5 Tips & Tricks on How to Run a Recruitment Process During Corona Lockdown

As if hiring great candidates for startups wasn’t tricky enough to begin with, everything just got even more difficult.

Before we get started on how to keep your recruitment process(es) running smoothly despite the Coronavirus, first things first – let’s treat each other with respect, and let’s follow official instructions and guidance. 

That means:

  • No hoarding
  • Work from home if you can
  • Respect that others might be more vulnerable than yourself and act accordingly
  • Respect no go zones and stop unnecessary traveling #coronavacation
  • Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer (but please don’t steal the ones from the office)

We will get through this together!

Now that we got that out of the way let’s get started on how to salvage your recruitment processes and keep things moving.

As a recruitment agency working with startups and scaleups, we face a multitude of challenges:

  • Roughly 50 % of the candidates we talk to would need to relocate internationally for the role in question, and as part of that we always schedule an onsite interview – not as easy as it sounds, when flights get canceled (like ALL European flights to the US, except for the UK), and people want to avoid the potential danger of getting affected at the airport, on the plane or in public transport.
  • Even if the candidate is local, we as humans often prefer to meet the people, who we would be spending ⅓ or more of our lives with – also not easy when the office is closed down, with staff working remotely.
  • In a crisis of focus tends to gravitate towards the more essential things in life (as it should), making it sometimes difficult to keep everybody focused and on track.

Here are our 5 recommendations for keeping your recruitment process on track during a Corona lockdown:

  1. Be creative 

Most companies have a specific recruitment process they tend to follow. That is incredibly smart and the right thing to do – except for when it isn’t. Instead of following a rigid process, try to be creative. Could you do a remote code challenge instead of an onsite code challenge? Could you add an extra video call before bringing someone onsite? Could you align on compensation, forward contract template, etc. in the middle of the process, instead of waiting till the end? Take references? Move things around in a different way? 

   2. Plan ahead

Usually, each step of the recruitment process is planned individually—first, an initial call, then onsite, then a personality test, etc. A way to plan ahead would be to schedule tentative interviews, so a proper plan has been laid out, and everyone is aligned on a common goal – the final onsite in exactly 17 days (when Denmark would be out of the Corona lockdown).

   3. Prioritize

Let’s be honest. Regardless of what we do, in a time like this, we won’t succeed in everything, and therefore it’s essential to prioritize. We know that can be tough, especially when you have different stakeholders and/or clients, all expecting you to focus on their needs – but the key to succeeding in something is to prioritize your efforts. Which are the most critical roles right now for your company? Is it the VP of Sales building your sales team? Customer success to consolidate your expansion with enterprise clients? The engineering team? Speak to your stakeholders, be respectful – but also honest and direct, and prioritize.

  4. Be flexible

If your candidates can’t meet in person? Do a Zoom call. Candidates not available during the day because schools are closed down? Do a late/early call instead. Is it more comfortable for candidates to do the code challenge/case presentation this week? Plan around it and be flexible + creative.

  5. Be empathic

Again – you probably won’t succeed in everything, regardless of how much you try. If you after being creative, flexible, the true master of prioritization and planning, and still can’t make ends meet with a candidate, be understanding and empathic. If their partner has a weak immune system, if they have older relatives in a nursing home, if their children are scared and confused, do them the courtesy of postponing interviews and meetups so that they can focus on their family. 

For more on Recruiting and Hiring best practices please see:

How to Hire Startup Talent: Recruitment Process