Recently, we spoke with Tim Ihlefeld, the CEO of Harqen, which provides on-demand video, voice, and text interviewing technology services. We asked Ihlefeld about his company, how he anticipates recruiting and interviewing to change post-Covid-19, and what he thinks will be the long-term effects of the coronavirus on traditional HR practices. Below is an edited version of that conversation.
Vault: First of all, how are you doing, all things considered? And where have you been working from these past months?
Ihlefeld: I’ve been doing well, thank you. My team and I have been working mostly from home. As a tech company, we were fortune enough to already have the infrastructure in place to shift to a mostly remote operation without too much friction.
Can you talk a little about what your company does and its history?
Harqen was founded in 2007 and offers smart digital interviewing and assessment solutions. This includes live video interviews as well as on-demand interviewing that can be recorded via video, audio, or SMS/text. Over the past year, we’ve made significant investments in our core technology and products, including predictive intelligence tools that help our clients further streamline and improve their hiring processes. Ultimately, our goal is to help our clients identify the top talent from their candidate pools faster and compress their overall hiring timelines.
How do you anticipate firms will change their interviewing and recruiting practices due to Covid-19? And how long do you think these changes will last?
Like many other job functions, recruiting and hiring processes have needed to adjust. Asking a candidate to travel and physically appear to perform a job interview is no longer practical or wise in many locations. Luckily, in our age of software and technology, there have been a number of tools readily available to help us make these adjustments. This includes both live and on-demand interviewing solutions that provide more flexibility for candidates to pass through the hiring and assessment process without being physically present.
Once new technologies take hold, organizations very rarely go backwards. Employers will see the real benefits of what these tools bring to the table, particularly around efficiency, and will ultimately embrace these temporary changes for the long term. It will become the new normal.
Which industries do you anticipate seeing the most change in with respect to working remotely and recruiting/interviewing? What will be the lasting effects in these industries and to the way we work in general?
All industries have been affected on some level by the Covid-19 outbreak, and I expect most will end up changing aspects of how they conduct business moving forward. We will certainly see more organizations across the board embrace remote work on a permanent basis.
The talent acquisition space, specifically, may very well become fully virtual. Technology tools like on-demand interviewing removes a number of inefficiencies, particularly in the early stages of the hiring process. Instead of coordinating availability to perform interviews during business hours, recruiters can bulk send interview invites by email and let candidates complete their interviews on their own time. The end result is getting more done faster. There’s no reason to return to the manual way of doing things.
Which other types of changes do you anticipate companies and HR divisions making in a post-Covid-19 world?
The way companies manage employees will certainly evolve on a number of levels. We already talked about how more employers embracing remote work. Office design and layouts may be rethought. The types and size of company events may be reexamined. Fundamentally, processes, roles, and repeatable tasks that can be automated or simplified through technology or software will most likely reach those transitions much faster due to Covid-19.
Anything else that you think is relevant for job seekers and professionals to know?
Before Covid-19, the transition to digital tools was already well underway. This event has simply sped up that process in many areas. As modern workers, we should embrace these changes and not be afraid of using these tools to become more efficient in our day to day responsibilities. Technology tends to open the door to new opportunities.
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