5 Ways to COVID-19-Proof Your Hiring Process This Year
While many companies are being forced to react to COVID-19 with hiring freezes or reductions in force, others have the opposite problem of attempting to maintain or grow their workforce in a down economy — and it’s not all sunshine and flowers.
Hiring in a global pandemic puts a lot of pressure on hiring managers to put the right people in the right roles. And they’re looking for people who are not just a good fit for the job, but also for the culture and the mission of the company. If you’re one of the companies hiring in this stressful time, here are five ways to make sure you’re filling your team with the best possible candidates:
1. Interview Every Candidate with the Same Framework
Without an established framework for vetting candidates, your hiring decisions might default to rely on gut instincts. Unfortunately, this can introduce unconscious bias into the interview process and leave you evaluating candidates by different standards. Create and use the same framework of questions and skills tests for every candidate so you’re giving every candidate a fair shot at proving themselves a good fit for the position.
2. Go Easy on Your “First Strike” Policy
Around the world, high-performing professionals are experiencing a lot of grief and stress about the current situation, and they inevitably bring that with them into the job search process. If you usually have high standards for candidate first impressions when it comes to resumes and interviews, it might be worth briefly relaxing that “First Strike, You’re Out” policy. Of course, do your due diligence about aptitude, skills, experience, and fit for your company. But when it comes to small errors or mistakes, bring it up and talk about it with the candidate instead of dismissing them out of hand.
3. Don’t be Tempted to Lowball Candidate Salary
You may find that there are highly qualified candidates on the market who have lower salary expectations because of the down economy. But don’t be tempted to take advantage. The salary and benefits for a position should align with the market rate for that role based on skills and experience, not an individual candidate’s willingness to lower their salary expectations. Otherwise you set yourself up for low morale in the future or, in extreme situations, being on the wrong side of the gender pay gap.
4. Always Verify a Candidate’s References
The speed of your hiring cycle might have you thinking twice about checking all of a potential candidate’s references, but it’s important to take your time to do so. References can give you important insights into not just a candidate’s work experience, but the kind of environment they’ll thrive in and what they can contribute to a company’s culture.
5. Be Flexible About the Start Date
Candidates are facing more uncertainty than ever in the job market, whether they have steady employment, have recently been laid off, or are concerned about a potential layoff. If you want to be the employer of choice, plan to be flexible around the start date for a new hire, as they may need to give more or less notice to their employer than usual.
Now more than ever, it’s critical that your hiring process assess whether or not candidates will meet the competencies you need for the role and can thrive in the kind of environment your company offers. Use these five strategies to make sure your hiring process helps you make the right decision.