How to Hire During Times of Crisis
A global crisis changes everything! Don’t we know it! You make your plans and the universe laughs.Things change everyday and it can feel impossible to keep up. And this is as true for your business as it is for everything else. Maybe moreso. Some businesses have had to lay workers off, put them on furlough, or even – sadly – close their doors for good. Others have thrived in the new normal. Delivery businesses, groceries, pharmacies, and other essential goods companies are going gangbusters right now. Many are growing to the point they need to hire additional staff. But in the days of social distancing and stay at home orders, you can’t call candidates in for a face to face interview like you used to. Like everything else, your recruitment process is going to have to change and adapt to the restrictions of these uniquely difficult times. Following are some tips on how to hire during times of crisis.
- Assess your needs
First thing you need to do is take a look at how your employee needs might change due to the crisis. You may be conducting business in different ways than you did before. So you may not need as many employees in some areas, and perhaps more in others. Will you only need them until the crisis passes? Consider hiring on a shorter-term contract basis. This could work for you and for furloughed employees looking for just enough work to get them through the crisis. You can only look so far down the road in these circumstances.
- Determine what skill sets you’re looking for
Obviously, you’re going to need people who are able to work remotely. People who are familiar and comfortable navigating the technology necessary to quickly merge into an online team. You will want to look for people who are quick learners and have experience with teleconferencing software and messaging platforms. And you might need to consider resumes you normally wouldn’t. For instance, resumes that show someone changing jobs every few years. These may be high functioning employees who came in and organized the chaos, then got bored and left when there was nothing more to improve. These people are excellent in a crisis. They thrive in turning confusion into smooth sailing. Essentially, you want people who are going to be quick out of the gate and can easily adjust to an ever-changing landscape.
- Know where to look
Make sure qualified candidates have plenty of ways to discover and learn about your postings. Update the recruitment section on your website and use it and your social media accounts to highlight available positions. Encourage employees to do the same on their social media. Younger generation job seekers are increasingly turning to social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook when looking for jobs. Consider a referral bonus for employees who refer applicants. They know better than anyone if an applicant will fit in with your culture. Use online job boards and resources like Monster and LinkedIn to further spread your message.
- Consider the available talent pools
Some industries have been hit harder than others during this crisis, meaning there are a number of specific types of workers looking for jobs. For instance, the hospitality industry has had to lay off huge numbers of employees. Are these the types of workers whose skill sets would transfer to suit your needs? Could a hotel front desk worker, a restaurant server or a ski instructor quickly pivot and transfer their skills to your needs? Or maybe you need the skills of a retail store salesperson or a movie theatre manager. Well worth thinking about as there are many to choose from.
- Switch to online interviews
As we know and have said, for the safety of everyone, face-to-face interviews just don’t work in today’s climate. Online or virtual interviews are the new normal. Everyone is pretty used to doing things online now, so nobody should have any real trouble adapting to this scenario.You can still provide an informative experience for candidates, as well as suss out the best fit for your open positions—it just takes a little extra planning.
- Choosing the platform
There are a number of free applications available. You may find one of them suits your needs or you can pay to upgrade services. Also, do keep in mind that there may be promising candidates that honestly don’t have a private or secure way to be part of an online interview. In that case, a good old phone interview will have to do. Otherwise, there are these free platforms.
a free Zoom account lets you meet with up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes. One on one calls can last longer without upgrading the account. It has features like screen sharing and whiteboard space and can be recorded. Be aware that interviewees will have to download Zoom.
If you have an account with this popular platform, they now offer the ability to let you conduct online interviews.
- Google Meet
another free option that doesn’t ask participants to create a new account or download an application. It can support up to 30 guests and is an excellent way for teams to meet online once the hiring is done.
Your free account lets you share screens and work on whiteboards together, either from the Skype app or from the web.
- Preparing for the interview
Once you’ve decided on a platform, it’s always good to go through a dry run or two (or ten!) to make sure you’ve got the technology down. Try it out with a friend before going live to make sure screen sharing and other necessary features are working – and you know how to work them! You may be conducting this interview from your kitchen counter, but still look professional. Dress as you would for the office, at least from the waist up. And, whether in the kitchen or anywhere else, make sure the lighting is good, the Wi-F signal is strong and the background is not filled with distracting images.
- The interview
This may be a very new experience for the candidate, so do what you can to keep them comfortable. An important part of this is maintaining direct eye contact. While sitting at your laptop, eye contact is not made by looking at the candidate’s position on the screen, but rather directly into your webcam. If there is the chance of your children running through the room or your dog barking, let everyone know ahead of time so they won’t be uncomfortable being caught off guard. Make sure you schedule meetings effectively. Often, rather than spreading meetings across a whole week, it’s better to block off one day to get as much done as possible. Make sure you put some buffer time between meetings in case things run longer than expected. And, as important as it can be to multitask, this is not the time for it. For neither interviewer or interviewee. Put the phones away and stop typing that email. It can wait and your divided attention will be noticed. Do not try to wing it. Put real thought into designing your questions. This is the most critical step in your online interview process. If you haven’t prepared your questions properly, in a way that reveals relevant information about the candidate, the interview won’t be useful for either party. If you would normally have candidates perform specific tasks or tests in a face-to-face interview, see if they can be modified to be performed online. As with any other interview, the key to the online interview is preparation.
- After the interview
Once the ideal candidate or candidates have been chosen, it is important to continue with the onboarding process online, mimicking the normal process as much as possible. Make sure all HR documents can be filled out online. Make sure the new hire has a complete understanding of their performance expectations. If there is to be training involved, make sure everyone is on the same page regarding what it’s about and when/how it takes place. If the idea was to have the new hire shadow you, or someone else for a few days, see if you can do that virtually by having them join in relevant meetings, messaging, etc. Introduce them to the rest of the team. Even with the excitement of a new job, doing everything online may have them feeling a bit isolated. Get creative. Organize a virtual Happy Hour where they can get to know their colleagues and start to feel like part of the team. Then, carry on with your business as usual in these most unusual circumstances.
By digging a little deeper into each of these options you can discover which app will work best for your particular needs.
- Choosing the platform
Some companies are going to come out of this crisis stronger than they were going in. Besides a solid business plan, they are going to need the right people to help them do it. This will likely mean adjusting hiring practices to fit with the new normal.