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Remote Hiring During (& After) a Pandemic

May 5, 2020
min read
Celestine Grev

What does your hiring process look like right now? What will it look like in a few weeks when cities start to reopen from shelter-in-place guidelines?

If your answer is “chaos,” you’re in good company. But it’s also time to start adapting.

Most companies didn’t begin this pandemic with interview and hiring processes that are compliant with social distancing guidelines. Essential businesses have spent the last several weeks modifying their day-to-day processes to ensure that all workers feel safe and protected in their jobs. But in an interview, social distance goes out the window from the first motion - when a job candidate walks into the room and shakes the hiring manager’s hand.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Beyond just avoiding a handshake, there are a lot of things companies can do to make remote hiring a good option and to improve remote hiring decisions. It’s fully possible to find and screen workers, hold interviews, verify skills, and make a great hire without ever meeting your candidates in person.

Even after non-essential businesses go back to work, many are saying that preventative measures - like distancing and increased sanitation - should stay in place. So now is the best time to get ready to increase remote interviews and remote hiring for the foreseeable future. Companies that adapt their processes first will be most prepared, and bring on the best talent when they start hiring.

Put health first

Before anything, prioritize the health and safety of your workforce. And that includes job seekers. The interview is often a worker’s first real impression of what it would be like to work for your company. If they don’t feel comfortable and see that your business is prioritizing workers’ health, it will leave a bad taste in their mouth.

As nearly one in five workers hourly and gig workers are considering quitting their job because of the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 (check out our recent study here!) it’s important to show workers (both hiring managers and candidates) that their safety is a priority.

If it’s not 100% necessary for something to happen in-person, like an interview, it’s in your best interest to take things online. At the very least, transfer them to a bigger room. 

Prioritize the qualities you’re looking for

A remote job interview can be conducted in almost exactly the same way as a regular interview. But for best results, it’s important to know what to prioritize. 

For example, it’s worth considering how necessary technology is in your work environment. Conducting a video interview is often preferable to a phone interview, since you can see the other person’s reactions. But for some, the technology can be challenging. Consider how necessary technology is for the job you’re hiring. If workers are using tablets to help them select materials in a pick and pack job or checking off materials in an inventory system, you’ll want someone who’s used to using simple technology. A video interview is probably the way to go. 

However, if you’re in a low-tech job where those technical skills aren’t necessary, you may be weeding out good candidates by mandating that they use video. Be sure to evaluate what’s really necessary when you decide on what medium to use.

Finding the right fit in a remote interview

Before any interview, it’s worthwhile to review a list of your “must-haves” versus “nice-to-haves” for the role. In remote interviews, it’s even more important to stay focused and know what you’re looking for. 

Bluecrew is a staffing company - we hire all day every day - so we’ve seen it all. And we know what our clients are looking for in their hourly employees. Almost every company wants to find sharp, reliable workers who will bring a positive attitude to work. When we’re conducting remote interviews, we find one of the best ways is to ask behavioral interview questions

Here are a few examples:

  1. Tell me about a time you’ve made a mistake at work, and how you recovered.
  2. What is an example of a challenge you faced in your last workplace? How did you overcome or work around it?

Simple questions like these, which help you understand how a candidate approaches difficulties and whether or not they react negatively, tell you more about how they’ll work within your team.

Focusing on skills and experiences specifically, rather than other external factors, can also help you make the right hiring decisions. If you’re looking for more tips about predicting success in workers, check out our guide here. 

Tap into outside resources

Timing, and getting new employees onboarded quickly, can seem like the most important things. But if your HR team requires additional screening, it shouldn’t be overlooked. Many companies include background checks for employees, and for driving positions, you shouldn’t be surprised if a motor vehicle driving history is required too.

If you’re looking to keep the hiring process short and get new people working as quickly as possible, the best option can be to tap into an outside resource. For example, at Bluecrew, we’ve already vetted all of the Crew Members on our platform. That means every Bluecrew worker who accepts your job has already been screened by our recruiting team, been vetted to ensure they have the skills required for your job, and passed a background check. Plus, we use a matching algorithm to pair workers with jobs, meaning you’ll get the most qualified workers possible, every time. 

It’s okay to need a little outside help. Especially right now. If you’d like to talk more about your hiring process, how to make remote interviews work for your company, or learn more about how Bluecrew can help streamline your staffing, get in touch with us here

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