Over the past two months, we have focused on providing employers and candidates with resources around taking the hiring process virtual. We recognize that as restrictions start to lift, some employers will begin to incorporate in-person interviews again, especially for executive-level positions.
We have put together a list of 5 tips to help employers navigate a socially distant in-person interview process.
1. Proper Communication
We recommend sharing your business’ COVID-19 protocol with candidates in advance of interviews. You can access sector-specific provincial guidelines to help draft this document.
In order to maximize the effectiveness of your interviews, the candidates need to feel safe and comfortable in your environment. Ask for the candidate’s feedback on your protocols and be open and accommodating to the requests a candidate may have in order to attend in-person.
2. Be Accommodating
A candidate’s focus and comfort is of the utmost importance as there is a power imbalance. One of the most important parts of being an inclusive employer is providing accommodation and flexibility. For example, candidates with child-care or elder-care responsibilities may only be available to meet on a weekend. As the employer, it is in your best interest for candidates to be solely focused and not stressed out about other things in order for a productive and open conversation to be had.
3. Pre-Plan Logistics
Smooth logistics are grounded in planning and preparedness; some simple steps include:
- Map out the boardroom prior to the interview
- Remove the need for multiple doors to be opened and closed prior to the interview
- Provide relevant personal protective equipment upon entry
Avoid using communal areas as much as possible – have the candidate wait in their car or outside of the office location and send a text message when the meeting room is ready. If you are hosting multiple interviews, allow for enough time between candidates to ensure thorough cleaning of surfaces. Fresh airflow is important, for confidentiality and privacy – if possible, ask existing employees to work from home on the interview day so that meeting room doors can remain open. You may even want to consider purchasing an EzGARD from Terlin Construction to ensure that there is a protective barrier.
4. Streamline the hiring process
We recommend that in-person interviews constitute the very last stage of your hiring process. There are a number of screening and assessment tools that you can incorporate into your process to help get you to the final one or two candidates for the role. At Keynote Search, we incorporate assessment tools such as the Hogan assessment for executive-level searches. Another tool that may see a resurgence is the use of cover letters. Our Talent Associate, Christine Colverson, has written a short piece on the comeback of the cover letter.
5. Cementing the deal without a handshake?
The handshake is dead, and elbow bumping may not be the best way to end an interview. The interview process is as much about information seeking as it is about determining genuineness, for both the candidate and the employer. A contact-free way of exhibiting genuineness is by making time to say: “thank you for your time and thank you for following our COVID-19 protocols” and send a follow-up thank you in an email as well. Once an offer is signed, the gesture of sending a small corporate gift to the successful candidate from a local business is a fantastic way of starting this new relationship.
Candidates will remember businesses that were adaptable, innovative, and responsible during this time. The tips above are not an alternative to the advice of public health, but rather an additional layer of thought and practicality when it comes to a socially distant interview. Please feel free to reach out to our team if you need assistance navigating the hiring process.