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At school we’re all taught of the importance of checking your work when taking tests to avoid making unnecessary mistakes. My advice today follows a similar theme, and no doubt for many this will fall into the category of stating the bleedin’ obvious! However, the decision to hire is normally quite an emotive one for those most directly affected – be it optimism to realise your company/departmental ambitions, or relief to bring in additional resource to help with unmanageable workloads. Either way, there’s a great temptation to think let’s get this new person in before anyone changes their mind!

The advice I am giving here is simply one to encourage pause for thought to any company or hiring manager about to embark on a new hiring process, or continue with one already underway. Not only could this save you a great deal of time and frustration, but it could also be the fairest thing to do for those looking at new roles at this time….no one needs any more unnecessary disruption under these unnerving times.

Every business will need to make its own judgements, but here are five suggestions I’d make to those potentially thinking of making an external hire at the moment.

1. Check the requisition to hire is still valid

Those in Talent Acquisition teams should be speaking to the hiring manager, who in turn should be checking with the person who signed off on the recruitment requisition – to confirm the validity still applies. There is nothing worse than reaching the end of a process, only to find the contract isn’t going to be signed off. Decisions will be changing everywhere…..the world is suddenly a different place so you can’t take for granted that a decision made even a week ago, is still the most sensible course of action

2. Check the validity of a decision to hire!

As someone who’s already had to take the disappointing step to hold fire on my plans to hire to my business, I think it’s incumbent on anyone seeking to hire at this time to make sure they’ve really done their due diligence. Not only do you need to protect your own business interests, but you should also be thinking of the person you may hire’s interests. They may be giving up a secure income to join your company, and if you’ve failed to plan ahead with complete rigour on the implications of hiring that person, and sticking with them through tumultuous times, then you could be putting that person under unfair risk and undue stress. Think through the worst case scenarios.

3. Check it’s going to be practical to manage an assessment process

The wonders of video technology should equip most businesses with the ability to continue to assess people without too much concern. But with the ever changing status on those working in the office, expectations of increasing numbers of people going into self-isolation, expected restrictions on public transport, you need to make sure the contingent plans are in place to see a recruitment process through. Will it be necessary at some point for people to meet in person, or even on office premises? Will those you want to meet have access to technology to conduct the assessments you’d normally employ? Are all the interviewers going to be available when you need them to be? Are you happy making a hire when you may not physically meet in person? This will be new to many, but it’s highly likely this is the judgements you’ll have to make. In essence – make sure you’ve laid the plans to see the process through to the very end.

4. Is a start date in the near future even going to work?

This is an important point. If everyone is working from home in your company for an indeterminate period of time, there will be real practical obstacles to on-boarding a new starter. Who’ll check the passport to confirm they’re legally allowed to work in the country? How is the induction going to take place? Who’s going to train them and provide appropriate equipment and guidance? Tech can solve many things, but bedding in a new starter is a key thing to get right, so do you want to do this on the hoof?

5. Do you really need to make this hire now?

Whilst I’d be the first to advocate the benefits of making a great hire, there is a time and a place to ensure this works out for all. I would encourage hiring managers to consider all the options. Perhaps a short term cover if it’s absolutely required. Look at the internal options, for whom the circumstances will also be changing by the day no doubt. Which carries the most business risk – delaying the hire or making a mistake with the hire.

There are going to be lots of recruiters busily stressing the opportunities of hiring at this time, such as the good old phrase to ‘get ahead of the competition’, and desperately trying to blow some impetus to the recruitment market. It’s not in my business’ interests to see a marked down turn in the recruitment market, quite the opposite, but wearing my business owner and in-house recruitment advisory hats, I think this is a time for prudence, rational thinking and consideration to others. Rushing something through without proper diligence, and keeping busy, may leave the hiring manger (and recruitment consultant!) with a short term feeling of satisfaction, but if it goes south it’s the person who’s taken the job who’s most likely to be in strife.

Of course, there will still be cases where the hire remains essential, and for that we at The Highfield Partnership are naturally willing to help! It’s not all doom and gloom, as we still know plenty of high quality HR & Business Transformation professionals who are ready (and very, very eager) for their next role. Additionally those in roles may find life a bit easier to have career discussions when working from home. There are even some businesses that are prospering in this climate….I spoke to a telco yesterday who’s primary trade is to enable remote working, so they’re naturally getting lots of new enquiries. If you are going to continue with hiring plans try to be more patient and flexible in the process, and above all be open and communicative with all parties concerned.

At The Highfield Partnership we’re long term advocates of remote, agile working, so will be continuing business as usual……albeit I will admit the prospect of my children trying to manufacture a panel interview situation may surface on occasion, as and when we’re all house bound!

If you’d like to discuss any of the above or offer additional constructive tips, please feel free to comment on this post, or get in touch with me on

Remember what your teachers told you!