March 6th, 2020
Planning for modified hiring processes, handshakes, and video conferences
Businesses and people across the country are preparing for a potential pandemic of COVID-19, the Novel Coronavirus. But today, like any other day, millions of people woke up, got themselves ready, and made the commute to work. For the vast majority of employees who don’t work 100% remotely, physically coming into work is a reality, pandemic or not.
Employers are making business continuity plans, and major companies like Twitter and Ford are banning all non-essential travel. Google and Facebook both canceled their developer conferences in the wake of the outbreak. Some have even restricted their own employees from offices until they complete a mandatory quarantine after traveling to high-risk areas for business or pleasure.
But businesses must continue to operate. And part of operating means hiring new employees as business needs arise. The use of phone interviews or video calls is widespread for early stages of the hiring process, but most companies require an in-person meeting at least once before extending an offer.
If you are working with a staffing agency like Talener, your representative is your advocate – especially if you have concerns or questions regarding on-site interviews. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get answers prior to going on-site. If companies have enacted work-from-home policies, ask how it affects your ability to interview as well as your potential start with the organization.
If you are working on your own, most hiring managers or HR will appreciate the heads up about any concerns you may have.
If you have traveled to a high-risk area recently, please be courteous to your interviewers and give them a heads up to confirm if they would like to re-schedule, conduct a video conference, or have you come into the office.
Likewise, if you know that the company at which you are applying has international offices in high-risk areas and employees who travel frequently, you should ask the hiring manager or your staffing representative if they are taking any precautions with their own staff.
Experiencing sever cold or flu-like symptoms before your interview? It is in your best interest and the interviewers to give them as much notice as possible if you are feeling under the weather. While canceling an interview is never ideal, providing as much notice as you can is always the right decision.
This is particularly true if you have traveled to risk-areas or if you live in a densely populated area where you are in constant contact with people at shops, restaurants, or on public transportation.
It is OK to let your interviewer know that you are trying to follow universal precautions during the outbreak. If you’ve been on public transportation, take this approach, “I was just on the subway, could you point me to the restroom to wash my hands before we get started?”
If you are uncomfortable skipping the handshake, keep hand sanitizer with you or ask to use the restroom to wash your hands before you begin your interview.
Many companies have business continuity and disaster plans in place, particularly in densely populated areas or if they have employees that travel regularly. During the interview, ask about work-from-home policies, policies on personal and work-sponsored travel, and expectations.
During this time, your Talener representatives are in constant contact with clients. They are learning about continuity plans as they emerge as well as making alternative arrangements if in-person interviews are not a viable option. If you have questions about a company with whom you are interviewing, use Talener as a resource.
For more information about the Novel Coronvirus (COVID-19), the WHO, CDC, and National Institute of Health provide universal precautionary measures as well as information about the spread of the virus.