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November 24, 2021

4 Tips for Hiring During a Pandemic

Checkr Editorial

Editor’s note: This blog was written for Checkr by Glen Greenstone at CircuiTree.

Between writing job descriptions, running background checks, picking the right interview questions, and designing your training program, hiring new employees comes with plenty of challenges. When the pandemic hit, these challenges only became more difficult, as hiring managers like yourself had to contend with limited in-person interactions and a completely different job market. 

For both businesses and community organizations, it’s essential that you find passionate and effective people to help work toward your goals. And just because you’re hiring during a pandemic doesn’t mean that you can’t find your ideal employee. 

Adapting your hiring process to this new normal will not only help you improve your general hiring experience, but it will also set you up for success down the line. For instance, virtual interviews or remote work will likely stick around, so adjusting to those changes now ensures that your organization stays in the loop.

To help you adapt, CircuiTree put together this guide to effective staffing strategies that can help your hiring process run smoothly. When hiring during the pandemic, you should: 

  1. Use the right technology. 
  2. Get to know your candidate’s character. 
  3. Design onboarding for a virtual environment. 
  4. Schedule regular check-ins. 

A strategic and respectful hiring process is one of the best ways to help new employees feel welcomed at your organization. And, demonstrating that you’ve adequately adapted to new circumstances shows that you’re flexible and willing to compromise, which are both enticing workplace characteristics that can impress prospective new employees. Let’s get started.

1. Use the right technology

Online interviews aren’t just a recent trend—they’ve been around for a while. In fact, online job interviews have increased by 49% since 2011, and the upward trend has only continued because of the pandemic. 

But interviews aren’t the only thing that’s gone virtual. The days of turning in an application by hand, for instance, are long gone. That’s why you must have the right suite of tools to help you throughout your hiring process.

When selecting technology to support your hiring process, be sure you have: 

  • A video interview platform: It’s important to have a strong video interview platform, whether it’s a more generic app, like Zoom, or something intended just for interviews, like SparkHire.
  • An application portal: You should also have a user-friendly platform to accept and process applications. If your application submission platform is difficult to use, it might dissuade some qualified candidates from applying and could discourage your hiring managers from thoroughly reading applications. Ensure that your portal is easily accessible and supports however many applications you intend to accept. 
  • Screening software: You’ll also need to have some sort of screening software to perform fair and effective background checks on your candidates. Be sure that your selected software performs quickly while maintaining fairness. 

To complete the hiring process, you might want specific software to manage employees and keep track of their hours once they start. For example, if you run a summer camp, you might consider investing in great camp staffing software to manage program leaders, camp counselors, groundskeepers, and whoever else is on your team. Preparing all of your technology ahead of time can help the whole process run smoothly from start to finish. 

2. Get to know your candidate’s character

Personality matches are especially important for your organization because you want to find someone who’s passionate about your mission. Additionally, when hiring for your organization, you need someone who will mesh well with your current team. This ensures a smooth collaboration process and greater job satisfaction for your new employee. Here are some traits to look for: 

  • Enthusiasm: First off, you want someone who is enthusiastic about the job and excited to join the team. While enthusiasm may be more difficult to assess in a virtual interview, you can tailor questions to determine the actual interest a candidate may have in the position. You can also pay attention to other parts of the interview, such as if they prepared any questions about the role, to see if they’re excited about the position and want to learn more.
  • Knowledge: As you interview candidates, it’s a good idea to get an understanding of their knowledge of the industry and the position. This is a great way to assess how much research they’ve done and how interested they are in the job. Plus, you can learn about any experiences they might have had that will be relevant to the job. 
  • Professionalism: Lastly, pay attention to the candidate’s level of professionalism. Although the hiring process might be conducted virtually, the candidate should still ensure that their background is tidy. If the position will be remote, the level of professionalism during the hiring process can indicate how seriously the candidate will take the job if hired.

While it’s important that your candidate has plenty of experience in your field, their personality is also crucial to their success. For example, if you hire someone with lots of experience but who doesn’t seem very enthusiastic about the job, they might not perform as well. However, a candidate with less experience but tons of passion will be eager to learn and succeed. Ultimately, with a little training, the less experienced candidate might be the better long-term choice. 

3. Design onboarding for a virtual environment

Congratulations—you’ve found the right candidate! But the hiring process isn’t over yet. You still need to onboard your new employee, and doing so can be a bit more challenging during a pandemic. The following tips will ensure that your virtual onboarding experience goes smoothly: 

  • Create an agenda: It’s highly recommended that you create an agenda for your new hires to reference throughout the onboarding process. This is especially important for a virtual environment because a new hire won’t always have the opportunity to ask a quick question about what’s next or see what others are doing.
  • Assign a mentor: In a virtual environment, it can be difficult to help new hires feel like they belong in your organization’s culture. However, you can ease this problem by assigning each new hire a mentor that they can work with to get accustomed to the organization and get to know their colleagues. It’s even better if the new hire can touch base with their mentor before starting because a friendly face can certainly brighten your new hire’s first day.
  • Allow buffer time: It’s probable that your onboarding won’t always flow as you planned. Consider building in some buffer time in your agenda to accommodate unexpected roadblocks or to give your new hire some extra time to get up to speed if needed. 

Although onboarding during a pandemic is not the same as in-person, with a bit of extra planning and effort, you can ensure that your new hire starts the job off right and sticks around. In fact, according to this Astron Solutions guide on employee recruitment and retention, proper onboarding is key for helping employees feel welcomed, confident in their roles, and dedicated to your organization.

4. Schedule regular check-ins

Once your new hire has fully finished onboarding, it’s likely that little questions will still pop up. They might have new thoughts about the position even if they’ve been working for a few months. That’s why it’s crucial to schedule regular check-ins with your new employee, even long after the onboarding process is over. 

Here are a few reasons why you should have regular check-ins with your new hire: 

  • Build rapport: Ongoing one-on-one conversations with your new hires can help you build rapport and get to know them on a more personal level. This mutual understanding can help employees feel more comfortable sharing problems or roadblocks they might encounter, which will help everyone perform better.
  • Give new employees a chance to ask questions: No one wants to be interrupted every hour with tiny questions. With a regular check-in on the calendar, employees can gather their questions and thoughts for the week or month and have a dedicated conversation to discuss solutions.
  • Understand gaps in onboarding: Regular check-ins can also help you improve your overall onboarding process. For instance, let’s say a new hire has a lot of questions about one particular subject. If this is the case, you’ll know that you need to spend more time talking about this subject during onboarding. 

Regular check-ins also give you as the employer an opportunity to assess the new hire’s progress. RealHR Solutions’ resource on performance reviews suggests that ongoing check-ins can make the performance review process much more effective because you and your new employee will go in with aligned expectations.

Hiring during a pandemic definitely has its challenges, but it’s not something that businesses and community organizations like yours can’t overcome. With the right level of preparation and sustained effort after the employee’s start date, you can help new hires feel welcomed and ready to do their jobs well.

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