Covid-19, lockdown and interviews: no-go areas for recruiters
As we ease out of lockdown measures, many recruiters will be eager to ask interview questions about how candidates spent their time over the last few months. We all have good intentions and want to find out if the candidate in front of us is proactive, eager to learn and technically skilled. But consider avoiding the big how did you spend your time question. Here is why.
Why Covid questions should be avoided
As a recruiter it is easy to get caught up in the fast-paced world of employment. For some people, this is a luxury they could not even imagine.
Many people have been affected by Covid-19 in ways unimaginable. It has been a hard time for everyone, yes – but for some it has been a nightmare. Comparing how applicants spent their lockdown time is fruitless because everyone’s circumstances have ranged wildly.
Some people have lost their close family, job, home, fallen terribly ill, or been stricken by serious mental health issues. For some simply waking up and getting dressed every day has been their biggest achievement: and that’s okay.
So when you’re conducting an interview and you ask questions about how candidates spent lockdown, their reactions and answers can range hugely. The only thing you will glean from their answers is if they’re lucky enough to have suffered less than others.
This topic was brought to my attention in a fantastic LinkedIn post by Suzanne Collier – so do have a read if you would like to know more.
How to treat recruitment post-pandemic
There are a few things that have changed when it comes to recruitment. There are still the classic questions you have to avoid, but we would like to add some more things to this list. We know that you are an empathetic interviewer, but these things are incredibly important for everyone to know.
1 – Ignore employment gaps
If someone has suffered long-term unemployment during 2020, consider leaving it unmentioned. We all know the job market is insanely competitive right now, so please remember to go easy on your candidates.
2 – Ignore furloughed periods
This is an obvious one, but whether the candidate was furloughed or not is best left unmentioned. As you know, it is the decision of their employer whether they stayed working or not. It is not an indicator of their work ethic or skills, it is purely a financial decision that was made by their management.
3 – Avoid what did you do during lockdown questions
As we’ve mentioned, this question can be tricky. It can trigger an emotional response and simply applying to jobs in this time is an achievement in itself.
This pandemic has been a new and terrible experience for everyone. How we react in a crisis is not how we act in the workplace.
4 – Try to avoid comparison
If someone has an amazing CV full of voluntary work and upskilling undertaken during the pandemic, try not to see this as inherently better than the CV without recent developments.
Of course if the new skills and experiences make them perfect for the role, it’s clear they are a fantastic candidate. But the candidate that has taken no courses or roles on in the last few months shouldn’t be at a disadvantage for suffering in a pandemic.
At DigitalGrads we offer a fair recruitment service. If you’re looking for your next highly skilled junior, sign up to our platform and begin advertising today.