Several companies, interviewees, and prospective new hires alike have experienced an unexpected and dramatic shift in both the hiring and interview process due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As a nationwide staffing agency, assisting organizations of all sizes, we’ve noticed businesses in almost every industry take various approaches that usually differ from their competitors and counterparts. From revamping the position and its responsibilities to eliminating the position and hiring need altogether; this pandemic has forced organizations to quickly decide what’s more vital to both their immediate and long-term future.
Some of these decisions have been made with the best intentions for the company and workforce alike while others are simply a reaction to the widespread panic and uncertainty of the immediate future. We’ve found the worst being to completely halt or freeze the interview process for critical hires for their respective organization and, as a result, losing viable candidates or top-tier talent to another employer.
For these critical hires, we’ve curated a list of the best adjustments an organization can make to their existing interviewing and hiring processes, while protecting both employees and candidates alike, to focus on their immediate needs today and successfully hire for tomorrow.
1. Determine whether or not the job description needs to be altered to reflect any changes in the role and responsibilities as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
- Decide how vital it is to have someone in the office vs working from home and whether or not that could be subject to change due to nation or statewide regulations; especially if the organization is considered a nonessential business.
- Determine what responsibilities may differ when working from home compared to working in an office.
2. Have your hiring committee determine when virtual interviews can be utilized during the recruiting process and if/when in-person interviews would be absolutely necessary.
- Structure a new interview/hiring process based off of this information utilizing video call or video conferencing platforms such as Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Webex, Hangouts, FaceTime, and other media.
*This will also show candidates and prospective new hires your ability to adjust to shifts in the labor environment and utilize cutting-edge technology to adapt to these changes.
- Consider outsourcing the initial recruiting process to a staffing agency to assist in recruiting top talent and adding an additional layer of vetting to the interview process.
3. Determine if onboarding, orientation, and any necessary training can be conducted virtually.
- Adjust existing processes to reflect these changes.
- Train necessary staff involved in each stage of the new hire onboarding, orientation, and training processes.
4. Have a plan in place for fully reopening your office(s).
- Determine how reopening will impact the position(s) you are hiring for and how it will change the interviewing and hiring process.
5. Refresh job postings and get the word out to let the world know you’re hiring.
- Prevent your job postings from going stale and allow prospective candidates know you’re actively interviewing for the role(s).
- Ask employees to share job openings via social media to make sure people in their network know you’re hiring immediately.
- Begin building a pipeline of viable candidates for frozen positions that you will resume hiring for in the future. Reach out and stay connected with potential candidates.
- Utilize professional networks for referrals.
- Take into consideration that a staffing agency can assist your organization in getting the word out and doing the heavy legwork of recruiting qualified candidates.
6. Once the plan and procedure are finalized and in place, be transparent with any prospective candidate about the adjustments made as a result of COVID-19.
- Communicate openly to the candidate about each stage of the interview process and ensure every person conducting interviews conveys a consistent and clear message about the company’s values, mission, goals, and plan to adjust to this new normal moving forward.
- Discuss the candidate’s willingness to work from home, work from an office during this time, and adjust based on any changes made as a result of the pandemic.
7. Be patient and understanding during the interview.
- We strongly recommend sending helpful tips or clear instructions to the candidate prior to the video interview to make sure they are comfortable using the technology.
- Provide the candidate extra time to become comfortable using the video call platform.
- Be understanding and patient if there are background noises such as children, animals, phones ringing, lawnmowers, etc. during the call.
- Take into account the absence of certain social cues that would be common in typical in-person interviews.
We hope these tips help navigate you through these ongoing adjustments to the workplace. We’re also here to assist you and your organization develop an effective and safe recruiting strategy. We wish you the best of luck and hope you stay safe.