There’s no question things have changed drastically in the business world in the last few months. The emergence of a global pandemic has required the transition from traditional work environments to fully remote ones in a matter of weeks. Such abrupt changes can pose challenges for both employers and those looking for work.
While some businesses either went on hiatus or closed, others found themselves looking for new employees, although they’ve had to do so in creative, new ways. Once deemed the stuff of science fiction, video conferencing, virtual meetings, screen sharing, and the ever-present cell phone have become the norm. While almost everyone has taken part in a traditional interview (i.e. the in-person meet, the questions, the tour of the offices) the current climate means that’s not possible right now, so recruiting new staff can be trickier.
With all the layoffs, furloughs, and closed businesses, the prospective employee pool has grown exponentially. However, finding the best candidates in that ever-growing group, and doing it remotely, can be difficult. There are steps that can make that process easier.
1. It’s important to remember that while methods change, the rules have not.
There are still best practices that every company must follow. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission offers guidance to businesses to help them strengthen their pool of candidates by encouraging diversity, creating and applying qualification standards, and applying job-appropriate selection criteria. So, even though the means may be totally different, hiring tools for interviews still have to conform to existing laws. The list of things employers cannot ask remains the same, regardless of whether the prospective employee is literally or virtually in front of the interviewer. Those requirements, and more, are codified by the U.S. Justice Department in a list of best practices interviewers should be using.
2. Make life easier for recruiters and hiring managers with interview scheduling software.
The sheer number of resumes from potential candidates arriving in response to a job posting can be overwhelming, and hiring managers should consider using an interview scheduling resource to boost efficiency and streamline the hiring process, which can be harder when everyone is remote.
Allowing candidates to schedule interviews based on employer availability is more efficient and cuts down on the hours spent trying to find mutually agreeable times. This can especially be tricky if there are multiple interviews in the process, and recruiters may have to rope in several managers. Coordinating is a tough job! This kind of software also helps managers adhere to federal guidelines by reducing bias and providing employers with insights and analytics.
3. Consider tapping the “gig” workers who have been part of the workforce for years.
Freelancers often cite flexible schedules and independence as prime reasons for not taking a full-time job, but employers can benefit, too. Finding and hiring specific talents per project could be cost-effective, and freelancers are already tuned in to the work-from-home process. A major study by Los Angeles-based human resources company Korn Ferry found that gig workers now make up a larger percentage of their professional workforce and they plan to hire more in the future.
4. Create a shortlist of candidates.
If the list of applicants is unwieldy, it’s much more manageable if there’s a set of standards and criteria for the hiring manager or team to use as a guide. It will also make it easier to vet candidates who simply don’t have the qualifications for the job. This saves time for not only the recruiters, but the candidates. There’s absolutely no need to waste (anyone’s!) time interviewing someone you know isn’t right for the job.
5. Last but not least, be prepared for the interview.
The Harvard Business Review suggests preparing impactful questions, reducing stress by letting candidates know the topics to be discussed, and keeping the interviewing team down to a few key people. Always, always, always read the candidate’s resumes (this seems like a no-brainer, but some recruiters believe an interview can make up for carefully scanning a resume). However, then you run into potentially asking questions that were answered in the resume, and also seeming unprepared in general. If the candidate has prepared for the interview, so should you!