The working environment has changed significantly in many ways since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recruitment teams subsequently modified the questions they ask to assess candidates’ knowledge, skills, abilities and potential fit.
It’s no surprise that HR professionals, recruiters, and hiring managers have discovered important new areas to consider when interviewing job candidates during the pandemic and into the foreseeable future.
“It’s always important to go back and evaluate the questions posed to candidates when something drastically changes,” said Caitlyn Metteer, director of recruiting at Lever, a recruiting technology company in San Francisco. During the pandemic, she said, this drastic change has been linked to the “pivot to remote working and continued pandemic treatment as new variants hit.”
Assess comfort with ambiguity
The pandemic work experience provided a ready-made opportunity to gauge candidates’ comfort with ambiguity. Not all have adapted as well or as easily as others.
Corey Berkey, SHRM-SCP, senior vice president of human resources and talent for Employ, the parent company of Jobvite, JazzHR and NXTThing RPO, found that candidates are very honest about their performance over the past few months. “Understanding how they adapted to change is very transferable to other work,” he said. “Being able to talk about the evolution of their individual remote work processes shows an ability to be self-aware, to adapt when things aren’t working, and to learn from situations as they go – all essential skills and transferable to the new talent market.”
A closely related question Berkey often asks candidates is “What was the biggest challenge of working remotely?” Their responses “shed light on their practical problem-solving skills.” No one’s transition was perfect, Berkey said, unless they were already working from home. Thus, candidates generally feel comfortable in their answers. It can also be a good way to build relationships and keep the discussion going, he said.
Paul French, chief executive of Intrinsic Search, also believes that how employees have navigated work life during the pandemic can be revealing and offer insight into their potential and suitability for a position. He likes to ask, “What have you learned from the pandemic about how to deal with stress during this time?”
Pushing back on concerns about the big resignation
Another common concern for employers today is the possibility that a new hire could pose a turnover risk. The big quit has made “Americans so confident about job prospects that they’re quitting in record numbers,” Berkey said. This is obviously a concern and consideration when hiring new employees. Are they likely to stay on board once hired? To help assess their retention potential, he asks questions such as “What is important to you in a career and business?” Through questions like this, he said, “we hope to find out what a candidate would find fulfilling in the company or the role.”
Then, he added, “we want to make sure that we listen to their response and show them how our organization’s support structure aligns with their needs.” These responses, he said, also provide background information on what people are looking for so that we can “do our best to attract the best talent.”
Understand working styles
In a world that has become much more “out of sight”, but not out of mind, it’s more important than ever for employers to understand how potential employees work and how they manage their ability to be productive, especially when they can cope with potential distractions. at home.
At Lever, some of the interview questions they asked about this are:
- How do you organize your day?
- How do you spend your time in your current role?
These questions, Metteer said, help her team determine whether candidates are thinking about their performance “in terms of results rather than activity.” In the faraway world, she said, it’s essential to focus on results. “We are also paying close attention to their style of communication via email and Zoom or interviews as a signal on how they might work with the team, collaborating remotely.”
How candidate questions have changed
At the end of almost every interview, most recruiters and hiring managers ask candidates, “Do you have any questions for us?” As with recruiters, candidate questions have also changed during the pandemic.
“Applicants regularly ask about our travel and vaccination requirements,” said Martha Angle, vice president of global culture, diversity and people for OneStream Software in Rochester, Michigan. “They want to know what is expected of them as our world responds to the latest security measures.”
Most candidates want to know if the company expects employees to return to the office or if there are opportunities to work from home permanently. “There are those who don’t want to leave their homes and there are those who will only work for an employer who offers an office away from home,” Angle said.
Lin Grensing-Pophal is a freelance writer in Chippewa Falls, Wis.