The Pandemic & What Managers Need to Change In Their Hiring Process

Jul 30, 2020

The world as we know it has changed, the only question up for debate right now is for how long? Will we be seeing physical distancing, sanitizer, and masks as a part of the “new normal” in the foreseeable future? Will these protocols be mandated as best practices for companies even once the worst is over? Or will we return to something closer to the 2019 world we left far behind? Time will tell, but companies do not have a crystal ball nor time to wait and see how everything ends up playing out.

We have already bore witness to numerous small and medium businesses permanently closing as a result of restrictions that limit their ability to operate and other’s who could not or would not adapt. Adaptation is far from over, preserving business and it’s continuity was phase one. Phase two will be growth strategies in a pandemic world. Part of that growth strategy will include strategically adding key people to your company to fill a variety or roles and perform the necessary functions in order to achieve that growth.
So what do managers need to consider when hiring people in a pandemic world? Well, first in the United States alone we have over 26 million people out of work. Anyone trying to recruit top talent during a recession with significant unemployment rates should look at this as a bit of a double edged sword. On the one hand we have a large pool of candidates to choose from due to the high unemployment rate. On the other hand, you have to manage an overwhelming amount of unqualified resumes submissions or worse, other companies as they start coming back are doing a better job at attracting top talent to their business. (If you would like to discuss your current hiring needs and strategies with us click here.)

With an overwhelming influx of resumes pouring in from Indeed you are going to need to tighten up your job description requirements for the jobs posted or get off job boards all together. If you have the luxury of having an internal recruiting team and they are using Indeed, you are paying them a salary to sift through unqualified resumes by the hundreds. In a recession you are going to get a landscaper who wants to try his hand at the Director of Sales position you have open in New York. You may even get a Director of Sales who wants to try her hand at landscaping. The point being, desperate times call for desperate measures, and people are going to throw darts with a blindfold on when it comes to applying for jobs and just hope something sticks. You can’t afford to burn your talent acquisition team’s cycles on these tasks. So here are your options, Indeed offers specific required fields when posting a job as well as some basic skill and competency tests. If you add specific requirements and require the applicant to specify or answer how they meet them as well as a test, you are going to detract the “dart throwers” from bothering with the application. This should help lighten the load a little, even though applicants can simply lie to get their foot through the door.

Your second option when it comes to job boards is the elimination of them as one of your core practices altogether. Put your time to better use and train your internal recruitment team how to be more proactive hunters when it comes to sourcing and vetting talent, that is a much better use of their time and company dollars than sifting through unqualified candidates. You could even reduce the size of your staff when you put one or two internal recruiters to good use proactively searching for talent, if filling a position is still a challenge for your team or yourself you can contract out recruiting agencies that will only be paid when a hire is made, reducing your costs significantly by eliminating the need for salaries, benefits and idle employees when hiring slows down; and no need to hire an internal recruiter when hiring picks back up. If you would like to learn more about how we can assist you and your team with a proactive hunting recruitment strategy contact us.

Once you have decided the best route for your recruitment effort during these times you need to take a look at your interview process. Pre-pandemic interviewing was a much more personal process for many companies. Once a qualified candidate was selected for an interview many companies would have an in

itial phone call having a high-level conversation about the candidate and their interest in the position. Once the screen was completed they would typically be invited to an in-person interview on the job site. An in person interview is still very much the preferred choice for many hiring managers as it gives you deeper insight into the candidate. You will gain insight into their communication skills, body language, oratory skills, and how they handle the overall pressure of being physically present for the interview. The hiring manager can quickly decide if there is an overall rapport being built during the interview while qualifying the candidate.

Since we are in pandemic times we can no longer conduct in person interviews the same way. In many cases you could, provided social distancing measure and PPE protocols are put in to place but the more efficient and safe way to move through interviews with candidates is via video technology.

Video interview technology allows managers to access the candidate in real-time still and saves both the candidate and manager travel, risk, and time of meeting at a designated site to conduct the interview. A popular tool for many companies has been Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Hangouts just to name a few. Managing your calendar, sending video interview invites, and conducting video interviews is not only safer but a much more efficient way to manage your time if you are interviewing multiple candidates for the position. The interview process itself does not have to change much as a result of conducting it over video and you still will gain solid insights into how the candidate communicates and presents themselves overall.

Another strong option is to leverage video interviewing software. The difference between your video conferencing tools like Zoom versus video interviewing software is that the video interviewing software is specifically designed for conducting interviews specifically, while video conferencing tools are designed for general use, demos, meetings, conferences etc. Many video interviewing software allows you so collect candidate data and manage that data within the platform, create video interview questions or leverage a database of interview questions, customize email templates on next steps and allows sharing of recorded interviews internally with the team seamlessly. To learn more about how we can assist you with your recruiting efforts, including our video interviewing software, click here.
Another great tool to test a candidate’s aptitude for the role would be to send them a personality or skill specific online test. These have been popular before the pandemic but I would argue that these types of tools are a must have in a remote world. These tests will specifically question the candidate on specific skills or gauge their personality specific to the function that you are considering them for. The test can be emailed to them and the results will appear in your inbox immediately following the completion of the test.

Lastly, where possible, all on-boarding, training, and the job itself should have the flexibility of being conducted in a remote capacity when possible. The pandemic has been a lengthy process so far and many of us were not expecting this to go on for as long as it has already. Many great candidates and employees have had to adapt and make compromises around their personal lives, making reporting to an office limiting and often times difficult, cutting into their overall productivity. In my opinion, work from home flexibility should be an ongoing and adopted best practice for companies if they are looking to be competitive and attract and retain top talent. This will give the employee the opportunity to better manage their time and schedule as well as establish a level of preparedness in the event of a second wave of Covid-19, mitigating downtime.

Combining these suggestions in your hiring practices as the “new normal” process will put you in a position to attract and hire top talent more efficiently and significantly reduce your time to hire. We at Axe Staffing & Recruiting leverage all the above mentioned strategies and technologies in our recruitment process and can offer a turn-key recruitment and hiring process for you and your team. The benefit being the process and effort of attracting top talent is already built by our team, we are not on payroll, and you do not have to pay subscription fees to access the above mentioned technologies and tools. If you are interested in how we can reduce costs and time to hire for your company please visit our company contact page at Axe Staffing & Recruiting.