Hobson Associates

How to Keep the Hiring Process Going During Challenging Times

paper airplaneUnited Airlines recently announced that it will be implementing a hiring freeze through June in light of the recent outbreak of Covid-19 in the United States. Part of its decision stems from the fact that many travelers have suspended their plans, resulting in less air traffic, and therefore, there isn’t as high of a demand for new employees when business is down. (Source: HR Daily Advisor)

YET- did you know Google has just INCREASED hiring?! In the middle of a California lockdown... in the middle of a Pandemic!

Why!? They know two things:

  1. Top talent is still hard to find.
  2. And right now they are working from home, with time to talk…about a new job!

As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the nation, should all employers suspend their hiring process until the virus has run its course? The answer is no. Delay it, sure - but you’ve GOT to keep it moving somehow, so to not be left behind - as hiring will likely surge in the next few months.

The fact is that the hiring process needs to be modified to adapt to these changing times. You don’t want to lose good talent, but what should you do to keep the hiring process moving?

Conducting Interviews

You’ve found and connected with the perfect candidates. Now interviewing them them comes next. Traditionally, most companies start with a phone screen, and if the person seems to fit the mold, he or she is called in for a face-to-face interview. At times like these, conducting in-person interviews may have your recruiters and hiring managers on edge, but with technology, it doesn’t have to be that way!

You may be wondering whether candidates even want to conduct interviews virtually, but according to Amy Warner, Director of talent acquisition at iCIMS—in the new guide, Keep Your Business Running with Virtual Hiring—candidates are receptive to this method. “Candidates really appreciate the opportunity to interview from a place that is convenient for them,” she says. “There’s a strong sense of candidate appreciation when you show concern for their schedule, health, or family situation. It doesn’t have to be a major disruption to implement virtual screening—they are always useful as an employer and for the candidate.”

  • Additionally,  Irene DeNigris—Chief People Officer at iCIMS—offers this tip for recruiters and hiring managers looking to utilize video interviews: “Don’t lose the human connection with video. You can still assess facial expressions and levels of engagement when speaking virtually to candidates. It’s just an easier way to connect in today’s world.” Conducting virtual interviews doesn’t require too much technology, either. So long as your computer has a web camera, or your cell phone has FaceTime or Skype-like features, you can get the job done. And new technologies continue to pop up in the world of online recruiting.
  • LinkedIn is now offering interviewing capabilities via its Talent Hub platform. This new benefit allows users to interview candidates anytime, anywhere; assess coding, writing, speaking, and soft skills; and even verify the authenticity of candidates through secure proctoring. Instead of assessing candidates in-house, you can do everything online!
  • Additionally, even scheduling interviews can be done online! No more playing phone tag or waiting for a candidate to get out of work before calling you back to schedule an interview. Now candidates can access your calendar via a variety of Web-based applications to pick a date and time that works best for them.
  • If you want to scrap the interview in some cases, you can also ask candidates to submit a project-based assessment. In lieu of an interview, for some roles, it may be appropriate to ask candidates to provide a completed project, the requirements of which are created and detailed in advance by the hiring company. This shows the individual’s skills upfront and tells you a lot about the applicant by how he or she approaches the entire project. (This can be applied in various ways for different types of roles.)
  • One last strategy to try is to, again, scrap the interview and head straight for the assessment portion of the hiring process. While this step may or may not negate the need for an in-person interview, the idea is to shake up the recruiting process by going to assessment testing immediately rather than waiting until you have a candidate (or shortlist) in mind. This stage may include skills-based tests, logic tests, behavioral tests, personality tests, etc. 

Keeping Candidates Engaged

  • But when hiring is paused, Britton recommends that recruiters stay in touch with selected candidates. Communicate with them once or twice a week to check if their job or health status has changed. Ask them to contact you before accepting any other job offer. Be prepared to make quick decisions like offering them a signing bonus or temporary work so they can pay bills until you’re able to hire them. Likewise, consider offering them professional-development opportunities, specifically free access to your company’s online training courses. If all else fails, perform some old-fashioned recruiting. Ask for referrals.
  • Britton encourages HR to meet with IT, hiring managers, department heads, employees and others to solicit fresh ideas on how to quickly onboard new talent remotely. Perhaps some applicants can work offsite in a consulting capacity to tackle a portion of a job or project or perform a variety of tasks for several departments until hiring restarts.
  • So much of this is changing day by day,” says Britton. “Some are pressing on [while others] are saying, ‘We’ll see what happens tomorrow.’ ”

We are navigating uncharted waters…The process will look a little different for a while- more phone and video interviewing, keeping the candidates engaged, and having the ability to lock them in with a start date that is pushed out a little further than the normal timeline. LOTS of communication.

While coronavirus fears and challenges continue to plague the United States and world, it’s time to start looking into technology-based aspects of the hiring process. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology, you’ll at least be ahead of the curve when we all go fully digital- as that becomes the new “normal”.