As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, in spring 2020 many office enterprises switched over to teleworking, resolving HR tasks, building the community, and even recruitment, were all forced to go online.

HRvilág interviewed Ádám Varga, HR Manager of INNObyte Informatikai Zrt., to discuss what sort of impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had, and is still having, on recruitment, community building, solutions to HR tasks. The entire interview can be accessed by clicking the link below but it can also be read as follows.

To access the interview, click here: https://hrvilag.com/online-interjuk-hatekonysaga/

HRvilág: The HR strategy at domestic companies has changed enormously recently. What has changed at INNObyte Zrt. and what does this mean to the company from the point of view of searching for new recruits?

INNObyte: For our part, the most sought-after position at the moment is the Java developer. We are trying to select the most suitable candidates for the company using a professional, offline test and then interview. However, recruitment of other specialists working in IT posed a greater challenge to the company, for example, it is difficult to find trained IT project managers who hold professional qualifications, communicative Business Analysts who understand the demands of clients, and Devops engineers able to progress development work.

Typically these positions are the ones that are not taught in higher education, or if so then only tangentially, and in-depth knowledge of several specialist fields is required for colleagues to perform properly the tasks assigned to them. The selection process for such experts comprises at least two interviews conducted with professionals in different areas.

HRvilág: Through which channels do most candidates come?

INNObyte: In general, we cold call candidates based on information posted on online social media professional forums. Reaching agreement with a promising candidate during the COVID-19 pandemic requires speed and determination. It is not possible to keep an applicant in a state of uncertainty for long.

In general, we have to give an answer to a candidate within 3 weeks of first making contact because we have found that if we leave it longer, they will find a position elsewhere. One way of speeding up the process is that we have switched to online interviews, thus it is far easier for all concerned to find a convenient appointment, but at the same time it has become more difficult to assess the soft skills of the candidate.

Another vital part of ensuring speed and determination is that we work closely with the professional area. As a consequence of this collaboration, HR is in possession of much detail on the company’s ongoing main projects, thus even when making the first contact we are able to clarify questions of fundamental importance for the candidate: for example, the operated technological stack, the principal goals of the project and the developmental methodology.

During the selection procedure we consider it important for HR to have a strong presence, however, the final decision is reached jointly with the professional division.

HRvilág: So you are no longer conducting ‘offline’, in-person interviews?

INNObyte: As a consequence of the totally new situation created by COVID-19, people are less willing to leave their homes thus we saw little opportunity for arranging in-person interviews, which is why from last March all our interviews have been conducted online.

In fact, we were not total strangers to this form of interviewing candidates since it has already happened several times when we were looking for a colleague for our site in Pécs, or this method was more convenient for candidates. In general, however, one or other employee of INNObyte met with the candidates at least once before being taken on. This changed from March 2020, we have taken on several colleagues without ever meeting them personally, a decision that carries within it its own risks.

HRvilág: Don’t the restrictions make negotiating even more difficult?

INNObyte: It is our experience that flexibility – on the side of both parties – shown during the selection process is of even greater importance. The best example of this was when the head of the division signalled just a few minutes before the interview that he/she could not be present at the interview for reasons outside his/her control. This forced us to improvize and call in a subordinate for the interview, even though they had little previous experience in interviewing candidates. The candidate was appreciative of the fact that we did not waste their time and we showed flexibility to resolve the situation.

The interview was a success, the candidate was taken on and since then has reached a managerial position within the company.

HRvilág: On the other hand, online recruitment makes it easier to reach anyone worldwide. Could even an Australian apply for a position in remote working?

INNObyte: In theory, this operational method makes it possible for us to recruit not only from the Hungarian labour market but the international job market, too. Unfortunately, however, the type of work we do makes the integration of non-Hungarian speakers into the team difficult, because a large proportion of our clients speak Hungarian and programmes and documentation are also written in Hungarian.

HRvilág: Do you rely solely on the Internet for HR research?

INNObyte: We’ve found that it is effective if the networks of employees are also involved in the process. In this regard, I would like to highlight our successful in-house recruitment campaigns. By mobilizing various motivational tools, we have managed to get our staff to regularly recommend their acquaintances, their former colleagues; in these cases we have an easier task during the selection process since we do not have to win the trust of the candidate, that work has already been done by the colleague making the recommendation.

HRvilág: How common is this practice?

INNObyte: We can say that so far recruitment has all been resolved using in-house resources. We found that contact by current staff develops trust in candidates and since they have in-depth knowledge of the company, their confident responses are convincing. Our recruitment activity is continuous thus recruiting colleagues always have something to do.

HRvilág: Thank you very much.