While this winter hasn't dumped much snow on the ground, that could be changing very soon. Nemo isn't just a cartoon fish in Disney's Finding Nemo anymore, it's also the name of a huge winter storm bearing down on the East Coast. This could very well present an issue for your hiring efforts.
Unless your company is located in a sunny local, the winter months can be a minefield when it comes to hiring great people. You never know when the next Nemo will find its way to your area. These winter storms can push back interviews with great candidates, delay your hiring efforts, and put you behind when it comes to onboarding new team members.
The winter weather can also make communication with candidates tricky. Should you cancel a scheduled interview as soon as the weather channel tells you to beware or should you wait to see if flurries really piled up? Or should you let the candidate decide whether they want to brave the elements to get to your office?
Here are some simple tips for surviving the stormy winter months while still hiring the talent your company needs for a sunny future:
Keep the lines of communication with your candidates open
If a big storm like Nemo "just keeps swimming" toward your area, don't wait for it to hit to consider what you'll do in the worst case scenario. Hopefully, you've found a lot of top-tier talent in your search to fill your open position. If you leave these talented candidates hanging, you'll leave them with a worse impression of your company and the way your organization treats employees.
Candidate experience is important. You might not be able to hire all the talent you'll meet in the interview stage, but treating candidates with respect can turn these interested applicants into brand ambassadors. If you think there's a possibility you'll have to cancel and reschedule a big interview, be upfront about it. Keep your lines of communication open with candidates who would need to brave the elements to make it in for the interview. Keep these candidates apprised of your company's situation, whether it's cancelling an interview or your office closing for the day.
Don't make candidates who choose not to wade out into the snow feel like they've ruined their chances. If it's a dusting, this might be cause for concern over whether they'll be calling out as an employee every time it precipitates . But if it's a bad storm, it's better to have a candidate cancel on you early and be honest than cancel at the last minute. By being reasonable, you show your company is more interested in the safety of your employees than the bottom line.
Don't waste time
Are there other facets of the hiring process you usually put a candidate through before extending a final offer? Maybe right now is the best time to take care of these extra tasks. You could use the snowbound opportunity to check references or look up a candidate's Internet presence.
Many companies require candidates to take some form of test before being offered the job. These can range from coding tests for developers, to writing tests, to personality tests to ensure candidates will fit into the company culture. Many of these tests are given after an interview, but if you need to reschedule and don't want to lose time in your hiring process, maybe now is the time to move this part along.
Utilize video interviews to connect
Unable to get into the office for an in-person meeting? Who cares! With the rise of online video interviewing technology, employers and job seekers can still connect even when the snow is piling up outside. This might explain why six out of 10 employers are currently using video interviews in their hiring process. Video interviewing might actually be your best bet when the winter makes travel treacherous.
If you want to recapture a bit of that face-to-face interview magic, you can use a live video interview to talk to your candidate in real-time. It will be much like the candidate is sitting across the desk from you, only no one had to scrape ice from a car window.
If you don't have a lot of time or the interview is more preliminary, you might want to consider a one-way virtual interview. In a one-way interview, you pose written questions to the candidate that they answer on film. The candidate can record their video interview answers whenever is most convenient for their packed schedules, and you can view these video responses in your breaks between shoveling snow.
Winter weather can put a real wrench in your hiring process. So use these three simple tips in order to avoid wasting time and losing great candidates.
What are some ways you deal with winter weather when hiring? Share in the comments!
Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video powered hiring network that connects job seekers and employers through video resumes and online interviews. Connect with him and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.