Recruiting & Staffing

Hiring During a Pandemic

By: Jean Buehler
Jul 29, 2020 • 10 min read

Hiring During a Pandemic

Right now, we are living through a global disaster, as well as a drastic unemployment spike. To keep businesses and the economy afloat, the global workforce needs to get back on its feet, and hires need to be made. Many traditional etiquette rules for hiring, however, are out of the question. How can the search for employees feel as cordial, welcome, and reassuring without handshakes and face-to-face interviews? 


Posting a Job

A pandemic calls for altered hiring and work practices, so it also calls for a unique job posting. Candidates are thinking first about their safety, so along with details about your business’s philosophy and workplace culture, it might be beneficial to highlight the responsibilities of any given position that contribute to workplace safety. For example, it might be a good idea to include sanitization and enforcement of local mask regulations to the job description of the front desk worker of a building or office. This way, candidates will know that their safety will be taken into account when they begin work. 

Scheduling a Remote Interview

The interview might be the most nerve-wracking part of the new hiring process for both employers and candidates. Everyone wants to have an experience as similar to an in-person interview as possible, but there may be factors that complicate this. These complications will mean a more difficult decision for employers and more stress for employees. For example, a candidate interviewing from home during a pandemic might not be able to take time away from their child as they would for an in-person interview. 

Be Flexible 

Offer various time slots to accommodate busy and erratic schedules, and remember to be considerate of the fact that not everyone has access to webcams or high-speed internet. If this is the case for a candidate, consider having a phone interview rather than an interview over Zoom or Google Hangouts. 

Conducting a Remote Interview

Once you have your virtual interview scheduled, it is crucial to keep the call as close to a standard interview as possible. This will help maintain a comfortable atmosphere for both the employer and the candidate. A few easy-to-overlook factors to consider: allowing time for breaks and pauses as you usually would during an interview, making sure to set aside time for the candidate to ask questions, and to provide a virtual tour of the workspace. Going with the extra step of this tour will help ground them in the new workspace.

Use JobGet

One streamlined way to accomplish this step is to post jobs through the JobGet app. The app allows you to contact candidates straight from the job posting, and even contains a built-in video conference option that will enable candidates to use their cell phones for remote interviews. This could be a good option due to the convenience of everything being in the same place. Plus, there will be less need for technology apps like Zoom or Google Hangouts. A mobile video interview might lead to a more equitable job search experience. Remember that access to computers might be limited by libraries being closed. 


Consider Hiring Contract Employees or Temps

Right now, most people are experiencing serious interruptions to normal life. Many must veer far from what they had planned for life just to survive. This is true for both individuals and businesses. With this in mind, temporary work could be the key to surviving this pandemic. It allows job seekers to explore work that may not lie within their dream field. This will enable them to work without committing to a career in an area they might not have imagined. For employers, it alleviates the worry that comes with hiring someone for a long-term position without a face-to-face interview. Temporary jobs could be beneficial to all parties. 

Consider Flexible Hours

No matter where you work, everyone is currently stressed about the possibility of contracting COVID-19. The hiring process will likely be less stressful for everyone if there is some flexibility about whether or not employees come into work. If someone has to worry about being punished for taking time off, they might come in while sick and endanger everyone in the workplace. Even if nobody gets sick, the worry of punishment for such a real possibility could affect employees’ efficiency. Therefore, it is a pretty good idea to communicate openly about safety standards and accommodate sick leave during this time.

Compressed Workweek

One popular option for flexible hours is a compressed workweek, or working 40 hours in fewer than 5 days. Having this be the expectation, rather than regular 8-hour shifts, might help potential employees. They will feel less stressed about taking more time off, and they can always make up the work at some point. This may not be right for every workplace. However, if implemented correctly, it could be less stressful for everyone involved. 


Similar Options to Flexible Hours

There are many ways to explore flexible working conditions. One thing to consider is a flexible location. This is done by giving employees tasks that they can do either in-person or remotely. Also, you can try having them alternate between coming in and working from home. A study by HR group Adecco found that this system may be preferred going forward. Offering a combination of remote and in-person work reduces stress about missing work and can improve the quality of employees’ lives, work-life balance, and efficiency. Still, location-flexible work arrangements may be difficult to implement, especially for smaller businesses.

More to Explore

Additionally, when someone adds a home office as a workspace, there are many OSHA grey areas that arise (for example, if they are injured on the job at home, should they receive workers’ comp?). In this case, it is still possible to implement flexible hours by hiring part-time or job-sharing. Though it can be challenging, and it could potentially change the way an entire business is run, it might be beneficial to consider deviating from your company’s norm. After all, we are not dealing with normal times.

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