World of Online Recruitment Part Five

For this weeks’ blog we caught up with Caroline Thompson (pictured). Caroline is the HR Administrator at Beckfoot and Hazelbeck School and agreed to give me an insight into how she and her team successfully implemented changes to their recruitment processes due to social distancing measures.

The New World of Online Recruitment Part Five: Recruiting Virtually - A HR Administrators’ Experience

Author: Kate Earnshaw, Senior HR Business Partner (Consultancy)

Caroline ThompsonCaroline handles the recruitment processes for both Beckfoot and Hazelbeck Schools as part of her role and as the pandemic took hold and we were moved into lockdown she was in the process of recruiting to a number of positions;

“Lockdown changed how we interview as normally applicants would have a morning in school, teaching a lesson, a student panel and then an interview face to face with a panel”

I’m sure the process Caroline describes is similar to that adopted by the majority of education establishments, especially for teaching posts. But things had to change, each step needed to be re-considered for safety, necessity and practicality. Changing the process came with new challenges;

“Everything had to go online. This meant that assessment tasks now needed to be emailed out for example and our actual interviews moved to being carried out virtually via Microsoft TEAMS”

Safeguarding is another area of the recruitment process that had to change. At the peak of lockdown, the Disclosure and Barring Service announced temporary measures that ID documentation could be viewed via video link;

“Even checking ID we have had to use TEAMS; a lot of emails and patience was required! Having to work through online meetings has made getting ID and essential forms a little more difficult to ensure we have everything in place”

Since this however, new guidance has been issued as part of the measures to ease lockdown and face-to-face ID document verification can now take place as long as the verifier and those requiring their ID to be verified observe all Government guidelines.

Despite the difficulties Caroline and her team faced, they were however able to successfully recruit;

“After a lot of hard work from HR and our school’s leadership team we have successfully completed our recruitment. It has involved a lot more email correspondence with applicants rather than face to face but we have all adjusted, it has been different but we have still been able to build a rapport with our candidates”

Technology has been the saviour to many problems faced in recent months and recruitment is no exception. Caroline expressed that without access to emails, MS Teams and online recruitment and advertising support they would have struggled to carry on and have those essential positions filled in time for the new term.

While the employer has found it tricky, prospective candidates have also felt the effects of new ways of working. Caroline reflected that candidates definitely had more questions which would usually be emailed to her at all times of the day and evening.

I was intrigued to understand whether this pandemic had actually led to new approaches that will remain long after lockdown. Caroline felt that, whilst virtual recruitment had a place at the time of heavy restrictions it is likely that face to face recruitment practices will resume; when safe to do so of course!

Need help?

Don’t get stuck, we are here to help. If you want advice or support on the different options available to you when interviewing, please contact the PACT HR Consultancy Team on 07970 181138 or email

Read more

- For part one of our series of articles, 'The New World of Online Recruitment', read here.

- For part two of our series of articles, 'The New World of Online Recruitment', read here.

- For part three of our series of articles, 'The New World of Online Recruitment', read here.

- For part four of our series of articles, 'The New World of Online Recruitment', read here.