Hiring in the times of COVID-19

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

It is impossible for your daily activities to not be affected by COVID-19. I type this as I begin 14 days self-isolation after a quick trip to the USA.  

Today, my thoughts are with hiring managers and job seekers. I lived through the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 as a hiring manager back in the day, and fully appreciate the uncertainty and extra layer of complexity COVID-19 has brought to all aspects of life. As an advisor to both employers and employees, I get to witness the excitement when a hiring manager finds the right fit and the joy of a successful candidate. I also witness the frustration when organizations in need of talented nonprofit professionals strike out and the disappointment when candidates don’t get the job. I’m here to help. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful for everyone, and every organization is experiencing challenges and disruptions. So here are some tips on how to handle those related to hiring:

For organizations and hiring managers:

  • First and foremost, don’t stop or delay the hiring process. The competition for non-profit talent is fierce and we are seeing many instances where organizations lose out on a top candidate because another organization made an offer in the meantime. 
  • Where possible, consider video calls or phone interviews, particularly for early round interviews. It may feel odd at first, but most people are quite comfortable in front of a camera these days and it can still give you a good impression of candidates. 
    • Some of the easiest software to use: Zoom, Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts. 
  • You can still have in-person interviews, but reserve these for advanced rounds or top candidates. 
    • Don’t forget to hold them in a large room and allow for ample distance. 
    • Give candidates advanced notice of any protocols related to entering your organization.
    • Allow for flexibility to reschedule or go virtual.
    • And yes…skip the handshake!
  • This is the time to promote roles online: If you are not quite at the interview stage, this is the time to promote your role online. Everyone will have a little extra time to scroll through LinkedIn posts or your organization’s website. So, if you are planning on posting a vacancy soon, buy yourself some time and advertise it now.
  • Onboarding new employees will be tricky, but I would strongly encourage proceeding with dates as planned. How an organization treats employees during the interview and onboarding process impacts employee engagement and satisfaction long-term. Focus on training that can be done remotely and utilize video calls as much as possible. 
    • Try not to leave employees hanging with payroll delays. It is a stressful time for those who are in between jobs or recently resigned a role to join your organization.

For candidates:

  • First and foremost, if you are unwell – don’t go in for an interview. This is sound advice, not just for COVID-19 times, but in general. I completely understand the urge to appear motivated and reliable no matter what, but now the most important quality you can exhibit is being responsible. 
  • Disclose to organizations any recent travel or other factors which may impact their decision to meet in person.
  • Be patient, many hiring managers are also chief health and safety officers for their organizations so their focus is also on all other employees.
  • Be flexible and offer multiple ways to conduct an interview, etc.  
    • Set up accounts with video call platforms and communicate them proactively. 
    • Practice your on-camera presence and even record yourself answering some sample questions so you know how you sound and look.
  • This is the time to also perfect your resume, LinkedIn profile or do research on prospective employers. 

For both organizations and prospective candidates: 

  • This too shall pass. We have also done it before and conquered it before. 

Since my work with Gerard Search is focused on helping nonprofit organizations find fundraising talent, I am also mindful that many organizations are having to cancel fundraising events they really counted on to reach fundraising goals or have otherwise disrupted fundraising operations and may not be able to deliver the services they provide to the community. So when this is all over, we’ll all have to work extra hard to make up for lost time and opportunities…

In the meantime, I would love to hear how you and your organization are handling hiring or job hunting in these challenging times. I am also here to help and brainstorm ideas with you, feel free to reach out with a question via email (mariya@geardsearch.com) or on LinkedIn.

Mariya Yurukova

Mariya Yurukova