June 26, 2020

Career Advice

Dating (and Interviewing and Hiring) During Lockdown

By: Katelynn Barbosa

Back in my 20s, I did my fair share of online dating. I remember those days of sending my favorite Hayek quotes to men that looked interesting and getting excited when they would send the perfect Adam Smith quote back. That response would deem a guy sarcastic enough to warrant further exploration, and if he really seemed worth the effort, I might set up a phone call to talk about how to resolve state budget pensions crises. And if we enjoyed the conversation enough, we might meet in person to talk about the benefits of free markets in medicine. You know…typical early dating stuff.

But I could never really tell if I clicked with someone until I met him in person. In-person is where the rubber met the road. In-person is where I really got a sense for our rapport, the energy the guy was giving off, and whether we might be a fit for the long-term. Unfortunately for all the single men out there just itching for a girl who is into Bastiat, I am no longer on the market. But I can’t help but think of what it must be like for single people trying to date and − you knew this was coming−  organizations trying to hire when we’re on lockdown.

The good news is that it is possible to interview, find your perfect match, and hire in the middle of a pandemic! I know because several of our clients have recently done it. Here are some lessons we have learned through their experiences:

Organizations are conducting in-person interviews and have found a way to do it in a socially distanced fashion.
One of our clients recently made a hire after posting the job at the beginning of April when lockdowns were in full effect, conducting preliminary interviews virtually, and then conducting the final interview in person. (This client is located in a state where their business was deemed exempt from stay at home orders so employees were legally permitted to work in the office.) The candidate volunteered to come in to the office for the final interview, everyone sat in the large conference room where people were able to maintain distance from each other, and each individual decided for themselves what their comfort level was with shaking hands versus bumping elbows versus dispensing with a physical greeting altogether.

Our client summed it up perfectly by saying, “My advice to other organizations is the same advice that I have for the government : you have a nation full of grown-ups. Their individual judgment should be trusted more than government oversight.”

Meanwhile, two other clients have arranged outdoor interviews in the organizations’ office courtyards. Talk about interviewing entrepreneurialism!

Some organizations have liked virtual interviews so much that they do not plan on returning to in-person interviews in the future.
Another client posted a job in early March, just before the lockdowns were implemented, conducted fully virtual interviews, and recently hired two candidates based on that one job search without meeting either of them in person. They simply replaced their final in-person panel interview with a Zoom interview with everyone who would have been on the in-person panel. Our client commented, “I didn’t really see any significant change, and frankly I’d be surprised if we went back to flying candidates out here.”

Virtual interviews may be all some organizations need for virtual hires.
One of our clients posted a job in early March, before lockdowns were implemented, conducted fully virtual interviews, and hired a candidate without ever meeting them in person. That hire has been working successfully for them for over a month and the team has still not met them in person yet. The organization said of the experience, “Since we interviewed the candidate understanding they would be a remote employee, it was an unexpected benefit that the interviews were remote rather than in person. This allowed us to sense how the candidate could connect with us via video and email – the primary tools they’d use as a remote staff member.”

We hope these stories help your organization as you decide how to interview in the COVID era. If you are looking to hire and need guidance on how to interview and conduct your hiring in these strange times, Talent Market is just an email away! And if you’re looking for dating advice, we are happy to provide that too!