Welcome Aboard! Facing Recruitment After a Pandemic
Furloughs, layoffs and hiring freezes are the tip of the iceberg of what many companies are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we turn around our ‘Open for Business’ signs, many businesses will need to adapt to a new season of recruitment. I investigated the new changes to the recruitment and onboarding process and how we will face the ‘new normal’ together in the security and life safety industry.
As the Hiring Freeze Thaws
As the economy begins to thaw out, we will be facing a slow increase of demand from our customers. The question is, how will we meet those demands with new procedures in place? Our first step begins with the recruitment process.
I spoke with Jennifer Currence, CEO of Within Leadership Group to get the first take on recruiting after a crisis.
I believe technology is the leading tool in your recruitment process post COVID-19. So I wanted to know, how do we best utilize technology for hiring employees?
“We need to examine how we can increase our touchpoints and what kind of data we can gather from our candidates,” says Currence. “Outside of just the regular resumé and interview process, what else can we do to give us a better sense of these people that we’re considering hiring and bringing onto our team, into our family?”
Adding a variety of touchpoints to the hiring process creates a smooth hiring process for both the recruiter and candidate. Communicating through a job board, email, phone or video are a few examples on how to generate touchpoints with the candidate.
Utilizing technology from start to finish will be key in uncovering the secret to hiring during the transition from home to office.
A Rising Tide of Qualified Talent
The pandemic has not only affected our day-to-day operations, but also the urgency to discover skilled employees. Due to company furloughs and layoffs, a fresh pool of qualified talent is ready to work.
To best position your efforts, break down who you need on your workforce for temporary, seasonal, part-time, full-time, contract and remote work to plan funding for your recruitment. Your company may need to start with a flexible workforce and then shift back into the office when you are ready to take that next step.
Understand that a flexible workforce comes with a new set of recruitment challenges, since the face-to-face interactions recruiters often depend on during the hiring process might be limited or nonexistent. As recruiters, we need other resources in addition to traditional interview materials to gain insight on the quality of a candidate.
A variety of digital tools exist for adding steps to the hiring process which can help ensure a good fit. These tools also allow recruiters to cast a wider net into the fresh pool of qualified talent. However, with a wider net, you’ll also need more quality control.
Launching into Job Boards
The customary job board includes referrals from family and friends or the good ol’ newspaper ad for a qualified technician for your business. However, if you’re looking to cast a wider net to pick from the larger pool of talent, it’s time to look at another possible option to open the application pool to a broader audience by going digital. Digital boards can be really intimidating, but just setting out a couple hours may be in your benefit.
Through digital job boards, the submission and review of documentation are streamlined to create a clear and efficient communication track between both the applicant and the employer.
Digital job board such as LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, Indeed or Glassdoor are a few options to reach large amounts of candidates. ESA provides an exclusive career website for members looking for candidates or job seekers. On this website, you can post or search for a career based on title and location.
Other ESA members chose to post careers on social media. This is a free, quick option that can be shared through the company page to professionals in the industry.
Here a few things to include on your digital application post:
- Position Title
- Company Name and Mission Statement
- Qualifications and Certifications Needed
- Employment Type (Full-time vs part-time, remote vs in-person, etc)
- Job Functions (Be specific in your job post so applicants know what’s expected)
- Benefits and Salary (Optional)
Currence suggests even including some way to identify whether candidates would be a cultural fit.
“One of the things that we can do is to implement a behavioral assessment process,” says Currence. “So understanding the individual’s natural drives, the things that they need and the way they are inclined to behave can help give us a great insight as to how well they’re going to perform for the job that we need them for.”
A Wave of Applications
Now that you have a wave of applications flooding into your inbox, how do you sort through them? With any job application, check if they meet your job qualifications and requirements. A basic pretest of knowledge and skill of the position may aid your search. Some listings require assessments to weed out any unqualified candidates to ensure you are looking at the right applicants. Industry questions can include certification questions, math/writing skills, day to day operations, and the appropriate skillset for the job.
It is a best practice to check for certifications. Is the candidate certified to perform the work required? There are ways to find this out, ideally by including a field in your application for the applicant to list their certifications and a way to confirm them if possible. Some digital job boards give you the option to request license numbers depending on your state.
Using Your Talent Telescope
After deciding your final candidates, it’s time to analyze your interview system. The switch over to tele-interviews may be a quick and healthy option post COVID-19. The coronavirus outbreak has forced many office workers to work remotely, and in efforts to hire in an efficient manner, HR personnel are looking to virtual interviewing. To enhance the candidate experience, recruiters are looking to platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Hangouts and more as the next step in the hiring process. This way, recruiters can engage with candidates face–to–face without affecting the safety of each party.
If the job is forward facing with customers, the best way to get to know your candidate is through video.
“Take it a step further and use video towards your benefit as a part of your screening tool,” Currence says. “So as you are coming down to the mic to your top candidates, one thing that you might end up doing is having them record video of themselves answering a few questions in addition to a video interview.
“Have them all answer the same questions so you’re not causing any adverse impact there, but this way you’re able to see how they’re going to interact with the answer, with people and how comfortable they are on video,” says Currence.
Consider video as another source of outreach. This way, the recruiter will get an idea of how the candidate will present themselves before you and customers.
Another touchpoint to examine while interacting with a candidate is their phone and email etiquette. If their future job includes interacting with clients or businesses, ensure the candidate follows the right etiquette to represent your business.
Carrying a Compass
Before you sit down and begin the interview process with your candidates, look over how you will conduct the interview. One of the biggest mistakes hiring managers make is going to an interview empty-handed. If you are asking your candidates to enter prepared, you should be prepared in return.
“When you conduct an interview, ensure that you are asking at least the same core questions each time. This is called a structured interview,” says Currence. “The best type of questions to ask are either behavioral interview questions or situational interview questions.”
An example of a behavioral interview question would be:
“Tell me about a time you handled an irate customer.” An example of a situational interview question would be: “How would you handle a difficult wiring job?”
Asking these types of questions to each candidate will give you a strong understanding on how the candidate will behave in different situations. Giving real case scenarios are beneficial in structured interviews to let the candidate understand what they would be facing in day-to-day operations.
Staying On Course
How are you keeping up with your candidates? One interview and done may have been the case back in the day, but as many as 5 touchpoints may be necessary in finding your right candidate today.
“Thinking about email is another one of your touchpoints for how you get to know a candidate could be pretty eye opening. For example, if you need someone who is responsive, how long does it take them to respond to your email? Use that data for whether this person could be a good fit for your company. So, again, the more touch points you have, you are going to paint a better picture,” says Currence.
Welcoming New Crewmates
The pandemic has made a shift in our working environment as well as our onboarding process. More businesses are facing the opportunity to onboard their staff remotely through online applications. Setting up a digital onboarding process may be an alternative solution to the traditional in office new hire process. Digitize new hire forms and applications, set up zoom and skype meetings, as well as training activities to welcome your new employee aboard.
The security and life safety industry is nestling into the new normal and welcoming new techniques into our daily routine. Now more than ever, we are coming back from a crisis and rebuilding our businesses one day at a time through recruitment. Your business is backed by talented employees and it’s time be ready to discover the possibilities with a new, united workforce.