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Interviewing Andres Bonilla, HR Director at Zijin Continental Gold

Globe’s Head of Sales – LATAM, Fabiano Kawano, spoke with Andres Bonilla from Zijin Continental Gold to understand how technology has changed the way they have been conducting business activities during the pandemic. This interesting insight is from Globe 24-7’s HR Newsletter #10, which can be found here


1. Have you changed the way in the recruitment process by implementing the technological part?

Andres: Right now, something is happening, and I think this is not just about us, but to do with all the restrictions on mobility due to the pandemic. COVID-19 in some way has impacted the traditional selection schemes that we had and has generated the need to use more mechanisms such as technology, and remote aids to be able to have contact with the candidates. Unfortunately, the restrictions to travel and go through certain geographies, to be able to visit the mine site to learn more about the project or to have access to offices is very difficult.

On the other hand, those of us who had been doing the processes proactively are more prepared. Still, we see that many people did not prepare and have been aware of the introduction of tests through the online services, all of which are the interviews that before they were done by Skype as something new, they have become common. We realized that other ways began to develop that everyone now uses such as Zoom, Teams, WebEx, Cisco, Google meetings. Many platforms have been developed. Therefore, this generates companies’ need to strengthen their platforms, their connection, and data networks to have better access and capacity.


2. Have you changed the way you do interviews?

Andres: We have a selection process that has different steps. We have a step in which effectively after having had one-to-one interviews with the selection and recruitment team, the next stage is more managerial and integrates people in the company who speak Mandarin. This generates a slightly more complicated process since we have to have a translator next to the person who does not understand the language. 90 per cent of the candidates do not speak Mandarin, which means we require a technological platform that allows us to connect several people at the same time and with a simultaneous translation to have a fluid interview.


3. How would conducting these interviews in person be different?

Andres: I think the only thing that would be different is not having a virtual room, but suddenly we would find ourselves in a meeting room. In addition to this, I think that the candidate would have the opportunity to get to know the infrastructure, the project, the offices, the furniture, the warmth of the people when they enter the reception. I think it would be great if candidates were aware of corporate elements when interviewing at our facility.


4. Do you think the attraction of candidates is lost when they conduct online interviews?

Andres: This is exactly what is happening at the moment. The candidates who agree to come decide to quit their jobs and come to work for us, when they arrive at the project it is the first time they see it. It is the first time they interact with other people from the company, so It becomes a little more complex to be able to hire a person from virtuality. This generates different challenges such as having to interview more candidates. We have had some candidates who accepted the proposal, worked with us, and decided to resign after a few days.


5. What do you lose when you conduct this type of interview?

Andres: I think that the only thing we are losing is the ability for the candidate to enter the project, talk with other people, walk through the entire mine, and recognise what their work area will be.


6. After the selection process, are you doing something different from how you would have previously?

Andres: Considering everything in Colombia with the quarantine, we are required to hire people and tell them that they need to work from home, as there was no way to start working directly on the project. We had to incur small challenges such as sending them the computer, the cell phone, the welcome kits, organizing the inductions and all the required processes virtually.  Arranging medical examinations’ were also a challenge since there are restrictions and priorities in people’s care due to the pandemic we are experiencing. Previously, we had the ability to read a candidates body language and gestures, which has now led us to carry out more virtual testing on candidates so that we can gain clarity on the individual that we are interviewing.


7. After the candidate is working with you, how are you managing the teams remotely? Do you have a new device to control the hours of activities that were implemented?

Andres: No, we firmly believe that our people have a level of responsibility, which means that they do not work by schedule but based on tasks and their results. In fact, in Colombia although it is entirety open so that people can move around, we are allowing staff to work from home. We do not feel that it is the time to open these offices. If a person can work from home we believe that it will be safe and a preventative measure. So they are not taking public transport or walking down the street and potentially be subjected to the pandemic’s risks. That is why we have considered working from home and what we have done is to facilitate scenarios so that people who are working from their homes can have access to an ergonomic chair and work station at the comfort of their own home.

The only new thing that has changed is that we have had to implement increased monitoring mechanisms on the mine site, especially when the staff have field breaks. An example of this is a precautionary and preventative system against COVID-19, where we check the employee’s temperature each day and voice any health concerns they may be experiencing. We also have an internet platform where employees have to enter their temperature, the health status they are in, and the family’s health status, which is another preventative measure to guarantee individuals and peers’ health.


8. What other topics would you like to discuss about changes in the human resources area related to technology?

Andres: Training has been hugely impacted. We have many of these sessions that have been postponed as they are not as important as they were before. Now we are only focusing on the important training, supporting ourselves again with technological platforms such as e-learning, training platforms with a teacher or the instructor from their office or in another city.

On the other hand, there are welfare issues. We were frequently meeting with our employees and their families to celebrate Halloween, Children’s Day, but now with the issues of Covid and restrictions we have had to make everything virtual, which is very different. But we must adapt to new ways of doing things.


9. What practices do you think the company will continue to implement when the pandemic ends?

Andres: There are many things that this pandemic forced us to strengthen, such as communication and connectivity. It is something that we will always keep in mind from now on.

Another thing that the pandemic will leave us with, is more staff working from home. Working from home was never contemplated before, but now with this new way of life we realise that it is much more beneficial. It has to be regulated since people tend to work much longer than normal. We have to see how beneficial this is since personal life is not being separated from working life.





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