Hiring During COVID-19 and Beyond

For most of us, we have needed to focus on quickly setting up working from home arrangements for our staff, we’ve had to ask our staff to alter their days/hours of work, we’ve needed to be more flexible for parents working at home, with home schooling responsibilities.  Some of us have needed to let staff go, and some had had to close their doors.

However, some industries in a very different position.  They are busy and needing to hire extra staff and resources to cope with additional demands.  These industries are health care, supermarkets, call centres, home delivery services, online shopping, security and some IT experts. 

The rest of us will get back to the good times, but given all that’s happened, it’s likely that the way we’ve done things, may never be the same moving forward, including recruitment.

Online Interviews

The typical method for recruitment has been face-to-face interviews.  Online interviews have been around for a while (think volume recruitment needs, ie, graduates or remote workers), however they are now ‘essential’ with COVID-19 and I think will be around for a long time to come.

Please note:   With all things online, there are greater expectations of quicker turnarounds, so be mindful and prepared of these when planning your recruitment.

Conducting Online Interviews

There’s a few more things you need to think about, prepare for and manage with online interviews – here’s a few tips:

  • Allow extra preparation and set-up time.
  • Ensure the technology is working (eg before you begin that you can clearly see and hear each other, there are no dropouts, distortions or background distractions).  
  • Have a back-up plan (eg phone numbers or another time/date) in case the technology fails.
  • Make sure the applicant is comfortable before you get started.
  • Remember that interviews are stressful for most people.  In this current climate, it’s highly likely you may be receiving applications from competitors or people you know who have lost their jobs and still feeling stressed or fearful about their future.
  • Use an interview guide. Now, more than ever, it’s important to explore the skills and experience of potential employees, especially those relevant to your industry and business.  For example, their ability to manage customer complaints, de-escalate customer issues, to problem solve, to be self-starters, lead others, etc. 
  • Talk about your business – about how it’s been impacted during COVID-19, but also what you see as the benefits to your business and roles within it (new online shop, flexibility for workers, etc).
  • Talk through the role, including what may now be different due to COVID-19 or permanently different due to the changes you’ve already made in your business.  How long will the role be more (if you are not sure, say the lesser time period, but mention that it may have the opportunity to extend).
  • Talk through next steps and timing (reference and other checks – remember, that things may take longer in this current climate).

Alternate recruitment methods

There are numerous ways that you can ask candidates to participate in an interview process.  Please remember that these should be in additional to your interviews.  Here’s a few ideas:

  • You can ask them to prepare a short video about themselves as part of the application process – it’s a great way to see someone’s personality, communication skills.
  • You can ask them to undertake a case study, or a small project of some sort (for more creative roles).
  • Online testing – there’s a tonne of things out there to test skills (Word, Excel), personality, etc.  Please note:  these do cost money and take additional time.

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