Hiring During a Crisis

April 9, 2020

Maggie Melnick, Managing Partner


Really? Like hiring needed to get more difficult?! Now in the new normal, we must make crucial hiring decisions without an in-person interview. But here's the thing, there are workable solutions to this dilemma. And if done correctly, the adjustments we're forced to make now can have lasting positive impacts to how you vet candidates when we get back to normal - whenever and whatever that may be.

1. Crystal Clear Requirements - Due to the “new normal” of interviewing (i.e., no in-person interviews), you will want to minimize confusion about your needs. So, take this time to be crystal clear on your skills and cultural requirements for the open position. Often times, job descriptions are vague, written by an HR colleague who doesn’t know the finer details of the role, written by someone who hasn't been in the job for a while, or include every skill under the sun (similar to a 10 year old's holiday wish list).

Best Practice: Review the Job Description with your relevant team members to be certain everyone agrees on the skills your team needs.

2. Have a Live Conversation - Communicate your Job Description directly to the Recruiters you're working with and make sure they are verifying that all Candidates can successfully work from home. To ensure this capability, verify that they either 1) have remote work experience or if not, 2) assess the qualities needed for a successful remote assignment.

Best Practice #1- Involve a member of your team to help communicate the specifications of your position – and ensure the direct hiring manager is part of this communication.

Best Practice #2- when working with a third-party recruiter, you and your team should be speaking directly to the people who will be recruiting for your open role. Any separation increases the probability of miscommunication and ultimately a delay in finding the right person. Since budgets may only be open for a short time, time is of the essence.

Best Practice #3- ask the recruiting team to submit only their top two or three candidates. Having more candidates usually leads to wasting your time reviewing people that are not right for your role.

3. Manage Expectations - Set expectations with your recruiters about budget, screening, start date and communication. Smart questions to ask your recruiters:

a. Is this salary in the right range for the role and requirements? Why, why not?

b. What screening will they complete prior to presenting candidates to you?

c. Is your proposed start date viable?

d. How will you communicate progress on recruiting efforts?

4. Recruiter Insights - When you've received candidates from your recruiting team, ask them to explain their work. Why do they recommend the candidates they shared with you? What are their concerns?

Best Practice - ask to see the references. Does the feedback speak to the skills required for your position? How did the recruiter verify the candidate can work successfully from home? How does the candidate-know their reference? Perhaps there is a chance you know their previous supervisor and can reach out directly.

5. Choose Your Interview Team - Select those members of your team who will be involved in the vetting process. Be sure everyone on the interviewing team knows their role, as well as the requirements for the open position.

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6. Review Resumes and References - Before actually interviewing a candidate, be sure your team has reviewed the resume and references and have identified the areas needing better clarification.

7. Use Video - You should use video conferencing when conducting all interviews. If you have multiple team members as part of the interview process, make sure everyone has ability to conduct video interviews.


Best Practice - consider using Spark Hire or a similar tool. This tool allows you to send pre-set questions to the candidate who will then provide a video response. This can be done prior to your live interview.

8. Smart Questions to Ask - In addition to the questions you utilize to understand how the Candidate matches up to your requirements, you will also want to validate for yourself the candidate's ability to be successful in a remote environment. Questions to consider asking:

a. Describe your last remote experience? Why was it successful- why?

b. What challenges did you face being remote and how did you overcome them?

c. What communication model did you use?

Best Practice- if they've never worked remote determine if they possess the qualities likely to lead to success in a remote assignment (leadership, organization, prioritization, execution

9. Hold a “caucus.” - Bring your team together to share their thoughts on the candidates and their "go" or "no go" decision.

Best Practice - don't delay on holding this session. You will want to make an offer quickly or if the candidates have missed the mark, you will want to give feedback to the recruiting team quickly so they can redirect their search.

At BLEND360, our talent solutions are designed to meet the evolving needs of workplace dynamics and we have a team of expert recruiters incorporating these best practices consistently for our clients’ needs. We know your business has been impacted in some way over the last couple of weeks, and we’d love to work with you on a flexible solution to ensure you have the right talent - when, where and how you need them.



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