As we begin to turn the corner on COVID-19, and economic activity starts returning to pre-pandemic levels, many leaders are thinking about ramping back up. Some will want to look exactly the same as they did prior to the pandemic, but others will take the lessons of the past ten months and define a vision that is quite different from the past.
In either case, taking advantage of the upcoming recovery will likely involve filling existing or newly defined positions.
Current restrictions for face-to-face contact, as well as continued uncertainty about when and how a recovery will occur, means doing things differently. In this article, we’ll explore 5 ways to adapt your hiring process for 2021 and beyond.
Top 5 Ways To Upgrade Your Hiring Process
Don’t Break What Isn’t Broken
A lot has changed since the start of 2020, but that doesn’t mean that some of the fundamentals of the past are no longer valid. Our long time collaborator John Spence reminds us of several principles that should underpin everything we do when it comes to hiring:
- Hire for attitude and aptitude (learning) – train for skills.
- Hire slow and fire fast.
- Use a world-class hiring and interview process like the one we outlined in our Ultimate Handbook to Hiring and Motivating Talent.
These tenets should be followed throughout the hiring process for any type or level of role, and no matter if the hiring is occurring face-to-face or remotely.
Thriving in Uncertainty
If there is one thing the past year has taught us, it’s that success requires adaptation and resilience. In fact, research is demonstrating that companies high in adaptability have a significant competitive advantage.
This holds at the individual employee level as well. Amidst uncertainty and rapid change, employees who can adapt will be more successful. Therefore, we must test for things like risk tolerance, self-direction, learning and initiative with all candidates for nearly all roles.
Many of us have been forced into remote working situations, and that has involved running and participating in virtual, online meetings. In fact, according to various studies, many roles will remain that way. For leaders, in addition to hiring, this also changes various other aspects of productivity, employee development, performance management and culture.
For interviewing, there is no substitute for being face-to-face, however, we can implement practices that will help us get very close using a virtual meeting:
- Invest time and money in the technology, including the software (Zoom, GMeet, Teams, etc.) and hardware (quality audio, camera, lighting, etc.) to optimize the virtual meeting experience.
- Situate the equipment so that you can see and hear the interviewee, carefully observing all aspects of non-verbal communication. In our experience, that means a straight-on view of the person’s face.
- Involve multiple team members in the interview process. It’s remarkable how much an interviewer can miss when asking questions and managing the process, and having another set of eyes and ears can fill in the gap.
Pay Attention to Your Candidate’s Questions
No matter the economic conditions, great employees are in demand and have choices. Top candidates, the so-called “A-Players”, will come to interviews with their own list of questions, and you can learn a lot about them by what questions they ask. Remember, a candidate who says ‘yes’ to working for your organization is making a big decision that can significantly impact their career and lives.
Questions that are good indicators of top performers might be:
- What’s your culture like? Or, what would one of your employees say about the culture here if I met them socially?
- What is your management style?
- What’s the vision for the organization? What does it stand for and what is it trying to achieve long-term?
- If I accept, what support can I count on?
If any of these questions frighten you, then it could indicate other issues that need to be addressed in your company. In which case, you may want to book a chat with one of our team members to be equipped with the tools for landing A-Player employees.
The Hiring Process Isn’t Done with the Offer Letter
It’s a common misconception for leaders to think that getting to the offer letter is the end of the journey. It’s not; it’s just the beginning.
To fully realize the return on a new hire takes time and requires a disciplined onboarding process that includes the following steps:
- Start with highly structured and scheduled learning processes where the new hire can learn about the technical elements of the role, the culture of the organization, and the political dynamics at play. Ensure they can meet and spend time with every other person they will be interfacing with within their job, along with as many senior leaders as possible.
- Make them part of the team by ensuring all other team members understand the purpose of the new person’s role (especially if it’s a brand new position) and how they can support the new individual to be successful.
- Revisit the “Role Scorecard” (see below) with the individual and ensure crystal clarity with them concerning the measures of success in the role.
- As noted above, new hires are usually eager to contribute. Identify ways for them to get some early wins.
- Establish a coaching rhythm with the individual and expectations between each party in the coaching relationship.
Role Scorecards are not just for recruiting. They are the centrepiece of the entire talent management system. Ask our team for a free template.
Next Steps — Upgrade Your Hiring Process
We can’t predict exactly when and to what extent the post-pandemic recovery will occur, but we do know that at some point there will be a recovery. For some, it will return to business-as-usual, and for others, the ‘new normal’ will look nothing like the old.
If history has taught us anything, it’s that “hope” is not a strategy. Despite the continued uncertainty, we still need a plan, and if that plan includes growing your team, you need to begin to fine-tune your remote hiring process.