How Is Work from Home Affecting Hiring?

By Michael Klazema on 7/1/2020

The further we get into the COVID-19 pandemic, the less the work-from-home model appears to be a strictly temporary measure.

At first, when businesses started closing their offices, sending workers home, and adopting tools such as Zoom and Slack to keep their teams connected, remote work measures were stopgap solutions. They were strategies implemented to keep businesses operating while observing social distancing and helping to flatten the curve. Today, it appears that the pandemic and the resulting work-from-home model will reshape hiring and the concept of work permanently.

Many businesses are in no rush to get back to the office. The workforce is closely watching significant employers in the United States—particularly the tech giants Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and Microsoft— to see how titanic companies with many employees and even more influence will handle the shift. The examples that these corporations are setting now could prove to be extremely influential on the future of work, and all five have adopted permanent or semi-permanent work-from-home policies.

Google and Facebook have informed many workers that they should plan to continue working remotely through at least the end of the year. Microsoft and Amazon won’t bring most office staff back until October at the earliest. Twitter is planning to let most of its employees work from home forever. As these five companies embrace remote work for the long-term, they could influence other businesses to do the same.

Most workers embrace this shift. In a recent CNBC workforce survey of industries such as advertising and marketing, consulting and research, finance and financial services, insurance, and legal, most workers said that they would want to work from home either “all the time” or “more often than [they] used to” once things return to normal.

What do these changes mean for hiring? First, many more employers will likely be looking to fill remote or telecommuting positions, and second, interviews, training, and onboarding will go virtual as well. Employers will need to learn how these changes affect their hiring approaches. For instance, when filling positions, hiring managers may emphasize certain soft skills (such as comfort with technology, clear self-motivation, and strong communication abilities) more than they did before the pandemic. These skills have always been valuable, but they will be crucial for ongoing remote work.

Businesses should think about investing in quality apps or programs for video interviews, applicant tracking, online skills testing, and other hiring facets. These technologies can help iron out some of the pain points that commonly arise when in-person interviews aren’t possible.

Finally, businesses hiring WFH employees cannot forget background checks. While the future of hiring looks different, vetting new hires thoroughly for criminal historyresume accuracy, and other background details will remain important due diligence for all employers.

Contact today if you need help designing an effective employee screening strategy for your newly-revamped hiring approach.

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