During these uncertain times determined by the emergence of the COVID-9 pandemic, it may seem futile to even think about searching for a job, or recruiting someone for a job, when we know that most individuals are worried about keeping the job they have and companies are shifting priorities by the hour. And while not to cause alarm but also to be careful not to sugarcoat it, there will be instances of joblessness and a downturn to our economy that we may not have witnessed before.
The silver lining, however, is that we are resilient. We. Just. Are. And it’s moments like these where with a little bit of creativity and perseverance, we can help turn the tide, even during the age of social distancing and new guidelines being released every day. Social distancing affects our home life, our work life and of course, our search for work, or from an employer’s perspective, the search for workers. We are discouraged from meeting face-to-face to put it in the simplest terms, and while this is an imperative new norm to follow, we will adjust. This is especially true for the interview process – which of course, still remains the best method to make a hiring decision and the most coveted win for a candidate in attaining a job. Interviews will and should continue to happen, although how they occur will play out differently for the foreseeable future.
If you are currently in the job search and have been fortunate to have been making connections on the path to being hired, don’t give up. Businesses are hyper-focused on maintaining steady operations and calming their workforces. But that doesn’t mean that they may not need help, or that they have counted you out. While the traditional path forward may take some turns, there is still a road ahead.
Here are some things to consider as you are further into a job search connection, or if you are a recruiter who has been working with a candidate, even if you are both feeling like you have been stopped in your tracks in recent weeks.
While face-to-face meetings are scarce at this point, communicating via email and text will continue. Let the hiring contact – recruiter, hiring manager, etc. - know you are still interested and would like to understand their timeline. If they are in a holding pattern, find out the best time to re-engage, set an appointment reminder and follow-up.
On the flip-side, the hiring party should follow the same protocol. Keep communication open. While many organizations may be in crisis planning mode, carve out some time for the candidate experience. At some point, business will return to a new normal; don’t alienate talent you may need. Be honest with the timelines through emails and texts.
If hiring hasn’t come to a halt, an interview will still need to take place. Be ready to do this virtually. Companies may already have the tech capabilities to do this. Candidates may not. It is important that both parties are on the same page to be able to use the same technology in order to conduct a virtual face-to-face interview.
As a candidate be sure to secure the instructions from the hiring manager for the virtual interviewing appointment. And of course, “practice” to the best of your ability by setting up the account on your electronic device, testing out the login credentials, etc. so that there is no scrambling on interview day. There are apps like FaceTime for fellow iPhone users, Skype, and more as well as video conferencing software to have an interview session with more than one stakeholder.
While not necessarily to be confused with Virtual Interviewing or Live Steaming Interviews, with a Video Interview, candidates are supplied with a list of questions from the hiring point-person to answer in a recorded session. This recording is then uploaded to the hiring company. It could even be as simple as video recording your answers on your device, saving a file and emailing it, although many companies have software in place to manage this.
Again, this requires having some kind of video recording solution whether on your handheld device or having a webcam and recording capabilities on your computer. With this method, you are answering interview questions (with having had some time to properly prepare – bonus!) and have the opportunity to present yourself professionally without the stress of being onsite. Or in today’s environment, you will be following official health guidelines amidst the pandemic.
There are benefits to video interviewing for both sides – it speeds the process up, it’s easier for everyone’s schedule, and it can also help with passive candidates who may not be able to take time from their current job to interview for a new one.
Of course, there is a wealth of information out there on tips for video interviewing. It’s just as important to be prepared, if not more so like you would for a traditional face-to-face.
It’s OK. Pick up the phone. Yes, it’s easy to text and email. But using the phone for a call or a conference call helps you get to know a person and wade through misconceptions or misunderstandings when we can’t decipher tone and nuance in written form. It’s a tried and true way of interacting while maintaining social distancing.
These methods for non-traditional interview have been around for a while, and have been adopted by many companies to expedite the hiring process. With the onset of what our guidelines may be in the workplace, however, these ways of recruiting, interviewing and making connections will become the new normal. Until of course, the practice of “hologramming” takes off. Don’t worry, we are sure someone is working on that, too.