Hiring in the Age of Covid

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Despite the uncertainties in some sectors of the economy during 2020/ 2021, both replacing staff and growing the team has been necessary for many of us over the last year. What is considered best practice in our recruitment these days? What should we avoid and what must we remember?

Rest assured, the principles of good recruitment remain the same – don’t be in a rush and hire the first person with a pulse. Follow good processes including consistent interview questions (yes, prepare these), lean on useful tools like a specific job description and a well considered person specification, and ring those referees with some probing questions.

Hire slowly and fire fast

(but always with correct processes) 

Are you free to ask about vaccination status at the interview? YES – but do this conversationally to get a sense of someone’s attitude toward health and social responsibility rather than simply ticking a box. Recognise that there is likely to be a long journey of boosters and variants in the next few years. We are not out of the woods yet.

Include a vaccination policy in your onboarding documents. Ideally have a handbook of policies to supply during induction. Your policy should refer to your vaccination requirements and reference your risk assessments also. Are you prepared to facilitate vaccinations and boosters with time? Transport? Expenses? Do you have any incentives? Will you allow for exemptions, and if so, what will that look like?

Detail your record keeping requirements and consider the consequences of non-compliance with your policy. Do not talk about suspending or dismissing if you do not know how to take those actions lawfully and carefully.

With all of this red tape and unknowns, it could feel doubly attractive to engage an independent contractor rather than an employee. Document this arrangement fully and set a reminder for yourself for a few months down the track to re-evaluate if it really is an independent contractor relationship.

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