With the coronavirus pandemic working its way through the United States, many employers are re-evaluating their hiring plans and processes. The reality is that frontline workers are essential to our country’s response to COVID-19, and their work cannot be put on hold. The United States is facing an unprecedented threat in the form of a faceless, nationless enemy that targets everyone regardless of race, nationality, or descent. The only way to confront this threat is by making sure our nation’s manufacturing and transportation industries are able to make the essential supplies needed to support our medical personnel, keep our populace fed, and strengthen our supply chains. ​

From delivery professionals bringing supplies to people’s homes to manufacturing associates making face masks and hand sanitizer, it's more critical than ever for many U.S. manufacturers to continue their hiring and recruitment during this pandemic.

Hiring in the time of coronavirus is even harder due to the ongoing risk of spreading infection. However, it’s still possible. ​

This guide is intended to help HR personnel and recruiters continue their work during this critical time. With CDC guidelines requiring social distancing, and with shelter-in-place orders being in effect in many communities for the foreseeable future, now is not the time for critical and exempted businesses to stop work. Exempt and essential businesses can, in fact, continue recruiting and hiring while following all safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

To help employers navigate the talent acquisition challenge in these uncertain times, we put together insights and best practices from our experience in remote recruiting, screening, and placement of candidates. Because of the nature of our business, Daughters of Rosie operations have always been conducted remotely.

Remote Screening Is in Our DNA
Daughters of Rosie is a professional network for the high-potential hourly worker. We recruit, screen, and coordinate interviews with candidates that match the talent needs of the companies we serve in manufacturing and transportation.

We started Daughters of Rosie with a mission to connect as many people as we could with careers that are meaningful to them. Remote screening and interviewing is in our DNA and is something that we’ve been effective at carrying out, even today. Some of the best candidates  we’ve placed have been folks who we’ve never met in person.

Remote interviewing is not something to fear. In fact, it can be a source of immense leverage for your HR team, as it effectively broadens your reach to find the best possible hire for your team.

Is the In-Person Interview Really Necessary?
One of the major effects of COVID-19 is the inability to complete in-person interviews. At many companies, the typical hiring process involves at least one in-person meeting before a final offer is made. However, due to the spread of COVID-19, this may not always be possible.

Nevertheless, it's critical that companies continue their recruitment efforts and keep their talent pipeline fresh. It typically takes a company at least one quarter to attract, screen, and hire talent, and having a steady pipeline is even more important on the frontlines and at the entry level.

Now is the time to get creative with your process, so you can feel confident about hiring a candidate, even without an in-person interview.

For example, phone and video screenings are excellent ways to replicate the in-person experience of an interview. The main goal of the in-person interview is to connect more deeply with the candidate and get to know their personality in a more vulnerable way. It’s also a chance to show the candidate what the working environment will be like, so they can make an informed decision about whether or not to take the job if you offer it to them. It might feel strange at first, but you can also create that same connection and trust with a remote interview.

In cases where an in-person interview is absolutely essential, consider the following options:

  1. Set up a dedicated sanitized interviewing room that separates the interviewer and the interviewee by at least six feet.
  2. Set up interviews on the shop floor in chairs or at stations that are spaced out at least six to seven feet apart to enforce social distancing.
  3. Have intake procedures that minimize contact. These may include: Mandating that everyone in HR wear gloves and face masks, avoiding shaking hands or any form of contact, filming videos of the production line to make virtual tours, or creating video and audio content to capture what it’s like to work on the shop floor and share with the candidate ahead of time.

Alternative Ways to Assess a Candidate
It's important to be flexible, generous, and kind in your assessment of the candidate. Hiring during a pandemic is a unique position for anyone to be in — the safety precautions, masks, gloves, and absence of physical contact can be disorienting and stressful to any candidate.

Try to give as much allowance as possible for someone to adjust to the new situation. Understand that it can be even more stressful to look for a job with the risk of infection. It’s also very likely that your candidates are dealing with a lot of pressures, like taking care of their children at home since schools are closed and childcare is unavailable.

Try to give as much leeway as possible to appearance, demeanor, personality, and “soft skills.” These qualities can be highly affected by the current atmosphere of general low-level panic.

Create a set of questions to help you connect more personally with the candidate. You can ask and gauge their responses through a video stream, and you’d be surprised at how much people will share with you over a video chat. Dry questions will get you dry answers, and answers that stem from a place of connection with the candidate will solicit more honest and vulnerable answers.

Here are a few open-ended questions to help you connect and draw deeper insights:

  • Tell me about a time when you helped or supported someone at work. (Address teamwork, taking responsibility, empathy, and capacity to be of service to others.)
  • In your experience, what makes a team work together well? (Understand the types of teams the candidate has been on previously, and the types of environments they’ll be successful in. )
  • Tell me about a time when a customer was upset or displeased. (Assess how the candidate handles unexpected or stressful situations and how well they’re able to take responsibility without being defensive of their work.)
  • Name a product that's made you think, "I wonder how that's made?" (Curiosity and mechanical aptitude are key for career-changers who are entering manufacturing.)
  • What’s something you're proud of yourself for that's not job-related? (Taking pride in your work is important when you’re producing high quality goods. Gain insight into the types of things that motivate the candidate to do well.)
  • When’s the last time you had to do something in your job that you had no idea how to do? (Test for the ability to learn on the job, resilience, and curiosity.)
  • What are you interested in learning more about? (See areas where the candidate might like to grow over time and raise any questions that they have about the specific opportunity.)
  • Tell me about a favorite job you had and why you liked it. (Find people who are highly motivated and upbeat or positive about their past experiences.)
  • What are you looking for in your next job? (Align expectations with job requirements and get a sense of where the candidate would like to grow.)
  • Tell me about something you’ve built, fixed, or put together. (Gauge hands-on ability and aptitude.)
  • Any other skills/things you’re proud of or accomplishments you’d like to share? (Elicit other qualities or strengths that may not have been shared before.)
  • When you think of “manufacturing,” what comes to mind? What questions do you have? What appeals to you about hands-on work and manufacturing? (Elicit their specific interest in a manufacturing role.)
  • What would make you excited to accept a job offer? (Draw out deeper motivations or alignment with the particular role and growth opportunities you’re offering.)

Preparation Is Key When Interviewing Remotely
Making successful hires without an in-person interaction is certainly possible — as long as you take the right steps and prepare accordingly.

  1. Review the candidate’s resume thoroughly before the interview. The last thing you want to do is to ask questions that you’d know the answer to if you’d read the candidate’s resume. This can lead to a negative impression from the candidate. Make the best use of the time allocated to build a connection with the candidate and dig deeper into questions that are not immediately evident on their resume.
  2. Be very clear in the qualities that you’re looking for in a candidate, especially in terms of “must-haves” versus “nice-to-haves.” By being clear and communicating these qualities to the candidate early in the process, you not only establish trust and confidence that everyone is on the same page, but you can also screen out candidates who may not meet your needs.
  3. Make sure that all interviewers are prepared for the interview and that it’s scheduled with plenty of preparation time. Ensure that the relevant people are involved in the decision-making process and that their specific questions will be answered.

Here’s How Daughters of Rosie Can Help

Remote interviewing and screening is what we do at Daughters of Rosie. Our way of remote operations has enabled us to operate nationally and deploy to any manufacturing plant in the US. It makes us experts in the best way to remotely attract, screen and retain the best possible talent. Remote operations also allows us to support companies that have less staff available for screening – in turn helping internal HR teams focus on other high-priority day-to day work.

Remote recruitment and screening works, even for hands-on entry-level roles. Our process cuts down the time needed to source candidates, screen, and place into roles.
Through this process, we’ve placed candidates within 3 weeks or less when starting from scratch. Here’s some statistics from our most recent placement drive:

  • 75% of our presented candidates are women
  • 90% of our hired candidates are women
  • Our retention rate is more than 90%
  • Our clients typically conduct 3 final round interviews for every offer they make (from an initial application pool of 10 applicants)

How are you handling hiring in a pandemic? If you’d like to share any insights or feedback, we’d love to hear from you at info@daughtersofrosie.com.

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