As the “new normal” of lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing has swept the nation, recruiters are finding they need to tweak the methods they have used for years.
Although some sections of our economy have been hit hard by the coronavirus, many companies are still hiring, including those in the retail, customer service, and healthcare industries, among others. Because these sectors are still thriving, they will need the best and brightest to bring their companies through these strange times and into better days.
While many companies are hiring, the fact remains that most people aren’t going to an office anymore to conduct business. Social distancing has forced recruiters, management, and their teams to work from home, and changes need to be made. Let’s look at how you can recruit top talent and conduct business during COVID-19.
Job Interviews Have Changed
Once a prospective employee has been found, the first major step for the recruiter is to interview the candidate. Because we are working outside the office and people are keeping their distance, interviews aren’t happening at the corporate office anymore. Instead, recruiters who hope to thrive must take advantage of video interviews.
There are many online video apps that your office can turn to when it comes to interviewing candidates. The programs allow you to send professional invites and connect seamlessly while using your computer’s built-in camera and microphone. Using these apps, you can talk almost as if you were in the same room. Such platforms can even allow you to have virtual job fairs where you invite several candidates to a chat room and get to know many applicants at once.
If you are a recruiter who is new to video interviews, you will need to properly prepare for this new experience. You really need to think of it as a conversation with the candidate in the same room. You would likely be disturbed to hear an applicant’s cell phone ring during an in-person interview, so make sure that your area is clear of unnecessary technology and other distractions. Also, when you are asking and answering questions, provide ample time in case there is a delay. You want to avoid talking over one another.
Finding the Right Fit
Now that you have a means of speaking to your candidates, it is time to find the right fit. As mentioned, we are still living in a time when most people are working on their own in a remote environment. Some companies may find that this works better and continue this arrangement even after the threat of COVID-19 passes. Because of this, it is important to find potential employees who have experience working remotely or those who you feel will be up to the task without micromanagement.
That means you will want to ask the right questions during the interview. Even if they have not worked remotely before, you can ask them situational questions about a specific scenario in the past in which they had to work on a project independently while managing their own time and how they fared in that endeavor.
Other important questions include how the candidates maintain work/life balance, the steps they take when they face a new problem, and how they overcome a slump in productivity. These questions will give you an idea of how prepared the applicants might be for remote work and if they can stay on task without constant oversight.
While work ethic is important, so is the ability to physically work at home. During the interview, ask them if they have a quiet, clean, and tidy place where they can complete their work and maximize their efficiency. The work environment should be similar to one in the office, with a proper desk and an ergonomic chair where they can work for a long period of time without pain.
Their workplace should be well lit and orderly, and ideally, they should have a schedule that allows them to work without being distracted by children or pets. If there are certain times they cannot work due to a family situation, find out during the interview so you can create a work schedule that works for everyone.
Leadership and Communication
Finding the right candidates during these unique times is only half the battle. Once you find the best employees, you need to create a work environment that allows for seamless communication and the chance for everyone to thrive. Even though a candidate might seem ideal, you won’t know how the person truly works until he or she gets in the weeds. If you want to make sure you have the person you need, you might consider hiring people on a temporary basis so both parties can see if the setup feels right.
When it comes to turning new hires into long-term employees, effective leadership is key. On day 1, Human Resources and management must lay out the expectations and goals for each employee. Even though you aren’t sitting side by side, managers need to provide feedback and motivation for a job well done, as well as effective coaching when necessary. Your staff need to see that you have their best interests in mind and that with proper training, you trust them to work to their full potential.
Effective communication is key when everyone is working somewhere else. Teams should have daily or weekly meetings to discuss projects and everyone’s progress. Whether you use an instant messaging app or an online project board like Trello, employees need to know that they can reach out to management with a click.
While technology advances, it is important for supervisors not to forget the most important communication tool in their arsenal: their phone. No matter how much the world changes or evolves, there is still nothing as effective as picking up the phone and calling an employee when you need to provide feedback or explain a complex concept.
Yes, we are certainly living and working in a new time right now, but even if we are in uncharted waters, the way we recruit talent and do our work mostly stays the same—with just a few tweaks. Take advantage of new technology, have a bit of patience, and you will find the top talent your business requires.
|Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college, he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics, but business and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing, you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.