Recruitment and the impact of Coronavirus
Sandra Smart, Octopus Personnel Director, outlines our approach to limiting risk from Coronavirus for candidates and clients during recruitment, and how we are currently adapting our business model.
At Octopus Personnel, we take the care of our candidates and clients very seriously and are taking a government guided common sense approach to preventing the spread of infection whilst continuing to operate as an effective business. This will be updated and changed in line with changes in Government advice as they arise.
Responsible Risk Management
Advice for employers from the Government can be read here. Following our own internal risk assessment in line with this advice and advice from Public Health England (PHE), we have decided to enable the team to work remotely. At home, they are still taking the following measures to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19):
- Covering mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not hands) should they cough or sneeze. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
- Put used tissues in the bin straight away
- Washing hands with soap and water often – see hand washing guidance
- Avoiding contact with people who are unwell and providing all candidates with the government guidance about when to self-isolate
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, including desks, kitchens and toilets
- Trying to avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth if hands are not clean
Advice to Clients and Candidates about Temporary Working and Coronavirus
We have provided all our candidates currently working with guidance on prevention of transmission of Coronavirus, when to self-isolate and where to seek further information when needed.
We have contacted all our clients to establish if they have deployed any new Health & Safety measures in their workplaces related to Coronavirus (COVID 19) to safeguard employees and businesses to ensure all our candidates are fully briefed before assignment and following all procedures.
We are keeping abreast of Government guidance, which is updated daily at 2 p.m. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
We have also used the useful information for employers provided by ACAS: https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus.
Changes to the interview process
Some clients have asked us if they should be utilising Skype and video conferencing for interviews moving forward, instead of meeting with candidates at their offices.
Skype interviews often allow candidates to fit the interview into their schedule much quicker, as they can be conducted within lunchtimes or before or straight after work. Whilst Skype is a fantastic tool and undoubtedly the next best thing to meeting with candidates in person, it does still leave a small disconnect. A candidate doesn’t have the same experience of the business, the culture or the people, which means it’s harder for them to be so invested in the process, not having seen the building, or explored the vibe of the team, or imagining how they might fit in.
So if you are interviewing via Skype, you need to be a little bit creative. Perhaps allow a second round of interviews where the team dial in for a chat? Do you have site video candidates could watch? Do you have a company blog? Any good candidate will already have researched what is available online, but you might be able to flesh out more of the details of the company ethos whilst you talk, and use the examples they have seen to illustrate your points.
Will we continue to interview candidates?
Our business model has always included meeting candidates face to face, but in line with the changes in governmental advice, we are moving to utilise Skype, Zoom and Facetime to enable us to interview candidates online. All our systems are up and running and we are able to offer the same robust, indepth service we always have. In order to continue to really understand our candidates and what makes them tick, we use the same methods to interview them comprehensively so we can ensure the best fit for client and candidate, whilst protecting the health of all.
What will happen if the Government’s advice about Coronavirus changes?
We are confident that we can continue to provide an excellent standard of service throughout this challenging period and we are here to offer our clients and candidates the best possible support. Preparations have been made to enable the business to continue to function effectively and the whole team are now working remotely. This transition should be seamless, but we ask you to bear with us for any short term disruption. In the short term, face to face meetings will no longer take place. Head office in Gillingham is now closed. However, we are fully equipped for conference calls through Zoom and Skype and other modes of online communication. The telephones lines and emails are working and we plan to continue to operate our service as close to normal as we can possibly can achieve.
We continue to follow the daily briefings from the government and will update this information as we know more.
Where can I access more information?
Advice from the Government to Employer, Employees and Business can be read here:
Advice from the NHS on when to self-isolate is here:
Advice on travel and returning from travel is here:
We are here to help!
At Octopus Personnel, we are experts at presenting our candidates to ensure the employer is able to see all the skills and experience you are bringing to a role. Years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role or to the right employee who will drive your business forward. You can sign up here and call the office on 01747 825568 to arrange an interview.
If you do have further concerns about the interview process or working through Octopus Personnel during the Coronavirus (COVID-19 outbreak, please do contact the office on 01747 825568 and we will support you in finding further information or support.
Last Updated 18th March 2020