Finding the Right Candidate in a Time of Social Distancing

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Finding the Right Candidate in a Time of Social Distancing (3)

These are strange times, to be sure. Non-essential businesses are no longer the bustling centers of employees reporting for work, addressing their projects, attending meetings, and socializing.


Working together as a team now means working individually from home. Communicating in a remote workplace via all of the tremendous collaborative tools we currently have allows work to continue, thanks to our digital age.


But what happens when a vital member of the team resigns or retires?


All of a sudden, you are faced with finding the right replacement – and finding that replacement amidst social distancing, with everyone working from home and collaborating online.


What is Your Process Now?


Fortunately, the process itself does not have to be extremely different from the one you previously had in place. The methodology will be a bit different, but you can still find the ideal candidate if you have the flexibility to modify your methods.






Here are the Steps to Find the Right Candidate While Social Distancing:

  1. Post the position as you typically would, but remember, many high-quality candidates may not be actively looking right now [assuming no one is hiring]. You may want to use a reputable recruitment firm with a history of success in your niche. They will often have talented people waiting in the wings.
  2. Your job posting should be no different than the ones you usually create – including your "must-haves" and your "nice-to-haves." Including in the job posting that you will be holding digital interviews of your final candidates.
  3. Choose a video conferencing tool that you will use for interviews. Be sure to include that information in your job posting. Candidates will want to prepare, especially if they have not used such tools before. They may want to practice with a buddy so that they can pick the right spot regarding space and lighting, etc.
  4. If you are working from home, you need to pick the right spot as well. Be sure the lighting is correct and that you are in a functional working space. Even if you don't have an office at home, you can use a dining room or kitchen table. If your office building is empty or very sparsely populated, consider using it.
  5. If you have conducted interviews before, this one should not be much different. Preparing your questions in advance to help put the candidate at ease is essential now since candidates may be a bit more nervous in this interview environment. Consider that this may lengthen the interview time, but remember the goal – you want to know as much as possible about this individual. They will be more communicative if at ease. 
  6. Assessments. If you intend to use any technical or personality quizzes, be sure to provide selected candidates with digitally formatted tests in advance so that you have those scores going into the interview.
  7. Always provide a backup phone number, and ask your candidate to provide one, too – just in case there are technical glitches during the interview.
  8. Cultural fit is still relevant. If this candidate is a crucial member of a team, then a part or all of your video conferencing will involve other team members. Be sure they have lists of questions to ask too. Test, test, test the technology in advance. You want that part of the process to be as seamless as possible. John Canham, a recruiter for Write Scout, suggests that looking for particular personality traits when adding members to departmental teams, a collaborative 'mindset' is a must. Consider having other team members involved in the interview to ensure a perfect fit for the company and the team. 
  9. Empathy is imperative, especially in these strange times. Put yourself in the place of the candidate. See the job search and interview anxiety through his/her eyes. Everything that you can do to put him/her at ease will reap the rewards in the long run. They will open up to you and your teammates far more.

Now, About that Onboarding Process.


So, you have selected your ideal employee--what now?


How do you plan for the onboarding process when your team members are in their homes working digitally?


While not typical, the best thing to do right now is to assign a "buddy" to the new co-worker.  Allow full privacy in their conversations, and let that relationship develop.


Gradually, relationships with the other team members will develop as they work together on tasks and projects. But having a 'buddy" helps new hires feel confident that they have one person to turn to with any issue.


Remember this: 

  • If you need help crafting the job posting
  • Formulating the right interview questions for remote interviews
  • Creating questionnaires to assess soft skills or scripting to put the candidate at ease

There are several employment services, as well as writing companies with departments specifically designed to do this. Check out Classy Essay or Studyker for starters. You can also check out Your Office Coach for additional customized services. 


Yes, these are strange times. But work does go on – important work that businesses must continue to accomplish.


Openings in a team must be filled. With careful planning and execution, you can fill those openings with the ideal people.


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About the Author

Donald Fomby

Donald Fomby is the head of recruitment and employment for two online writing services – Top Essay Writing and Subjecto . Much of his work has always been digital, as he employs pros from all over the planet who work remotely. When not on the job, Donald can be found in his kitchen, creating culinary delights for friends and family.


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