Social Distance Hiring

In these trying times many of us have had to change how we do things at a fundamental level. How we shop, interact, and go to work is a lot different than we are accustomed to for the time being. However, just as we must change our habits to meet needs through this challenge, businesses must also adapt to continue building despite the present difficulties. As much as this pandemic has resulted in businesses having to scale back their operating costs, there are still internal needs that have to be met. Some businesses are having to pivot away from their original operating model and will have to bring in new talent to help them successfully transition through this period. All organizations including those who may have had to temporarily suspend their operations can benefit from building a talent pool in anticipation of the return of demand after the quarantine measures are eased. Regardless, human resource leaders must presently transform their hiring processes to conform to “safer-at-home” policies in order to meet their staffing needs and remain competitive for top talent while keeping both current and prospective employees safe and healthy.

A key difference in the search for talent during this time is being upfront with expectations that may be out of normal operating procedure. Just as many employees are currently required to work from home, make it clear whether or not the position will require in-person reporting or plans to once quarantine measures are lifted. Many organizations are finding that a large share of their work can be effectively completed remotely. Consider speaking with other leaders on your team to identify positions that can be performed remotely regardless of quarantine conditions in order to save overhead costs and offer more flexibility. Having postings that allow for fully remote capacity allows recruiters to expand their search to not be location sensitive and have a more rich field of applicants to choose from. 

Making changes to the interview process to accommodate social distancing measures can effectively replace some usually in-person steps. Relevant assessments are often used as a useful tool in evaluating a candidate’s personality traits or competency level in some areas. In some industries, having the prospective candidate complete an assignment that simulates a task for the position can be a great way to determine how well they may contribute as a part of the team. Switching the dynamic to have the candidate host a mock presentation is helpful when deciding on a leadership role or an outward facing position. These alternative evaluation tools can help you in your search for the ideal fit without having in-person meetings.

The most important aspect of a comprehensive hiring process is clear and consistent communication. While in-person interviews yield the most valuable conversations, substituting those with virtual interviews may have some benefits until quarantine measures allow for reopening. Conducting a virtual interview allows you to share information with the candidate in real-time and often accurately simulates work in their role. Tech savvy candidates will shine through in a virtual interview where understanding bandwidth and communication platforms is key. Although having to only see your prospective employee through a webcam is not ideal, having a virtual interview also allows for more members of your team to join the meeting and give their input.

There are many unique challenges about conducting business without being in close contact. Strive to meet these challenges by agreeing on clear expectations with your team to bring in talent where it is needed. Being able to implement new measures into your selection process can help give you a more full view of each candidate before making your decision. Utilize all communication tools at your disposal to hire with confidence without being able to shake your new employee’s hand.

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