Coronavirus (COVID-19), Recruiting

New Norm Hiring: 3 Tips for Hiring Managers in the COVID Era

Whether you like it or not, it’s safe to say the “new normal” may be here to stay, and because of that, your HR and talent acquisition practices are going to have to change in order to keep up.

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To get a pulse on the current state of hiring and the trends shaping the new normal, staffing agency Addison Group asked 500 hiring managers across the United States how they’ve adjusted to hiring during the pandemic, what organizational changes they’ve implemented and experienced, and which of these changes will permanently affect the way we do business going forward.

Using information gathered from the survey, Addison Group created the report “Is Remote Hiring the New Normal?” which provides insights and guidance for hiring managers looking to establish best practices for hiring in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 56% of respondents say this is the first time they have performed hiring activities remotely.
  • 48% of respondents who chose virtual interviewing as the most significant new benefit say it is the most significant new benefit to be implemented permanently.
  • 33% of respondents consider fully remote working options to be the most significant benefit implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 26% of respondents say they are now prioritizing remote technology skills in new candidates.
  • 24% of respondents plan to focus hiring on part-time, contract-to-hire, and freelance employees.

We’re sensing a theme here: Remote work may be here to stay! No longer used as a perk to get talent in the door, remote work will be the preferred way of working for many until the pandemic is over with—and/or possibly forever.

If you’re new to remote recruiting or this new way of work, Addison Group shared some tips for hiring in the “new normal.”

1. Watch Out for Red Flags

Just like you’d watch out for red flags in résumés and interviews, Addison Group says you should be aware of potential red flags during remote recruiting, as well. What do these red flags look like, though?

Remote recruiting isn’t that different from regular recruiting, but because of social distancing guidelines, the interview process should be done via videoconferencing technology. Keep in mind that candidates will be “calling” in from their home offices, and some of these candidates may be using such technology for the first time.

Addison Group says, “While a few children’s toys aren’t a red flag, extreme disorganization or uncleanliness could be. Presentation still matters, even virtually.” But, the report cautions, presentation goes both ways.

“Practice due diligence to make sure you and your team are dressed appropriately, have professional backgrounds and are prepared to give your full attention during the interview,” says the report. “Don’t forget that you are also selling the job.”

2. Reevaluate Remote Onboarding Practices

Now that “everything” is digital, your onboarding practices should be optimized to meet digital demands. However, there are just some things that can’t be digitized, like identity verification.

At the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Talent Virtual Conference, attendees were discussing how their organizations were handling identity verification of new hires who couldn’t come into the office to complete I-9 forms.

One participant, who works at a call center and does high-volume recruiting, said their company set up a drive-thru I-9 station to verify the identities of its new hires. Candidates would drive up to the attendee manning the station, stick their driver’s license or government ID against the window, and drive off once the attendee confirmed their identity.

The “new normal” of recruiting will absolutely require talent acquisition professionals to get innovative and creative. Addison Group also suggests keeping the process personalized. “Make sure you have a comprehensive list of necessary introductions with the team and coworkers across the organization,” finds the report. “Setting these up virtually takes longer, but it’s important to the process and for helping new hires settle in and feel comfortable.”

Addison Group also suggests sending new hires something tangible in the mail, like a welcome box filled with small, company-branded swag or a personalized note from the new hire’s team members welcoming him or her onboard. Whatever method you choose, remember to keep it personal! Employees at all stages want to feel welcome, and given that these new hires will be starting out remotely, there could be a disconnect between these individuals and existing members of the team.

Connecting new hires to team members immediately and making them feel welcome from the start are surefire ways to provide a great candidate experience to remote workers.

3. Go Outside Your ‘Zone’ to Find Qualified Candidates

Remember the not-too-distant past, when the candidate-driven market was in full swing and employers were trying every trick in the book to get candidates to apply to their companies? One way to source new talent was to look outside your geographical boundaries and attract talent from different regions.

With the rise in remote work and remote work technologies, why wouldn’t you be looking outside your region for top talent? If you’re recruiting for a position that’s going to remain remote, should it matter where the candidate lives? By going outside your geographical boundaries to recruit talent, you’re opening your talent pool up to a broader, more diverse range of potential candidates.

We understand this isn’t feasible for everyone, but it’s worth a shot if you’re in a pinch! Many workers are still fearful of going back to their workplaces and have turned to searching for jobs that are strictly remote. If you want to find top talent from outside locations, be sure to include “remote” in the job posting.

If remote recruiting is nothing new to you, congrats—you’re one of the lucky few who were able to keep going about business as usual! For everyone else, now is the time to adapt and change, as the “new norm” is here!

“The future isn’t entirely clear for many organizations, but the pandemic has put a spotlight on what aspects of the hiring process work and do not work amid a crisis,” says Tom Moran, CEO of Addison Group. “Some of the workforce changes we deemed temporary necessities unveiled new successes and gains in both productivity and work/life balance that will inspire permanent changes to the hiring process for the foreseeable future. It’s now on business leaders to ensure their hiring managers are best positioned to attract and secure top talent so, even amid uncertainty, operations can move forward with confidence.”