How COVID-19 Affected the Hiring Process
Posted by Cathleen Urdi on Thu, Mar 04, 2021 @ 11:00 AM

When 2020 first began, it brought out high hopes for many individuals. We were entering a new decade, which people assumed meant good things were in store. In a matter of three months, things changed and changed dramatically. At the beginning of the pandemic, businesses and organizations had to adapt their processes, structures and strategies rather quickly. For many, it was about whether they could survive through what was going on. If they did, would they ever be able to go back to normal? 

Then consider the thoughts on the minds of all employees. Most were appreciative of still working, but for how long, and were the new processes equating to the company's core values and their own? The main concern heard was that employees felt their employers didn't thoroughly prioritize their health and safety. Because not only is it about the employee, it was about their families as well. Many people had to shift to become teachers to their children or caretakers to parents and still had to go into the office.

To abide by social distancing and remain in business, many companies were alternating schedules. Employees would rotate in-person days and work from home the days they weren't in the office, so not everyone would be together at once. Another solution was to create split shifts where designated employees were on the morning shift and others on the afternoon shift. The problem with those two solutions is that the moment things were looking up, employees were forced back into the office and to make a decision; go back to the office or find employment elsewhere that worked remotely.

All of these changes in a short amount of time caused emotions to run high, and in return, employees felt it was time to look for a new opportunity. They had to ask themselves if any companies were even hiring right now. Or, it can't get any worse, right? While the pandemic has changed several organizations and companies for the better, it has also helped individuals realize their value to themselves and their future employers.

Many people set out on a journey to find a new job that valued their work ethic and health and safety, as everyone was unsure of how long the pandemic would last. To begin the hiring process, they would go through a first-round interview, typically done over the phone. Any additional interviews were usually in person. But with the new challenge of social distancing, face-to-face technology like FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or other similar applications had to be incorporated into all interview stages.

Trying to schedule a time for interviews is also a significant hurdle people must overcome. If their current company had employees rotating days or working split shifts, hiring managers had to work around their schedules to plan a meeting. Additional distractions came into play as well - like people talking in the background, children attending virtual schools or other family members working remotely. Also, uncontrollable noises such as the trash truck or dogs barking had to be adequately managed by both the candidate and interviewer.

Providing the interviews went well, and the candidate is offered a job opportunity, a new challenge itself - onboarding. Pre-COVID onboarding was exciting and interactive. Most likely, the candidate was given paperwork to fill out, followed by a guided tour and perhaps lunch with their new manager with other scheduled interactions over one to two weeks. With the shift to almost all employees working remotely, human resource teams had to adapt quickly. Typical new hire functions needed to be digital. A guided tour became a Zoom meeting to introduce the team and swag that may have welcomed a new employee to their desk, are sent to the home ahead of time, all to help a new hire assimilate and feel positive about their role in a new company during uncertain times.

While the pandemic has required organizations to adjust many of their business and talent processes, it has changed them for the better. Virtual interviews allow the candidates to be more comfortable in the hiring process and companies have put health and safety of their employees as a top priority. While the rest of 2021 looks promising, companies' adjustments made during the pandemic have become standard practice in the future. 

Topics: candidate experience

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