The Socially Distanced Recruitment Process

Posted on 05.13.2020

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, some hiring has been paused — but not all.

In fact, some businesses have seen a rise in e-commerce demand or maintained business enough to continue with regular hiring practices.

However, as we’ve seen so far, the new normal is far from normal — and that includes the recruitment process.

For hiring managers, recruitment needs to be done safely and at a distance. Public health experts recommend maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet at all times and, if possible, avoiding public spaces (such as an office) unless absolutely essential. This could include:

  • Only accepting applications electronically.
  • Working from home or remotely.
  • Conducting interviews over video conferencing.
  • Hiring candidates to work from home — without having an in-person meeting.
  • And more.

As a result, just as the workforce is adapting, the recruitment process needs to adjust, too. Here are some of the top tools for the socially distanced recruitment process:

  • Applicant Tracking System with Integrations
  • Video Conferencing Solution for Interviews
  • Pre-Employment Screenings

Online or electronic applications are not new — however, what may be new is that during the COVID-19 pandemic they may be the only way that applicants can submit resumés and human resources departments could be spread out remotely.

This means that you need to ensure your online application process is operating and that it is organized for remote access. Ideally, it should also have multiple points of access (vs. being bottlenecked through one person) in case the person in charge gets sick.

An applicant tracking system (ATS) can help with both of these items, and that’s not all. With the right integrations, it also offers your organization capabilities beyond, including:

  • Following up with candidates efficiently.
  • Interview scheduling.
  • You can even integrate your pre-employment screening process.

An ATS is more reliable and less prone to human error than an Excel spreadsheet or a shared Google document.

If you are hosting a virtual career fair or hiring for multiple positions, an ATS is a great way to keep your hiring process organized and operating effectively throughout the pandemic.

Tip: Make sure your pre-employment screening process is integrated.

One of the biggest challenges of moving to digital recruitment is, of course, the interview.

There are logistical concerns to virtual interviewing — such as scheduling and making sure everyone has access to the software you use — and there are also operational concerns. Can you judge a candidate’s skills or potential without meeting them in person?

We’ll address the logistical challenges first, and then the operational.

As previously mentioned, an applicant tracking system can significantly help avoid scheduling issues as many systems offer the ability to schedule interviews from the interface.

If you do not have an ATS, there are other online tools you may look to — such as a Doodle poll, which allows invitees to select times that work best for them.

The more people involved in the interviewing process, the more onerous the scheduling will be. If possible, consider paring down the interviewers and providing a recording to other stakeholders after the event (while being transparent to candidates about this fact, of course).

You also might consider a pre-interview screening with only one person to narrow down candidates before moving to the video interview.

For software purposes, several popular choices have been adopted across the industry, including:

  • Zoom
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Skype
  • Specific video interview software, such as HireVue

The choice that you make may depend on what software your organization already employs (such as Microsoft or HireVue subscription) and the amount of hiring you intend to do.

Tip: Before an interview, test out the connection with all of the interviewers to ensure that you don’t run into technical difficulties during the interview itself. And if candidates encounter technical issues, don’t hold it against them.

As mentioned, the logistical aspect of a remote hiring process is only one side of the coin. On the other side is the operational — how can you ensure you are hiring the best candidates for the position, particularly if you are used to meeting applicants in-person or they are starting the position remotely?

You might rely on:

  • Skills assessment
  • Interviewing for attitude and communication abilities
  • Leaning into pre-employment screenings

Let’s look at each one.

Skills Assessment

As interviews are conducted virtually, you may find it harder to gauge a candidate’s technical ability as it relates to the job. Skills assessments have been rising in popularity in recent years and, if this is a concern for you, it could be a valuable tool for your hiring process.

Think about what skills are truly essential for this role and what can be taught or learned on the job. For example, a web programmer candidate could be asked to provide a sample page of coding. A customer service representative candidate could be asked to partake in a mock customer call.

Interviewing for Soft Skills

Increasingly, “softer” skills — such as attitude, empathy, and communication abilities — are becoming more important for the workplace. These were noted on the LinkedIn Emerging Jobs Report for 2020.

While these skills aren’t always obvious on a resumé, they can be gauged during an interview or during the pre-employment screening. Especially as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, a candidate’s ability to be adaptable and maintain work ethic while working remotely will likely be important to their success.

Pre-Employment Screening

While pre-employment screenings are always an important part of the hiring process, that becomes even truer when hiring remotely. Certain parts of the screening — such as employment reference checks — can offer you additional insights into your candidates.

Educational and employment history checks will help ensure that candidates are being honest, which is crucial when working remotely. This will also help verify a candidate has essential credentials for the position — such as a professional license.

Tip: Pre-employment screenings are easy to integrate remotely through background check providers, such as Triton Canada. With our services, it is simple to scale your hiring process and add screenings as necessary.

The socially distanced recruitment process may be different, but you can adapt — and Triton Canada is here to help.

Our pre-employment screenings are conducted 100% remotely and integrate with ATS systems.

Learn more today by calling 1-844-874-8667 or visiting

What are your top recruiting challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic? Let us know on social media. Triton Canada is on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.