of things!).
Perhaps you want to encourage your employees to have a healthier work-life balance – this will be a huge selling point for most candidates, so shout about it on your career pages. If you’ve been doing remote activities with your team such as weekly quizzes, share this on social media to show that working remotely doesn’t mean missing out on spending time with your team outside of work.
Be Specific with the Words You Use in Job Adverts
Even if you don’t have a definitive plan in place for your working model post-pandemic, don’t mislead candidates by using vague terminology in your job adverts. Be as specific about your working structure as possible. For example, if you’re adopting a hybrid working model, be specific about how many days the candidate will be expected to work in-office, and how many days they can work remotely.
Reassess the Benefits you Offer
Now that people have had the chance to experience a whole new way of working, the things they hold important in their careers have unsurprisingly shifted. The most popular employee benefits in 2021 include things such as flexible working that promotes a healthier work-life balance, Employee Assistance Programmes and other health and wellbeing benefits. Make sure the benefits you offer meet the needs of a remote workforce.
Reassess the Questions You Ask in Interviews
Although you might have a remote role with the same responsibilities as an in-office position, the skillsets required for these two environments will differ slightly, particularly in terms of soft skills. For remote workers, skills such as communication, self-discipline, initiative, and proactivity will be especially important. For remote roles, tailor your questions towards qualities such as these, as well as the environment that remote working creates, for example:
- Tell us about a time where you demonstrated excellent communication skills.
- How do you organise your working day/prioritise your tasks?
- What qualities do you think a person needs to succeed in a remote role?
- How do you stay motivated when working independently?
- What do you think are the main drawbacks of working remotely? How can they be overcome?
Whilst it has many benefits, working remotely won’t bring the best out of everyone, so it’s important to find out just how well candidates would really work in this environment.
Get the Rest of the Team Involved in the Process
You don’t want to intimidate candidates by making them answer questions in front of your entire team but do consider inviting other employees into the process. It can be harder to get to know someone through a video call than a face-to-face meeting, so having the opinions of your team should help with your decision-making.
Meeting other employees will also give candidates a better understanding of your company culture, and how the team communicate when working remotely. You might want to consider making the process slightly longer to give you the chance to do this, but only for candidates who make it through to the final stages as you don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
Give New Employees a Mentor
If you know you’ve got a busy schedule and won’t be able to be there for your new starters straight away, nominate a mentor from your team who will be available to help them with any questions whilst they get settled in. Knowing who to go to for help will give your new starters one less thing to worry about and will give them a chance to get used to communicating with colleagues remotely if this is their first time in a remote role.
Listen to Your Employees…
Especially if you’re new to remote recruitment, gather feedback from as many candidates as you can about the process and make sure to regularly review your methods. What worked well for one candidate may not have worked for another, so be open to changing things up and being flexible about your recruitment process.
Visit PharmiWeb.Jobs for more recruitment advice or to find out more about PharmiWeb’s recruiter services.