You listen to the news. You hear the unemployment numbers. You have family, friends, neighbors that have been laid off or furloughed. While it feels like everything out there has been shut down and all hiring has been put on hold, the reality is that there are companies still hiring. But, the process of interviewing, hiring, and onboarding has had to adapt to the new circumstances.
Recently a client called me because their AP Accountant had quit and they were falling further and further behind. He needed to get a temporary employee in quickly. But the way both of us had usually facilitated the process of interviewing and starting a temporary employee had to be re-worked. I’ve now had other clients do their direct hires — including C-Suite and VP level candidates – all through virtual interviews. Together, clients, recruiters, and candidates have had to change the way things are done.
The Interview Process
Interviews can successfully be conducted over video calls. If kids can adapt to online classroom learning, surely professionals can adapt to doing interviews through Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype.
And if you’re worried about culture fit, have separate people in the company conduct separate video interviews. What may not be apparent to one person, another interviewer may spot right away. Consider making the questions and process the same for each interviewer and each candidate. This may help alleviate other variables.
You may need to adjust how you do your reference checks or offer letters.
A candidate’s reference may not be working in their office, so office hours and availability might be different. Consider moving to a reference checking software platform – there are many out there. These systems allow reference checks to be done completely online. There are a lot of benefits to these systems including putting the onus on the candidate to make sure the reference completes the process in a timely manner; as well as reminders to the reference to fill out the information. It also ensures that the same questions are being answered by each person, alleviating any bias or legal issues.
Offer letters are a whole different story. I recently had a candidate who did not have a scanner to send over a signed offer letter. If the person will be starting remotely, you may want to reconsider your systems, like leveraging DocuSign, to allow everything to be done online.
Onboarding during a pandemic is tricky. Standards for obtaining I9 documentation have had to relax with people unable to go to an office or meet in person. But make sure you are aware of the most up-to-date requirements for obtaining legal documents.
Also, it’s crucial you have a system that will protect someone’s personal details. As bank information, social security numbers, etc. are having to go through email, you will want to have systems in place that protect the candidates and your company from any breaches of confidential information.
Back to my client who needed a temporary AP Accountant; be aware of what you can and cannot ask someone to do. My client’s company was considered an “essential” business. They wanted to have the temporary employee start and work onsite. However, my candidate had elderly parents living in her household and did not feel comfortable working in the office while other businesses were still being asked to remain closed. Through negotiation, we were able to arrange for a day of training and picking up a computer – with social distancing, masks and gloves in place – and the remaining days could be worked remotely. Be willing to do what works best for everyone. Be willing to think outside of the box.
About the Author
Paul manages global talent acquisition operations in the US, Philippines and India, supporting clients in 100+ countries. With over 20 years of experience, Paul has a proven track record in executing talent acquisition strategies and building world class teams.