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How we continue to recruit top talent during lockdown

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Covid-19, Our services, Recruitment

On Monday 16th March 2020 everything changed! It was the day that we were officially told that due to Covid-19 we would be working from home for the foreseeable future. As a recruiter in a world where face-to-face interviews is what I do, I instinctively thought recruitment would naturally grind to a halt. How can we continue when we could not set up any interviews? 

Initially, the business was a little shell-shocked, and recruitment was momentarily put on hold as we prioritised how this would impact our services and how we needed to adapt to continue recruiting. We soon realised projects still had to be delivered and now with more urgency than before. To do this we needed to make hires, and fast!

We are living in extraordinary times however we are committed to delivering a great onboarding experience for all our new colleagues. In MoJ Digital and Technology​, we have a clear vision - to develop a digitally-enabled justice system that works more simply for users.  We’re making things better by building adaptable, effective services and making systems that are simple to use for staff and citizens. It can be challenging but it’s also important and rewarding.

Onboarding new employees 

The recruitment industry is very high energy and we needed to keep up momentum and adjust to new ways of working. Luckily we are a highly digital and agile department so video interviews became the new norm. Believe it or not without having to book meeting rooms (which are notoriously difficult to find) and get an interview panel in the same place at the same time our job actually became a little easier. The upshot of this is that we have continued to hire at pace. Since lockdown was announced we have recruited 88 civil servants and have found that we are attracting many more applications than normal from top quality candidates, which for us as a business is fantastic!

We have also had to work closely with our colleagues in IT to make sure that we can get Iaptops sent to new starters at home. At first, as with all things, there were some hiccups but we now have these sorted and equipment is being sent around the country ready for people’s first days. 

My advice for applying for a job within Civil Service 

My top tip is always read the job advert carefully and make sure that you send all that you are asked to send. What I mean by this is, if the advert asks for a cover letter, make sure you include one. Make sure it is tailored to the job you are applying for and make sure it is clear, succinct and to the point. I would say that is my number 1 tip when it comes to your job search - tailor each application to the role you are applying to. Yes, this means a little bit more work but it makes such a difference. 

So, you’ve submitted your application and been lucky enough to secure a video interview, should you prepare differently for a video interview as opposed to a face to face interview?  In short, no! Of course, you will need to make sure you are somewhere quiet where you will be able to concentrate but make sure you prepare in the same way you would for any interview - read over the job description, look at this blog, read through your CV and have examples prepared of specific projects to discuss.  

My top tips for a video interview

  • Find a private, well-lit place, free from possible interruptions
  • Ensure your internet connection is stable
  • Check that your computer’s audio is working
  • Test your computer’s webcam
  • When listening, nod and smile to show you are engaged
  • Use hand gestures when appropriate
  • Place your phone on silent mode

What's in our future pipeline 

As an employer, we are determined in our objective to grow and develop a diverse workforce. One area we are reviewing to help support this in relation to our recruitment processes and how they support the attraction, recruitment and onboarding of neurodiverse candidates. While the work is in its early stages, I would be really keen to hear your thoughts around this. Also please share your experiences of organisations that do this well so we can learn from others.

If you are looking for a new challenge or just fancy a change, take a look at our current vacancies in D&T. We have some great opportunities available...why not see for yourself.

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