Hiring for Today's Changing Work Environment

No one knows what's in store for the economy and workforce in the coming months. Here is what managers need to be thinking about if they plan on hiring during the spring or summer of 2020.

They say change is inevitable, but sometimes it happens faster than we anticipate. 

Today’s business world already seems to move at breakneck speed, but recent world events have required even more change in the workplace with little notice. 

With vast numbers of American workers transitioning to telecommuting, it makes sense that your recruiting process also should go virtual. If you have open positions, there’s little reason to delay hiring. Many people are looking for jobs right now, especially ones they can do at home. 

At a time when many businesses are struggling, your company can benefit from using a virtual recruiting process to acquire the new talent you need to maintain operations. 

Onboarding new hires during this uncertain time may sound complicated, but modern technology and a little guidance make it possible. If your business is lucky enough to be in a position where you’re still hiring, this guide will walk you through some of the things you need to know about new employee recruitment for today’s changing work environment. 

Hiring During Times of Uncertainty

Moving to a Virtual Recruiting Process

What does a virtual recruiting process look like compared to traditional recruiting? The main difference is that the process is done through virtual means rather than in person. 

You have probably posted job openings online and received digital applications for years, but virtual recruitment takes things a step further and uses technology for interviewing and onboarding new hires as well. With virtual recruiting, you can hire someone without them ever stepping into your office! 

Luckily, moving to a virtual recruiting process isn’t difficult. If you already are working from home, you probably already have all the tools you need for virtual recruiting. Job seekers right now understand that many teams are working from home and will not be surprised if you request a video interview. Just be sure to send them the right consent forms and disclosures before an interview. Interviewees have the right to know if their interview is being recorded. 

Besides having the right technology, there are some best practices for managing virtual interviews and onboarding to keep in mind. We’ll explore those in the next sections. 

Related: How to Address Hesitancy to Change Jobs in a Time of Uncertainty


Important Considerations for Video Interviews

Virtual Interview Best PracticesIt’s true that video interviews are not the same as meeting in person. These interviews can feel a little awkward or less personal if you are not used to doing them. And even though times are unprecedented, candidate experience is still as important as ever

But the right preparation beforehand can help put everyone at ease and help you feel more natural doing it. And you’ll be glad to know that most normal interview rules still apply! 

Here are some tips you and hiring managers can use to help video interviews go smoothly for everyone involved:

  • Test your technology beforehand. Do a quick test run with a colleague to ensure you know how to operate both video and audio features and get a feel for what your surroundings look like on video. 
  • Speaking of your surroundings... the right environment will help you keep things professional. If you are working from home, try to find a space with a blank wall or at least no clutter in the background. Pay attention to lighting too. Don’t sit in front of a window or bright lamp. Any light should be in front of you on the other side of your screen so that your face is visible and not in the shadows.
  • Minimize distractions by keeping pets and family members away. They should be quiet and not walking through the room you’re in. 
  • Both parties should have their video on during the interview. Body language and facial expressions are vital elements of communication and can tell you a lot about each other. And be sure to smile! 
  • Mute yourself while the interviewee is speaking so they can’t hear accidental noise on your side. This is also a great time to take a sip of your beverage or clear your throat without doing so loudly into your microphone and their ear! Of course, be sure to unmute yourself when it’s your turn to talk.
  • Try your best to look at the camera on your computer rather than your screen the whole time. Otherwise, it looks like you’re looking down, which is awkward and distracting. 
  • Keep the interviewee’s phone number on hand in case you lose connection during your video call and need to call them to finish or make other arrangements. 
  • End the video call by explaining the next steps. Of course, you should always do this, but those steps might not be as clear cut during virtual recruiting, so you want to make sure both you and the candidate are on the same page.

Beyond the etiquette of video conferencing, the standard rules for interviewing apply. Don’t let working from home cause you to be too casual. Follow the same rules for questions and behavior that you would use if you were meeting together in an office. 

One additional rule to follow these days is to avoid asking job candidates about COVID-19 so that they don’t feel obligated to divulge personal health information. Here are some more thoughts on engaging candidates during these uncertain times.

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Virtually Onboarding New Hires 

If you think that interviewing people through a computer screen is challenging, don’t forget about virtual onboarding after a candidate is hired. This can feel daunting for both the hiring company and the new employee. 

As a recruiter, your role in onboarding may have changed if you are now working from home. Many recruiters are finding that they are responsible for more onboarding tasks than before because hiring managers are struggling enough with managing existing staff needs. This means you may find yourself preparing new employees for their first days on the job more than usual. 

If this is the case, here are a few best practices to help them “settle in,” so to speak, from afar:

  • Send them everything they need for their work that would be supplied in a physical office, such as computer hardware (with manuals and IT’s contact information), notepads, pens, etc. 
  • Send them the company’s standard welcome package and new employee swag.
  • Send all HR paperwork, and let them know who to contact with questions if not yourself.
  • Send a copy of the employee handbook.
  • Get their communication accounts set up, like email and group messaging. 

One of the most significant things recruiters and companies can do for new remote employees is to help them get to know their colleagues and the company culture. This can be done by encouraging face-to-face introductions through video conferencing, scheduling daily check-ins during their first week or two to address their needs and concerns, including them in social meetings and chat groups, and assigning a non-supervisor mentor as an additional resource. 

Virtually Onboarding New Hires

Companies that want to be prepared for onboarding new employees while working remotely should consider gathering some resources to send them and set them up for success from the start. Setting expectations helps new hires feel less disoriented and allows them to jump into work with more confidence. Some of these resources might be:

  • A meet-the-team template for managers to fill out.
  • A list of what to bring on your first day. 
  • A description of what to expect on your first day.
  • Metrics for success in their new job. 
  • Contact information for support teams like HR, IT and other employee services or help desks related to their job.

Working from home can create some hiccups in any process. But when talent acquisition teams and hiring managers work together to onboard new hires, the virtual onboarding experience can go relatively smoothly for everyone. The key is communication and remembering that as confused as you are, that new employee knows even less about working for your company from home and needs everyone’s guidance.

Need more guidance on pre-boarding from a distance? Here is the extended version of our recommendations.

Changing to Remote Work and Virtual Hiring

Motivating a Remote Talent Acquisition Team During a Time of High Anxiety

New hires aren’t the only employees feeling disconcerted about working from home. Your talent acquisition team may be feeling out of place too. Recruiters are great at working with others and making personal connections to attract new talent. Working in the isolation of a makeshift home office may be disruptive to your team and their performance. 

If you’re managing a team of recruiting go-getters who are now stuck at home with only their devices, there still are things you can do to help motivate them and help them continue performing at their best. 

First prioritize professional connections and create some structure by scheduling a “team huddle” at the beginning and end of the workday. This gives everyone a chance to check in with questions, needs and concerns as individuals and a team. You also can use these meetings as a time to praise work done by individuals and the team. Team meetings like these can be brief, but they are a great way to keep everyone informed and connected when they otherwise won’t be seeing one another. 

Another practice to establish is setting daily team goals. We suggest making a list of “six things the team is going to accomplish today” to share with your team each morning. This lets you make assignments, keep everyone informed as to who is doing what and set an expectation for what your employees should be able to achieve from home. Having those goals gives your team direction and motivation for their tasks each day. 

Finally, make time for virtual social interactions if your team is typically social and friendly in the office. Most offices have social events from time to time, and these don’t have to stop completely just because everyone is working from home. Schedule virtual “coffee breaks” where your team can talk about non-work topics. Begin meetings with a short game or activity. Start a strictly social channel on your chat tool for those random little conversations that employees usually have over cubicle walls. 

Each of these recommendations for keeping a team motivate also amplify your company culture. Need more ideas for nurturing that culture even at a time when your team can't convene in the same space? Here are some suggestions.

Whatever you do to keep your talent acquisition team motivated, keep in mind that there are a lot of anxious and confusing feelings in the world right now. Keeping things “business as usual” is a great way to create some normalcy in an otherwise unfamiliar situation, but some flexibility is also key in helping newly remote employees succeed. 

Related: Addressing Performance and Promotions from a Distance

Need Some Help with Hiring for Today’s Changing Work Environment?

With so much change for your talent acquisition team, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and struggle to help them and new employees feel confident in their work. What used to work for hiring may not be feasible for your company today. 

If it’s time to try new recruiting solutions and take some of the pressure off your team, SelectOne is available to help. Our smart hiring practices help companies connect with the best talent, no matter their current hiring challenges. We can help your company grow even in uncertain times like these. Contact us today to find out more.

Is your company new to remote work? Here's everything you need to know about hiring and managing a remote workforce.

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We used SelectOne to fill key positions on one of Lorraine’s first portfolio companies and we could not be happier with the results or the experience. In addition to providing my firm with highly qualified candidates, all individuals at SelectOne were responsive, professional, sensitive to our needs, and insightful in their analysis of candidates. I highly recommend SelectOne.

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Principal, Lorraine Capital

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