SEB opts for virtual recruitment

Azlan Ramli

KUCHING: Thanks to Covid-19, organisations are turning to virtual recruitment to hire new employees.

While going digital is not something new for organisations like Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), travel restrictions and reducing the risk of exposure to Covid-19 are among the factors that have contributed to the decisions to conduct virtual recruitment.

In a statement, Sarawak Energy said that all interviews were moved online in February last year when the Covid-19 became an apparent threat.

“We began our digitalisation journey with a roadmap digital blueprint and roadmap in 2018 as a strategic initiative. It is also part of our transformation to become a digital utility by the year 2025.

“We already had the necessary tools and equipment to conduct online interviews. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we operate. Most of our workforce is working either completely or on rotation from home.

“Most of them are comfortable with online tools unlike during the pre-pandemic situation and this has extended into the recruitment process so online interviews will continue to be the preferred channel to connect with our candidates,” it said.

Sarawak Energy revealed that it is exploring opportunities for collaboration with industry experts to incorporate multiple advanced methodologies into its hiring process for greater efficiency and insight.

“As safety is our topmost priority, conducting online interviews means reducing the risk of exposure to Covid-19 to both our staff and the candidates. It also reduces travel times and costs incurred by both parties as well as solves most of the scheduling conflicts that face-to-face interviews tend to have, especially during the movement control order (MCO) when travel is restricted.

“In principle, we still use the same assessment method regardless of the platform used but the effectiveness of these methods in online interviews may vary depending on the type of positions that we are sourcing. We have discovered they work best when resourcing candidates to be hired at executive level.

“Our assessors are reminded to take into account the candidates who may not be used to using technology or being on camera as the situation may create stress and be a sub-optimal condition for an interview,” it added.  

Meanwhile, Unimas registrar Azlan Ramli said the university would continue to utilise online interviews given the current Covid-19 pandemic.  

“The university usually advertises job openings through the print and digital media. This is a method that’s been used since year 2000. To simplify application, candidates need to apply through our Unimas eRecruitAcademic or Unimas eRecruitNonAcademic.

“As some of the candidates for our job openings are from other parts of the world, we will advise them to use any online platform to attend the interview.

“When we design an interview, be it online or face-to-face, there are differences worth mentioning and to be taken into account. It goes back to the type of jobs we are offering and whether we need to assess the non-verbal behaviour of the candidate,” he added.  

He said the university had its own standard operating procedures (SOPs) for new employees who had to travel between states and countries.

“The university has established its own SOPs for managing new employees who have to travel between states and countries. The SOPs were written as well as prepared by the Unimas Covid-19 Committee.

“It is aligned with the procedures and processes of the National Security Council (MKN), Ministry of Health (MOH) and Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC). It is also designed to help new employees register themselves physically at the university,” he said.