Recruiting in a Pandemic

Companies are rapidly adapting new practices by the hour to make the best of the current business conditions impacted by the widespread COVID-19 pandemic. During these unprecedented times, it is essential for companies to take all necessary measures to protect the health and safety of their employees and visitors. Many key jobs in Manufacturing Plants, Laboratories, Healthcare, Hospitals and in the Supply Chains require employees to work on site and are even more essential to meet rising demands. 

Preventative measures change daily. With new self quarantine, social distancing and travel advisory guidelines, conducting face-to-face interviews is not the best practice. So What is the plan for continuing a recruiting process when a candidate gets to the in-person interview stage? How do companies continue recruiting for key essential and urgent positions,while maintaining the ability to attract top talent?

We’ve been on the phone with clients locally in Southern California, out of state, and in South Korea.This has been a learn-as-we go week for everyone. Here are a few things we’ve noticed:

  • Companies still need to recruit for key positions in Manufacturing Plants, Laboratories and Hospitals, where employees need to work on site. They also plan to continue recruiting for positions in IT, Sales/Marketing and in Supply Chain Operations, where employees can work remotely.
  • Companies are rapidly adopting video interviews processes in lieu of in-person interviews.
  • Candidates interviewing for positions are open to accepting an offer based on a full virtual interview process without conducting an in-person interview.

Here are a few things companies continuing to hire new employees over the next few months need to consider:

  • Defining, outlining and communicating a business continuity plan, which clearly presents measures taking place to ensure employee safety.
  • Communicating a revised interview process to candidates along with the assurance of best measures to ensure an efficient and safe interview process via phone and video calls.
  • Establishing a streamlined process which incorporates video interviews in lieu of in-person interviews. How can you replicate a plant tour or office tour with a video walk through of on-site locations? Providing a virtual facility tour, plant tour, lab tour or cafeteria tour will absolutely help candidates feel more comfortable about their new work environment AND make for a more fun Facetime call. 
  • Utilizing online presentations or interview seminars during video interviews in a group meeting through Zoom, Slack or other advanced online virtual meeting apps
  • Creating a virtual interview agenda which lists the panel of key stakeholders and decision makers who are conducting the series of virtual “in-person” interviews. The virtual interview itinerary can include links to Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom or Facetime calls.
  • Identifying the process for making an offer after all virtual interviews are complete. Is your company comfortable hiring a candidate that has not physically met with any employee in-person?
  • Incorporating reference checks to help gauge a candidate’s personality, management style and integrity. This will help assure any decision maker who may not be comfortable hiring a candidate without a prior face-to face meeting.
  • Developing a virtual onboarding plan. Hopefully social distancing and self quarantining conditions will improve over the next few months. If it’s still not safe for employees to work on site in 1-2 months, is your company prepared to on-board a new employee to start work remotely? What new-hire orientation procedures are you able to run in a safe office environment or virtually?

And lastly, here is what candidates who are interviewing over the next few months need to consider:

  • Ask myself the question, am I open to accepting a position without having a face-to-face or in-person interview?
  • What else do I need to see or learn about that I would normally see during an in-person interview? How can I see the inside of the manufacturing plant, labs or office space? If my family needs to relocate, how can I learn more about the schools or local real estate?
  • If I need to relocate for my new job, will I be able to skip a househunting trip?
  • How can I start a new job independently from home or remote?

The development of new diagnostic tests, pharmaceutical treatments and vaccines as well as the continuation of healthcare, manufacturing, and supply chain operations is promising and even more critical. Hopefully it will be back to business as usual soon but until then, businesses will need to adapt new business practices including virtual recruiting operations. Business conditions are changing by the day, hour and minute. Please chime in and share any new business practices you’re seeing which are helping companies and job seekers streamline a safe interviewing process while social distancing. Stay positive, safe and healthy!