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Recruiting and Hiring Essential Workers During a Pandemic

Be prepared—it’s definitely not business as usual

When you run an essential business, it’s not easy to find the time to sift through resumes and hire and train quality employees. But with fresh graduates hitting the job market and literally tens of millions of hard workers currently unemployed, the labor market has definitely shifted in your favor.

G&A Partners’ Doug Henry, Senior Recruiting Specialist, and Eleesha Martin, Recruiting Process Outsourcing Manager, have several tips to make the hiring and training process go smoothly during these unprecedented times. 

Establish a structured and efficient hiring process

Prepare transparent job descriptions 

Job descriptions should be created to help set clear expectations and requirements for the role in order to lessen the amount of unqualified applicants. If you are a G&A Partners client, your client advocate can help you draft your job descriptions to fit the role better. 

Start posting your jobs

Promoting job openings and opportunities via LinkedIn, Indeed, and other online job boards should be at the top of your to-do list. It’ll help get your name and brand out there to recent graduates and those who may have been recently laid off—those who need to know you are hiring NOW, when they need jobs the most. 

Establish critical screening criteria 

Narrow down the candidate pool by adding pre-screening questions to the application that will help qualify (or disqualify) a candidate from the outset. Reducing the number of unqualified resumes the hiring manager or recruiting officer will have to review should be a No. 1 goal. Pre-screening questions may include: 

  1. Do you have at least two years of related experience?
  2. What’s the highest level of education you’ve completed?
  3. Do you have a related certification? (Example: PHR, CPA, CPP)
  4. Are you proficient in MS Office Suite?
  5. The position is located in the downtown area, is that a reasonable commuting distance for you?
  6. This position requires 50% travel throughout the U.S. Can you commit to this amount of travel?

Be ready to adapt your interview and selection process

We know social distancing and “work safety” restrictions have impacted your interview process and has led you to find other ways and means for scouting and meeting candidates. However, it’s not all bad.

“Use a consistent interview process,” Henry says. “Hold onsite interviews if necessary, but try to adhere to social-distancing guidelines. Take advantage of conducting phone or virtual interviews using sites like Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, etc.”

You never know, Henry says, you might find a new interviewing process that could work better for you, the hiring manager, and the organization as a whole. 

“Make hiring decisions based on a candidate’s qualifications and not emotion, desperation or need,” Martin recommends. “It’s time to be picky and choose the candidate best fit for the job and organization. Don’t make a poor decision simply because you need the help. Remember: skilled talent is no longer scarce. Instead, there’s an abundance of qualified candidates looking for jobs right now.”

Establish a remote onboarding/new-hire process

Limit hard-copy paperwork

 When emergency hiring, the last thing we want to do is become overwhelmed and begin drowning in paperwork. You and the rest of the team have been deemed essential, therefore, you all have more important things to worry about. Consequently, Martin and Henry recommend having new employees submit their new-hire paperwork electronically when possible.

Create a virtual new-hire checklist and agenda to include what new employees should expect for the first few weeks on the job. The checklist should also include online resources employees can access, such as the intranet and relevant emails and phone numbers, including that of their human resources department.  

Try virtual orientation and training 

Meetings, introductions, new-hire orientation, and training can be provided virtually. However, if in-person orientations are highly preferred or required for your industry, we recommend you follow all social distancing guidelines provided by the CDC.

Provide personal protection equipment (PPE) to all attendees to ensure the safety of your new and current employees. If no PPE is available, allow employees and attendees to wear their own.  

When hosting an orientation in person, be sure to disinfect all tables and tools new hires will be required to use before and after the orientation. Be sure to provide hand sanitizer and tissue in the classroom.

Check-in regularly with new hires 

Schedule daily or weekly calls with your new hires until they are officially acclimated to the role. The first few weeks after starting a new job can be hard for new hires, especially during a pandemic.

Set time aside for daily or weekly check-ins and answer any questions your new recruits have, letting them know you’re there to provide support. Whether working from home or working the front lines during this pandemic, employees need trust, compassion, stability, and hope. 

Finding the secret to ongoing success

During these unprecedented times employers need to be flexible enough to adjust and adapt to the ever-changing situation. Essential employees will be called on to continuously put their own health at risk. Try to limit their exposure to potential contagions during the recruiting and onboarding processes using Martin and Henry’s tips for successful hiring. It might take some getting used to, but the better you are able to adapt the more versatile you will be in the future.  

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