2021 is the year of we get back to normal! Right? Well not yet. Listening to friends and business associates talk about heading back to the office, normal still sounds months away. They’re citing summer and even fall. Yet business continues and that means hiring remotely. Our LGC team has gotten pretty good at the remote hiring process. Here are a few tips and tricks to borrow and maybe even keep.

Fortunately, the recruitment process that now includes posting jobs on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed and other mainstream websites, has not changed. Writing job descriptions and receiving applications, has been digital for years. The job posting, receiving applicants and screening should be comfortable for a business and a potential employee.

It’s the interview process during the COVID-19 lockdown that’s changed and will continue to remain remote this year. While this sounds like a negative, we’ve discovered a few positives along the way. And we’ve found creativity is key.

For employers

Yes, let’s agree upfront the interview process, typically conducted in person, is best practice. Yet, we’ve discovered the digital interview creates cost savings and immediacy. Candidates don’t need to travel. Logging into a device is much easier. And there’s no out of pocket expense for overnights, lunch/breakfast meetings and so on. Interviews are often confirmed (and in some cases even conducted) within an hour instead of back and forth coordinating schedules for an interview next week or even the following.

Many companies have digitized the entire hiring process allowing businesses to conduct interviews as usual. While this removes the physical interaction, it does keep the personable aspects that come with interviewing. Not only that, but digital interviews will show candidates a company is willing to be flexible and committed to finding great employees.

If your business currently has hiring needs:

  1. Review the new digital recruiting process. If it was defined in 2020, consider reviewing it to ensure it’s working well. Adjust as needed. If one hasn’t been defined read on for more.
  2. Choose a platform. While Zoom was all the buzz early quarantine, there are many good tools including Google, Microsoft teams and Skype. Use what’s best for your business.
  3. Communicate the process. Human resources professionals manage the process, yet there are many people involved. Be sure hiring managers know the process to ensure the company shows well to prospective employees.
  4. Ask: How can I make candidates feel comfortable? Interviewing virtual removes the personal connection. A solid prospective employee is measuring up your company against others they’ve talked with about a job. The interviewer should be ready to set the tone to create a welcoming first impression. Consider questions that build rapport before jumping into interview questions. Let the job prospect ask questions too.
  5. Evaluate the process for use after COVID-19. There are some aspects of the digital interview that will become best practice post-COVID 19. Perhaps instead of a first screening phone call, there’s a first virtual meet and greet to see each other face to face? Ask yourself and others in the company what part of the process would be good to keep long-term?

For job seekers

Similar to a company, establish a process for seeking and finding a job. Don’t let the lack of events and face to face meetings be the barrier. Use online tools for:

  1. Continued networking. While companies are using electronic tools for interviews, job seekers should also use these tools to continue meeting potential employers. Company leaders are accepting virtual meet and greets. A phone call also works well.
  2. Building and using a database. While some companies are reluctant to hire today that will change in the near future. Keep a database and stay in touch with potential employers. If you accept a job, let the network know what you’re doing. The network you build now will stay with you your entire career.
  3. Becoming strategic. It’s easy to just find a job; it’s finding the right job that’s hard. It’s ok to be thoughtful. Read a company’s website/blog, find and read news articles, use LinkedIn to see who you know who knows someone at the company, ask that person what they know about the company. You also get to interview the company. Prepare questions.
  4. Prepping yourself (and others) for the interview. Find a good quiet and professional place for the virtual interview. Consider what’s in the background behind you. If someone else is home or nearby, let them know you are going into an interview to ensure you are not interrupted. Silence your cell phone. These tips all seem pretty intuitive, but it’s good to keep these items top of mind before logging into the interview.

The main point to consider is this: employers and candidates alike are uncertain of what the “right” hiring process is during COVID-19. Best practices are being established by trial and failure. The tips outlined here are working for our businesses and hiring team. Borrow what works short-term and keep what feels relevant long term as normal resumes.

George Lessmeister is CEO and founder of LGC Hospitality, a hospitality staffing firm that works with hotel and restaurant leadership. The company is headquartered in Indianapolis operating in over 30 cities across the country.

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