Coronavirus (COVID-19), Recruiting

Hiring Best Practices Emerging Amid the Dawn of the New Normal

The coronavirus crisis continues to impact how we work, making it clear that the situation will not simply return to normal in a few months. Leading companies are looking ahead, anticipating that the recovery will likely be a long journey and planning for a new normal. Organizations are embracing technologies that enable team members to work remotely with customers, partners, and each other.


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Hiring teams are quickly following suit and adapting and leveraging new technology-driven methods out of necessity to rapidly find, interview, evaluate, and hire candidates. In the process, they are realizing the benefits of virtual hiring for both their teams and job candidates while safeguarding the health and safety of all concerned.

Pandemic-Hiring Landscape

While many companies have been forced to lay off employees, others are hiring, and they are hiring fast. Amazon recently filled 100,000 positions and almost immediately opened reqs for 75,000 more, according to CNBC. The economic landscape is rapidly transforming and will remain unsettled for some time.

Coronavirus-driven safety concerns and the ongoing needs to hire employees impact how organizations evaluate and hire talent. We’re beginning to see strong evidence of emerging best practices that may well become part of a permanent transformation of talent acquisition as the hiring landscape changes post-pandemic.

Prepare for Technology to Play an Even Bigger Role

First, virtual interviewing will likely become the de facto standard for almost all hiring. Conducting interviews online, whether on demand or live, will address the significant health and safety concerns for job applicants, recruiters, and hiring managers alike.

But those managers will also realize that virtual on-demand interviewing brings other advantages, including access to a potentially broader talent pool, as travel and scheduling issues no longer stand in the way of finding new team members or job candidates accessing new opportunities.

Many industries have had to hire quickly over the past month to aid warehouse operations, stock store shelves, and build out call centers, among other examples. Through on-demand virtual interviewing, the scheduling interview process becomes much more efficient, and both applicants and hiring managers have greater flexibility to record interviews and review applications at times that work best for them and that are not limited to regular business hours or a predefined schedule.

Second, technology is providing new methods for recruiters and hiring managers to find talent. During previous recessions, I remember visiting very large job fairs at convention centers with hundreds of people standing in line, résumés in hand, waiting for an opportunity to tell their story.

For obvious reasons, companies can no longer rely on mass in-person gatherings. It’s quite possible they will discover online methods are more effective. Some organizations have already shifted to virtual job fairs. These aren’t merely online versions of what really are offline activities; instead, they’re available 24/7 without requiring the candidate or recruiter to travel, causing one to wonder what they will evolve into as hiring managers investigate what’s possible with virtual technology.

Now is the time for leading organizations to investigate tools that reach previously unserved job applicants and use virtual solutions to reach out to a broader candidate pool, unrestricted by travel or scheduling concerns. Over time, and with testing, hiring managers and their peers will implement new, more effective approaches that combine new technologies’ ability to reach dispersed candidates and the efficiencies created by diminished reliance on standard “broadcast” recruiting techniques.

Flexibility Is Key

Third, the new normal will involve significantly greater flexibility when it comes to work. Schools are closed. Parents are teachers. Many employees are caregivers for friends and family. The old structures have given way to a significantly more flexible future.

Organizations are embracing the need for flexibility regarding when employees might be able to interview for positions. For instance, even before the pandemic hit, 60% of HireVue on-demand interviews for healthcare jobs took place after normal 9–5 business hours, with a significant number taking place on the weekend when the candidates were available.

The most successful companies are providing methods for interviewing on candidates’ terms, wherever and whenever that may be. They also need to instill practices that lend flexibility to their own hiring teams. Interviewing and candidate reviews should happen anywhere, and on any platform, as much as possible.

Organizations are understanding and quickly adapting, and many have permanently altered their company policies so anyone can work basically from anywhere. At HireVue, we’re evaluating work-from-home accommodations by monitoring not only Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations but also when school districts and summer camps are back up and running; an understanding of childcare arrangements is critical for setting team expectations. Hiring practices need to reflect this new reality, which is likely to stay with us for some time.

Finally, much of the change is driven by technology, and that means access to rich performance data about the effectiveness of their process. Hiring teams will soon be able to evaluate the success of their new approaches. They will be able to see if a given tactic, executed to a specific candidate profile or a specific geography, yields results. They can test and shift their approaches accordingly. However, doing so involves identifying the right data to track, not jumping to conclusions on observed trends.

What Does the Future Hold?

Every day, we’re building the new normal for everyone at home and in the workplace. For candidates, recruiters, hiring managers, their bosses, and their coworkers, the coronavirus has driven unprecedented near-term changes.

Looking ahead, flexibility and experimentation will be the norm. They are testing new approaches and learning new ways to find and evaluate talent. Best practices will emerge that will benefit job candidates and organizations in the months and years to come as we all move forward, together.

Kevin Parker is Chairman and CEO of HireVue, which helps global enterprises gain a competitive advantage in the modern talent marketplace with video interviewing software and prehire assessments. In response to the coronavirus, his company is currently offering free video interviewing to numerous organizations, including hospitals. You can learn more here.

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