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The Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t been kind to anyone, and that goes for companies, employers and employees alike. Apart from the strict regulations of social distancing, self-quarantine and sanitation that have become everyday words, organisations have faced major loss in business and some have even shut down due to being closed for months together. Many employees have been relieved of their duties, while the luckier ones work from home and receive cut salaries to maintain costs.

Despite the uncertainty, despair and terror around us, companies, employees and job seekers still struggle to carry out their daily responsibilities. Now that hiring managers must focus on hiring during a pandemic, changes have to be changed in our recruitment process. May it be your regular or additional staff, you must accommodate stringent health and cleanliness standards and integrated policies and measures around Covid-19 in place. That said, shortlisting candidates, conducting interviews and onboarding employees remain integral components of the talent acquisition department. let us take a look at what has or needs to change in the recruitment space.

Post relevant, transparent and updated job descriptions

When you’re hiring during a pandemic, you will realise that the number of job seekers has increased by double or more than the regular rate for an open position. Therefore, include clear qualifications and experience in the job descriptions, which will minimise the interest of less-qualified applicants. Modern-day recruitment software is what you need to handle more applicants and maintain your employer brand, as candidates do take note of how you treat them.

Mention in the job description about the need for work travel, such as meeting clients and visiting headquarters. For all you know, some might be unable to travel frequently due to lack of childcare or immunity issues. All of these steps imbibe trust and concern for potential employees, which will promise productivity and retention. Communicate with the hiring managers and recruitment teams about how the process is going and if the candidate has received all the information that they need.

Choose candidates who have worked from home

Working from home isn’t easy. So when you’re hiring during a pandemic, it calls for being proactive, self-motivated and disciplined. See if they have worked as freelance or contract workers and look for their success in the position. Recruitment firms help in sourcing interested candidates as well and send relevant emails to you, which helps in focusing on other important tasks.

Due to the lockdown and reduced participation in public arenas, jobseekers prioritise job security over their income. Hence, we recommend that you include job posts with the terms “telecommunication”, “work from home” and “remote” due to expected difficulties in travelling. If you’re hiring candidates for in-office roles, assure them that the company shall follow all the hygiene and social standards as set by the public health authority.

Hold online/video interviews

Video conference interviews are the next big thing when it comes to the recruitment process, as a personal interview is practically impossible. Fix an interview over a telephonic conversation for the qualified applicants, and finish the procedure with a series of virtual interviews. In the rare case that you’re looking at a personal interview, maintain social distancing and limit touching surfaces. More importantly, reschedule the meeting if you or the candidate feels unwell.

While going ahead with a video interview, choose from live interviews with Zoom and Skype or pre-recorded video interviews. Arrange an interview early in the morning, and check their appearance, location of the interview, preparation and personality – signs of their working environment at home. Make them comfortable, help them open up and convince them the video interviews are the way forward.

Of course, candidates would prefer phone calls over video calls, but that’s when you’ll understand their commitment to work in these trying times. As mentioned above, ask them about their remote working experience and the methods used to retain their efficiency. Inform them how working can change after the pandemic is under control, to maintain realistic expectations on your candidates’ part.

Make new employees feel welcome

Now that you’ve found the perfect candidate for the job, ensure that the offer is just as exciting for them. Most of us are stuck bored at home, and you must upgrade your employment terms, salary and benefits accordingly. Thoughtful little gifts include complimentary grocery delivery and paid subscriptions, which tell them that the company cares about them. Welcome the new hires into your team by sending them digital onboarding collateral, which includes company culture information, team videos, questionnaire and work technology.

Set clear and achievable tasks in a weekly schedule

Managing a work-from-home team works differently than its traditional counterpart, and you need to work hard to maintain productivity and high spirits. Set a routine, targets and tasks to guide your workflow for the week ahead. A schedule enables you to address concerns and monitor progress before the deadline, both professional and personal. Equip your team with all the resources, tools and technologies that they need to complete a task.

Maintain sociability by meeting for virtual lunches and delivery, which allows employees to relax, socialise and stay productive. Most people live in complete isolation these days with only virtual contact possible over the phone or the internet, and a little chitchat can help bring back the talkative side of us all. Apart from your team workers, include your workers to participate in the discussion to make them feel a part of the organisation.

We need to remember that the pandemic is not going to last forever, and we shall back in business, the regular way, someday. As you welcome in the new hires, engage your marketing and human resources teams in posting on social media, referrals and paid ads to attract more passive candidates. People tend to consume more and more online content now that they are at home, and you could work with them to build up a great talent community. By the time you’re ready for a personal interview, start selecting and contacting from your ready list. You’ll save time, money and energy and find candidates that match your company requirements.

As a company leader, flexibility and adaptability are the best things that you can teach the team. How you handle the stress of hiring during the pandemic will affect the way the organisation will run in the future. Prepare your existing employees, welcome your new hires and tackle the roadblocks to mitigate the crisis and maintain health and productivity.

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Shalini L

One of the prime contributors for this blog, Expertise in Staffing and Recruitment, Content Strategist by Profession. A Music Lover & Traveller by Choice.

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