The new world of telecommuting – Coronavirus style

Most of the country has shifted the majority of their corporate work teams to working from home. Some already had telecommuting plans in place for occasional work-at-home days… others have been working remotely for years… and still others are scrambling to make sure everyone has the equipment they need to do their job off-site. No matter where you stand on that spectrum, the unique issues surrounding Coronavirus/COVID-19 have added some difficult twists. And while this is a bit of a moving target, we’ve been talking with members actively about how they are handling two issues unique to talent: candidate interviews and onboarding. 

[Join us for our weekly webinar to discuss the ongoing shifts & changes in Coronavirus plans – open to all, no membership required]

New candidate interviews during COVID-19 lockdowns

Some companies are still hiring (we’ll keep the potential issues of a looming recession for another article). And if you’re hiring, that means you’re interviewing. While virtual interview tools have certainly become more popular in recent years (members can check out ratings & reviews here), it’s still fairly new territory for many companies. There’s no doubt that everyone is looking at a variety of tools to manage interviews virtually. However, the odds of hiring someone completely virtually are still somewhat slim. It will be interesting to see if that shifts as current travel and social distancing restrictions show no signs of lessening. 

It remains to be seen how all these virtual experiences will impact candidate experience. Now is an excellent time to audit your candidate journey and take a hard look at what steps could be automated or made virtual. For example, if you are looking for coders and incorporate live coding tests as part of the interview process look into virtual proctoring services (universities use them regularly). While there’s something to be said for sacrificing some of your candidate experience policies in these unusual times, we’d argue that this is a time to closely examine each part of your process and perhaps reinvent them. 

Onboarding during the Coronavirus pandemic

Large companies may regularly be hiring hundreds of people – in fact, companies that offer delivery services are likely ramping up  hiring in some positions as demand for delivered goods climbs. How do you handle onboarding what could be hundreds of employees with the same start date? Here are a few tips that some companies are testing:

  • Stagger start dates and times of new employees. You most likely need to supply equipment to enable your new employees to work from home. Have them come in by appointment to pick up required equipment, sign paperwork and leave.
  • Establish communication tools and online portals to keep new employees up-to-date on policies. You likely have some sort of intranet already in place, find a segment that can be devoted to regular updates related to the Coronavirus. 
  • Offer virtual onboarding experiences. We know of at least one company that already does much of their onboarding virtually over a series of months to enable new employees to get to their “real work” faster. 
  • Still need to do that final interview on-site? Ask candidates coming from high risk areas or who have been exposed, to self-quarantine and postpone their interview.

[Listen to our recent podcast on COVID-19 Planning & Impacts on our new podcast channel!]



Picture of Chris Hoyt

Chris Hoyt

A veteran of recruiting and HR, Hoyt is a sought-after speaker with presentations including national conferences with SHRM, LinkedIn, HR Technology, ERE and others in the USA as well as UNLEASH, iRecruit, Australasian Talent Conference and more abroad. Chris has been promoting and leading full scale and enterprise-wide integrations of social media and mobile marketing within workforce strategies for his entire career. His expertise and passion for interactive/social recruiting, candidate experience, and both national and international recruiting strategies are all areas that Hoyt now leverages as co-owner and President at CareerXroads, a Recruiting/Staffing consulting and think tank organization that works with corporate leaders from around the world to break out of traditional recruitment practices and push the envelope in an effort to win the ongoing war for top talent.

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