Hiring a new member of staff is always a bit of a tricky experience since you’ve got to filter through applications to find the right candidates, before conducting interviews and trials to make sure that you’ve got the right fit for your company. And even then, somebody could be a lot different from what you expected them to be when they finally start working for you. During the coronavirus pandemic, hiring a new employee might be even more difficult. If you are lucky enough to own or manage a business that has done well throughout the Covid-19 crisis, you might have found yourself in a position where you need to take on more staff members in order to help you and your team manage the increasing workload. But how do you successfully hire an employee remotely?

  • Consider Keeping the Position Remote

Chances are, if your employee can successfully work at their position remotely right now, they will probably be able to continue doing so. And, remote positions are very attractive to a lot of professionals. Make it clear in your job posting that the role is currently remote and consider offering the option for it to stay that way. Not only will this help you get more interest in the role during these trying times, but you will also benefit from being able to interview candidates from further afield when proximity to the office is no longer an issue. Of course, some people do find that they work better when they have the option to come into the office or work from home, so you might want to consider adding this flexibility once Covid-19 is over.

  • Try to Meet in Person

Meeting in person is tricky right now, with offices closed for the time being. But you can still safely meet up with somebody in an outdoor space as long as you stay six feet apart. While conducting an interview in a park might not have been something that you signed up for when you took on your job, it can be an ideal way to meet candidates in person before determining whether or not they are the right fit for the job. Meeting somebody in person is often better than emails as you get to see their personality and weigh them up in a way that’s only possible face-to-face.

  • Set Up Virtual Interviews

Of course, meeting up in person might not always be possible, or you might have decided to hire somebody from further afield for the role, and don’t want to ask them to travel. In this case, set up remote interviews using a service like Zoom or Skype. Be sure to give clear instructions to the candidate so that they can easily access the interview and can avoid any issues. It’s worth giving a little extra leeway with time, as things don’t always go to plan with virtual interviews, and the last thing either you or your candidate want is to be late due to connection issues. Try and schedule the interview for a low-traffic time of day; 9am in the morning probably isn’t the best choice with everybody accessing Zoom meetings right now.

  • Check References

Unemployment is at an all-time high due to the coronavirus, and as a result, people are applying for any jobs that they think they might have a chance for. Many employers are quickly taking on new people to fill positions that are open, but there’s a lot of concern regarding culture fits post-pandemic. It is definitely worth checking past references and making sure that the candidate you are interested in is actually a good fit for the role. And, ask questions that you might not have thought to ask pre-pandemic to help you determine that they actually want to do the job, rather than simply applying because it is available and they are in need of work. The last thing that you want is for somebody to turn up to work half-hearted and uninterested because the only reason they applied was to get a job and not much else.

  • Conduct Background Checks

While you’d like to hope that your applicants are all honest and stand-up people, there’s always the risk of somebody trying to take advantage of the current situation by applying to a role that needs to fill up quickly with a resume that’s full of untruths. Due diligence is more important than ever right now, and it’s definitely worth the extra time spent to conduct a background check and investigate your candidate’s history a little. Consider these services from background check companies like One Source Background. You can run a pre-employment check on any candidate and clarify the information that they have put in their resumes, such as their educational achievements and previous employment, along with checking for anything more serious like a criminal record that they might have failed to mention. You can also check for any past reports of unsavory behavior in the workplace like sexual harassment, employee theft, or substance abuse.

  • Consider Remote Perks

Employee perks like paid-for drinks on a Friday or even subsidized gym memberships might be off the table right now, and many companies are worried about how they are going to attract the top talent when they don’t have that much in the way of perks and benefits to offer. If this is something that’s concerning you, consider ways that you can keep up the fun culture of your workplace and make it enjoyable for new hires even if they haven’t been able to step foot in the office. Speak to your current team and get suggestions of what might work for them; you might find that an early finish, a four-day week, or employer-provided health insurance is actually more sought-after than some of the in-office perks you were offering.

  • Welcoming a New Hire

Once you have found the ideal candidate for the position that you have available, welcoming your new employee to the team is going to be a little different. It’s worth speaking to your current team beforehand to let them know that you have a new employee on board and tell them a little bit about them before they start. Consider setting up a special virtual meeting with everybody so that they can meet the new employee and get to know one another.

  • Setting Expectations

Be sure to set clear expectations about the role both in the job posting, during the interview stage and when you bring the new employee onto the team. Even though the job might be remote right now, be very clear if this isn’t going to be the case forever; it’s important to make sure that any employees you are hiring remotely right now know that they might not be working from home after a while, and they agree to that. You should also be very clear when it comes to expectations regarding how your employee should work from home. You might be happy with just providing them with work to do each day and letting them get on with it, or you might expect them to be online at certain times and present at certain Zoom meetings. Making it clear at the start will help you avoid misunderstandings and make it easier for your new employee to settle in.

Both employers and new employees are going through an unusual experience right now during the hiring process. If you’re hiring a new employee during the pandemic, keep these tips in mind.

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