With many businesses forced to close their doors in the midst of a pandemic, employee hiring has slowed dramatically. If your company has figured out how to adapt and thrive in a stay-at-home economy, you’re already ahead of the curve. And if you need to bring more people on board, even better.
Just be aware that employee hiring is a slightly different game here in the new normal. Even if you’re an essential business hiring for an on-site position, there are standards you should follow to ensure safety. We’re still at a phase when in-person interaction poses a risk for your candidates, your staff, and yourself.
A remote hiring process is your best bet. This idea might be uncomfortable, especially if you’re still adapting to the work-from-home setup. But trust us: you can properly evaluate and vet applicants without sitting across the table from them.
Here are all the new options for employee hiring in the era of social distancing.
Delayed or Halted Hiring
Some companies have chosen to delay or halt employee hiring until the pandemic blows over. This is a fair option if your business has taken a hit and you can no longer afford to bring new staff on board. (Though we do recommend reading up on the SBA Paycheck Protection Program.)
But those companies who simply decide to put off hiring until they can bring candidates into the office may want to think again. We’re no longer dealing with a two-week quarantine. And if you don’t have any financial need to delay hiring by a couple months, you may as well learn to vet candidates remotely.
Also note that the hiring pool is huge right now. This means you have more applications to sift through, but it also means you have a statistically better shot at finding a highly qualified candidate.
Remote Interviews are the New Normal
At a time when social distancing is absolutely crucial, executive and HR recruiters should make every effort to interview remotely. If a candidate would be working from home, anyway, don’t ask them to meet with you in person. And definitely do not ask a non-local applicant to fly in to see the office.
If you’re new to video conferencing, remote job interviews may feel awkward at first. But platforms like Zoom are easy to learn, and you’d be surprised how quickly you adapt to video-based conversations.
To make things easier on yourself, come to the interviewing process with a set agenda. Make sure you won’t be disrupted and check your surroundings to ensure everything in view of the camera is appropriate for a professional setting. Test your mic and video beforehand, and encourage the candidate to do the same.
Even if you’re hiring for an essential business, delay in-person screening until you’ve narrowed it down to your very top candidates. Remember, everyone faces a degree of risk by venturing out into public. Make a good impression on qualified applicants by keeping them at a safe distance until they have a real shot at a job.
You May Ask Some Health-Related Questions in Employee Hiring
If you’re hiring for a job at a physical location, you have a unique set of concerns during this pandemic.
You know unemployment has skyrocketed. You know people are desperate to work and feed their families. But you don’t know what the odds are that your new hire might bring coronavirus into your place of business.
For many human resources managers, the big question is:
Does the ADA prevent me from finding out if an applicant has COVID-19?
Here are the basic guidelines for fair, safe, and legal employee hiring procedures:
- You may screen a candidate for COVID-19 symptoms only after you’ve made a conditional job offer. But you cannot do this on a case-by-case basis. You have to either screen all onboarding candidates or none.
- If you decide to hire someone who has COVID-19, you can (and should) delay their start date.
- If you need to fill a position immediately but your new hire comes down with COVID-19 or symptoms of coronavirus, you may withdraw the job offer.
That said, this is an ever-evolving situation. Check with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regularly for updated guidelines.
I-9 Completion Requirements Have Changed
You know how the Department of Homeland Security has always insisted on an in-person review of Form I-9 Section 2 documentation? As of March 20, 2020, they’ve loosened their policy to accommodate remote employee hiring while the nation is in a state of emergency.
You still have to review the physical documents eventually. But remote verification will suffice for the time being.
There are guidelines for documentation. You need to demonstrate that your onboarding process and work operations are all remote. Make sure to document the date when you actually do physically examine your candidate’s identification.
You can check out the DHS announcement for full details.
It’s More Important Than Ever to Keep Everyone in the Loop
Aside from practical changes in employee hiring procedures, many of your applicants are dealing with new anxieties. The stakes are higher than ever in their job search, and clear, regular communication has never been more important.
Of course, you have your own challenges to deal with. Odds are, you have a huge stack of candidates to sort through, background checks to process, and calls to return.
This is where HR technology can be a huge help. Consider updating to a leading employee screening software platform like PeopleG2. Our system integrates with the most popular applicant tracking systems. This allows you to quickly transfer data and order thousands of background checks in a few short clicks.
Hiring managers spend less time on tedium and more time checking in with top candidates.
Employee Hiring with Mobile Background Checks
Speaking of technology, mobile background checks have become absolutely essential for hiring during the pandemic.
Sure, you can have candidates print, sign, scan, and email their screening documents. But you may have applicants without a full home office setup. If they don’t have access to a printer and scanner, they have to track those resources down.
Mobile background checks provide a far simpler option. Prospective employees receive a notification to initiate the screening process right from their smartphone. They answer a few quick questions based on the compliance standards of their city and state. Then, they submit their form directly to the screening service.
Swifthire mobile background checks even provide updates, so the applicant always knows where they are in the process. It’s a better experience for the candidate and safer process for everyone.
If you’re hiring during the coronavirus pandemic, let us know how we can help. PeopleG2 has always been dedicated to empowering businesses with comprehensive and convenient screening solutions.
We are more passionate about our mission now than ever before, and we’re here for anything you need. If you’d like to learn more about our industry-leading screening tech, reach out anytime for a demo.