Recruitment in the Time of Corona

Adi Orenshtein Assaf
June 13, 2020

I remember my first interview, as I’m sure you do.

I set face to face with the candidate. There was a sense of excitement in the air from both sides, the kind that gives you sweaty palms and goosebumps when you know it’s right.

That candidate was the right one, or at least, I was sure about that back then. 😊

I try to keep that sense of unexplored boundaries and opportunities yet to unfold, even today, because you have to get excited about a candidate, and they need to show excitement about their candidacy as well.

But what happens when you can’t meet face to face with the candidate due to an outbreak of a life-threatening virus?

The recruiting process requires face to face meetings, as a candidate, you need to arrive physically and explore the office, something you can’t do when managers are quarantined.

In addition, employee requests amount, fear spreads, and most opt in to work remotely, or even conduct interviews remotely.

The last thing anyone wants is to expose themselves accidentally.

In Israel, and the government is looking into closing all non-emergency workplaces, and the next step is nationwide quarantine.

The world is entering a new era, that will affect the global economy as now crisis has in the past 90 years.

Companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are asking staff to work from home because of coronavirus, and many will follow.

And there are even companies who benefit from the crisis like Zoom, who’d seen their stock skyrocket. In addition, their employees were one of the first to announce that they’re going to work from home due to coronavirus concerns, because why not?

They’re a video conferencing company, and it’s good PR!

Can you recruit when everyone is staying at home?

Yes, you can!

There are a lot of companies that offer remote tools during the corona outbreak that can help you to launch, even on a budget.

But there’s so much more you can do.

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#1 Preparation, preparation, preparation

If you haven’t started already, plan for this, it’s going to happen sooner than later.

  1. Prepare your recruiters – If you have recruiters at your company, prepare them in advance, tell them what they need to know, and communicate what’s expected from them.
  2. In addition, prepare your managers – most managers might find it challenging to recruit in these times, and as a result, a talent that might have become an employee at one time might drop from the process.
  3. And don’t forget to prepare your recruits – update them via a phone call that they’re going to go through a virtual process due to the recent outbreak.

It might sound trivial, but clear instructions can make the difference between a successful recruitment process, and failure to recruit during corona times.

#2 Help with logistics

The tools of the trade had changed, and you’ll need to replace meeting rooms and office desks with lighter alternatives.

In your new setup, make sure that you follow these timeless principles to make sure that the interviews are conducted in the best possible way:

  1. Logins – provide before the interview logins to apps that allow remote video conferencing, for recruiters, managers, and candidates.
  2. Make sure there’s a camera – If they don’t have a camera, equip them with one, or conduct the interview via mobile phones.
  3. First impressions matter – even in remote interviews and the only window a recruit has into your company is through the lens of a camera.
  4. Time still matters – part of making a great impression is attending meetings on time. Just take into account that it’s a new format, and people might be late due to technical problems.  
  5. Remote does mean distant – when conducting the interview, make sure to keep eye contact and address your candidate directly. Being present shows that you care, and will push the candidate to open up.

#3 Flexibility is key

Candidates always have needs, and they still expect that companies will accommodate them.

During your interview, you’ll have to explore the additional needs that candidates might have due to the situation.

This situation doesn’t feel secure, not financially, and especially not physically.

The government is providing new statements and enforcing new rules every second day, people are going in and out of quarantine, and different people have different opinions on how to behave in this situation.

Candidates will look for companies that project security in their ability to recruit and maintain employees and provide clear guidelines.

It’s okay to talk about uncertainty. Nobody is fooling themselves. But it’s also essential to establish a sense of security, and you need to figure out how.

An excellent way to go about it is transparency.

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#4 Transparency will bring in light

Nothing defuses fears more than a focused conversation about what’s bothering everyone.

When managers and recruiters talk about scenarios and state the company’s plan to deal with these scenarios, it calms the blurry speculation chatter that both employees and candidates are engaged in at these times.

Yes, it’s essential to also talk with employees, and to be fully transparent, because employees, much like recruits, will go for the safest option offered to them when they don’t feel safe.

Talk about:

  • What’s happening and how it’s influencing the company and the employees.
  • The company’s clients and roadmap.
  • Your predictions.

And try to end your conversations with a positive note, even if you don’t know everything, which at the moment, nobody does.

As a recruiter, your job is to help everyone digest the emotions and struggles that emerge with this new reality.

Whether by functioning as a facilitator, remaining flexible as possible, or just by being a ray of light in a dark room, our job is to make it happen.

We need to protect all sides during this process and to create the required engagement, even in the most trying of times.

Until we meet again, be the light you want to see, take care !

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