How hiring managers can conduct safer job interviews

The Covid-19 pandemic and news about crimes against businesses have put many employers on edge when it comes to their safety. While often thought of as an innocuous activity, most job interviews are essentially two strangers talking to each other. Neither the applicant nor the hiring manager necessarily know each other all that well, which means safety precautions have to be taken for health and security reasons. This point may be especially important for smaller businesses that can’t afford good health insurance and full-time security onsite.

If you’re a small business owner or hiring manager who’s especially concerned about your health and safety during job interviews, here are a few steps you can take:


1. Sanitize your hands before and after face-to-face interviews.

While pandemics like Covid-19 do not come around very often, localized epidemics of diseases that are transmitted through touch are a constant threat. The common cold, influenza, conjunctivitis, herpes simplex, measles, mononucleosis, and chickenpox are all ever-present in unsanitized environments.

While these illnesses may not necessarily be as deadly or as easily transmissible as Covid-19, they still present a serious risk to yourself and the community at large. This makes it extremely important that you use hand sanitizer or wash your hands before and after contact with applicants or other people you don’t know.


2. Use apps such as Zoom or Skype for initial interviews when possible.

These days, there is no real reason to conduct initial job interviews in person. Initial screenings should be done over the phone, or through video calling apps such as Skype and Zoom. This will not only help you avoid physical contact with strangers, but these methods can be far more efficient, allowing you to screen more applicants in a given time. Once you have narrowed down your applicant pool, you can then consider calling in people for a face-to-face follow-up interview.


3. Always offer hand sanitizer to applicants and visitors.

Most applicants and visitors to your workplace will highly appreciate it, especially now that more people are sensitive to the need for proper hygiene and sanitation. Of course, this will also benefit you and other people working in your workplace as well.


4. Always hold face-to-face interviews in a secure place.

These next items have less to do with health and more to do with the realities of doing business in the Philippines. Smaller businesses that lack access to purpose-built office spaces may resort to interviewing applicants at cafes and restaurants. While mostly safe, these may not be the ideal places, at least compared to your own office, surrounded by people you know.

If you have to conduct face-to-face interviews outside the workplace, the venue must be secure and within view of a security guard or CCTV cameras for the safety and assurance of both the interviewer and applicant. Never hold interviews alone in hotel rooms or other venues where you may not be able to call for immediate assistance, should something untoward happen.


5. Make sure someone from works knows where you are and what you’re doing.

Wherever you choose to conduct the interview, you must not be the only one in the business who knows that it’s happening. Be sure to inform someone else at your workplace your intentions so that they can immediately call for help should something irregular occur.


6. Require an NBI clearance.

A PNP (Philippine National Police) or NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) clearance can be a quick way to quickly find out if a candidate has had a recent criminal history. This can help you be more selective when it comes to the candidates you do choose to interview.


7. Check their social media accounts beforehand for red flags.

It has become a standard practice for employers to check out the Facebook, Twitter, and IG accounts of applicants to check for possible open drug use or gang membership. It is ultimately the hiring manager’s or business owner’s choice if they want to proceed with an interview if there is evidence of either. While neither of those factors will necessarily mean that a candidate will be a bad one, this can help hiring/HR managers in adjusting their interview style and questions, if needed.

Keeping safe and healthy should always be your priority. If there’s one thing that the Covid-19 should teach us, it’s that while preventative measures can be a hassle, they’re well worth it to prevent serious risks to our safety.

What other things can employers do to keep themselves protected during interviews? Do you have any stories of anything weird happening during these times? Tell us your experiences through the comments feature of this article’s FB post.

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