One Retailer is Hiring Amid COVID-19, and Hiring FAST. Here’s How.
Millions of jobs have been lost over the past few weeks as businesses have closed and consumers are staying home. Yet some companies are still hiring. In fact, quite a few are. And one segment now facing urgent hiring needs is grocery stores.
Deemed essential businesses everywhere, grocery stores are suddenly very popular — and they employ a lot of people, from store clerks, to parking lot attendants, to butcher, seafood and deli counter workers. Grocery stores have even changed their hours to provide additional time to restock the shelves, with Walmart being one example, according to CNBC.
And Walmart is hiring 150,000 new employees by the end of May, according to CNN, in part to take advantage of that need for rapid restocking. The same CNN story notes that Amazon.com wants to fill 100,000 positions. Other recognizable destinations that sell food and grocery items, such as Albertsons, Kroger, and 7-Eleven, are also hiring .
Why Retailers, Grocery Stores and Hospitals Are Turning to Virtual Interviewing
Recent data based on customer usage of HireVue’s online interview and assessment platform shows the industries that have ramped up their hiring efforts. Virtual interviewing within the grocery industry is up 450 percent recently in order to address safety and security while filling now critical logistics, distribution center, stocking, and in-store personnel roles. In another heavily impacted industry, healthcare virtual interviewing is up 345 percent, with more than 38 percent of candidates interviewing outside of normal business hours for patient advocate, specialist, nurse and therapist roles.
Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) organizations, many of which employ recruiters now working from home to fill the rapid staffing needs of giants such as Walmart, are also using on-demand virtual interviews. Importantly, about 65 percent of hourly workers apply for jobs via a mobile device, and 41 percent of interviews for hourly workers are completed after normal business hours.
How Virtual Interviewing Helped Hire Thousands in One Day
One leading grocery chain in the southern U.S. demonstrates the extent to which these organizations are going today to find and hire talent. And in the process, this grocer is innovating best practices that may become industry standards once the virus threat is gone.
This grocer needed to hire fast, and that’s why hiring managers looked to new ways to find and interview candidates. The company conducted thousands of virtual, on-demand interviews — as many as 15,000 per day. And while speed necessitated the process, other best practices are good lessons.
First, the interviews were conducted on demand at the candidate's convenience, freeing up recruiters. This prevented recruiters and hiring managers from being exposed to COVID-19 during a face-to-face interview process. However, it also meant the grocer could interview candidates not located immediately around the store in question. It enabled the candidates to pick their own schedules for conducting the interviews. Additional members of the hiring team could also review recordings of the candidate interviews on their own schedules, too. This anywhere/anytime flexibility is key to finding the right candidates in any hiring situation.
Second, the interview was structured so it could to accomplish multiple goals at one time. By asking a “triage” question aimed at establishing which candidates could be at risk for the virus (e.g., Have you traveled outside of the country within the last eight weeks?) along with job-relevant questions in both Spanish and English (some pre-recorded video questions and some multiple-choice question), the recruiting team gained valuable information about candidates’ job skills, availability, salary expectations and even their recent travel outside the country. Doing this in a single step has significantly accelerated the hiring process.
Third, interviewees could re-take the recorded or “on demand” interview if they weren't happy with their first attempts. This somewhat forgiving approach to conducting interviews provides comfort to the interviewee, and assures the interviewer that they're receiving the candidate’s best answers.
For candidates using virtual interviews, the best advice is to act naturally. Furthermore, realize that the virtual interview, while necessitated by the urgency of the hiring need, provides advantages to both the candidate and the employer. The flexibility of the approach, and its potential to mitigate bias in the interview and evolution process, is a fortunate development that one hopes will outlive the coronavirus.
Kevin Parker is the chairman and CEO of HireVue, which offers online video interviewing software and pre-employment assessments platform that uses AI and validated IO psychology to get you the best talent, faster.
Related story: How 3 Resilient Retailers Adapt to Change During COVID-19