After widespread furloughs and layoffs as a result of the global pandemic, businesses are just now finding their financial footing and starting to consider expanding their ranks. However, Covid-19 has changed the way that most of us do business and will do for the foreseeable future. As you begin to think about bringing new hires onboard, you’ll also want to consider a few key questions that are likely to come up during the interview process.
To prevent you from being caught off guard, we’ve rounded up a few questions that might crop up and some answers you can keep in your back pocket or use as a jumping off point to discuss your company-specific policies.
How has Covid-19 impacted your business?
To know how to answer this question, you must understand all the concerns that this simple question hopes to cover. When an employee asks this, they’re essentially asking if you are struggling as a result of the pandemic, if you’ve had to make layoffs or furloughs of existing staff, and if the position that you are hiring for is for the long term.
To answer this, the best advice we can give is to be honest. There is not a business out there that hasn’t been impacted by the Coronavirus, so it’s ok to admit if you had to furlough your employees or slim your ranks to make it through. What they’ll want to see is whether the job that you are hiring for has longevity. Answer honestly about job security moving forward, as well as your company’s current financial position and plans to weather any future pandemic storms.
What is your reopening plan?
Most businesses are continuing to open in a state of uncertainty, but at this stage in the game, you should have some plans in place for what work will look like once the world reopens. As we touched on above, candidates want to know whether the job that they’re interviewing for is a permanent placement, but also the logistics of said position. Will they be working remotely indefinitely and if they are expected to return, what is the priority or timeline for such a change? Moreover, job candidates want to know what work life will look like once they do return to the office. Will everyone be back at once or brought in in stages and do execs ever expect to have a full-house again?
What health and safety protocols do you have in place?
As part of the reopening plan, employees are going to want to know how your business plans to prioritize employee health and safety. This includes enforcing guidance set out by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as local authorities, on safe reopening plans and procedures. Here you’ll want to provide specifics on what you will be doing to ensure safety, such as setting up cubicles at least 6 feet apart, maintaining safe social distancing during board meetings and other events where folks will congregate, and having a strong sick-leave policy that truly allows employees to stay home until it is clear that they do not have Covid. In addition to your protocols, your new hire will want to hear how you plan to enforce these rules and how committed you truly are to ensuring their safety.
What does your onboarding process look like?
In a recent Abel HR blog post, we discussed how to orient your new employees to your business when they don’t have the opportunity to set foot inside the building or meet their coworkers face to face! Obviously, workers have myriad concerns about getting a handle on the company culture and general vibe of your office and their staff, so you’ll want to be able to share the details of your virtual onboarding process. Let your new candidates know how you will be introducing them to your company, including how long they’ll be on orientation, what equipment they will be provided, what support they will have while acclimating to their new role, and how you will ensure their smooth introduction into the fold.
What lessons has your company learned from the pandemic?
If you are in a position to hire new staff, you’ve clearly triumphed over the pandemic and some companies (such as home gym purveyors) have outright benefited! Rather than tout your success, what most candidates are looking for are what changes you have put in place post-pandemic to either guarantee or ensure the longevity of your company or simply make it easier for you to function when folks can’t physically be in the office. Talk about how you’ve ramped up your remote work capabilities, digitized some of your processes, altered your work processes, or otherwise risen to the challenge!