Putting Candidates at Ease During a Social-Distanced Interview

If you’re one of the many Southern California employers that are starting to bring employees back to corporate offices and other on-site locations, you may need or want to hire new employees.

Los Angeles recruiters

While many employers have decided to continue interviewing via video conferencing, you may decide you want – or need – to interview candidates in person.

This, naturally, could make some candidates nervous. After all, most people understand how contagious the virus that causes the SARS-CoV-2 disease is and may be worried they could a) be exposed to the virus or b) pass the virus on to their interviewer under the chance that they or the interviewer could have the virus but be asymptomatic (showing no symptoms).

Making the decision to interview candidates in-person. Or not.

Every employer has different needs. You may be comfortable hiring with video-only interviews, or you may have decided you really need to see someone in person to get a true “feel” for their personality. After all, it isn’t as easy to evaluate a candidate’s personality traits in a video interview as it is in a “real-life” interview.

So if you have decided to bring candidates in for in-person interviews, here are some tips to help both you and the candidate feel safe…and have a productive, positive interview experience.

  • Naturally, you’re going to have to make sure your location meets – or exceeds – the CDC’s guidelines for making sure your workplace is safe for conducting business on-site.

The CDC offers guidance to reopening business on how to ensure your facility is clean/sanitized and is configured so that workers may properly social distance while at work.

  • Offer candidates written interview guidelines so that they know what to expect.

Will you require masks? If so, what can a candidate expect if they refuse to wear one (or can’t, for medical reasons)? What are you going to do about handshakes before and after the interview? Will candidates be allowed in restrooms? Will you be providing an office/site tour? Will the candidate meet with one or more people?

The idea is that these guidelines will give candidates information about what to expect at the interview location. Providing them with the “logistics” of their interview can help alleviate concerns and help put candidates at ease.

  • If you decide to have in-person interviews, will you allow candidates to request a video interview (in case they are leery of coming in for an on-site interview)?

This is a legitimate question for at least two reasons. One, people have varying tolerance for risk and – especially if the job will performed remotely – may simply be too nervous to come to your location for an interview.

However (reason two), if the job will be performed on-site – even if only a few days a week or month – how will you decide to look at the candidate’s virtual-interview request? Is it a deal-breaker for you? If not, and you want to grant the candidate’s request for a virtual interview, you’re going to have to come to sort of agreement about working on-site with the candidate if they become your employee.

  • Give candidates clear details as to what next steps are.

Employers should do this for all interviews, pandemic or no pandemic. However, it’s especially important now due to the uncertainty about, well, everything.

For example, it’s probably a good idea to give the candidate an estimate as to when a decision may be made and that a hiring choice could take longer than usual due to current circumstances. If that’s the case, it’s a really courteous move if you encourage the candidate to feel free to reach out to you if they haven’t heard from you in some capacity within a certain number of days.

If you need workers oriented and prepared in COVID-19 best workplace safety practices, contact Helpmates’ Rosalie Villa, our chief revenue officer, at 949-225-5016 or via email at rvilla@helpmates.com.

Getting Through Challenging Times

So. Things now are, shall we say, a tad dicey. The coronavirus pandemic has caused the stock market to decline precipitously, and now many economists are predicting a global recession.

Fun times, right?

Irvine recruiters

You may be worried that your employer will cut back. You may be an employer and worried that you’ll have to let people go. You may be an employer worried you may have to shutter your entire business. This has, after all, already happened to many enterprises: many restaurants, clothing stores, gyms, hair salons, concert halls, amusement parks, and more already have closed. The idea is that they will reopen once the emergency has passed, but it’s common sense to understand that many may never open again.

We understand your (possible) panic

First, please know that we’re in no way minimizing or scoffing at your concerns. They are legitimate and you have every right to worry or even dread what may be coming. In fact, if you’ve already lost your job/livelihood, it’s perfectly acceptable to collapse in a puddle of “woe is me.” Really. Wallow and wallow some more! For at most two days.

Then, here’s what you do:

  • Reframe your thoughts.

If a negative thought goes through your mind push it out and replace it with a positive one. Even if the negative thought is catastrophic (“We’ll lose our home!”) and the only positive thing you can think of is so minor in its positivity that you feel it can’t possibly “overcome” the negative thought (“We have peanut butter in the cupboard and I love peanut butter”), switch it for the positive one.

Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones really is a minor miracle: it truly DOES help you stay positive and functioning in chaotic times because it shifts your energy.

Once you’ve done that and calmed your mind, you can look back at the negative thought and label it a “negative thought.” Doing so lets you see the thought as something “to either ‘look at or to look from.’” It’s just a thought: it’s not a real thing.

  • Channel your energy in positive ways.

Exercise (with gyms closed, try some bodyweight exercises at home or at least go for walks, if possible). Aim to eat as healthy as possible. Rest and sleep (and don’t take your smartphone to bed with you). Don’t be afraid to ask friends and loved ones for support. (And, instead of texting friends, call them or even Zoom/FaceTime them.)

  • Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t.

If you had to shut your business due to social distancing, you had no control over that decision. If you get laid off due to cutbacks during the (more-than-likely coming recession), you’ll have little control over that (although you may have more control than you think).

But you definitely can control over what you do now.

As some examples:

  • Look for part-time or temporary work (staffing firms are still hiring temporary workers, for example). Restaurants may need delivery people.
  • Start networking. You’ll have to do so remotely/online of course, but if you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile lately, now’s the time. Reach out to former co-workers and supervisors to let them know you’re available.
  • If you were laid off, check with your employer’s human resources department: there’s a good chance you will qualify for unemployment monies.
  • If you ran a business, what aspect of it could you run yourself? Were you a yoga instructor at a gym? Perhaps some of the gym members would be willing to pay you for instruction via Zoom? Did you operate a clothing store? Could you sell some of the items on Poshmark or Ebay?

In all things, be honest!

If you’re a business that might have to close or lay people off, be honest with your workers as soon as you understand that it could happen. Even if layoffs won’t happen, your employees no doubt are extremely stressed: keep them in the loop on everything and shut down any rumors as soon as you hear they’re circulating. Thank them for working even while they’re no doubt worried about the future – and possibly the health of some loved ones.

People here in the U.S. – and even around the globe – have been incredibly kind and supportive of each other in these last few weeks. It’s uplifting and gratifying how willing many people are to work at home (with children home from school, no less!) and how understanding businesses that have had to close for social distancing purposes have been regarding this critical step in controlling the coronavirus’ spread.

We can hope this continues, and it has the best chance of doing so if all of us are honest and above board about the challenges we face.

These aren’t easy times and they probably will get much worse before they get better. If you need staff to replace employees who have contracted COVID-19 or if you’re looking for work, we hope you’ll consider reaching out to the Helpmates branch nearest you.

We wish you good health, calm, hope, and love.

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