Hiring with Intent – Even in a Pandemic

Nov 1, 2020 | Industry

Creating a successful system to make sure you hire right.

By Jen Wilson

Looking for employees in the time of COVID-19 is not that much different than looking for candidates during “normal” times. As an owner of a virtual company that has always relied on remote staff, there are several things I prepare for when looking to bring members into my team.

They include but are not limited to the following:

• Job Posting

• Job Description

• Expectations

• Schedule

• Personality

• Team Contribution

• Culture Fit

Now each of the above topics could be their own piece separately but I’m going to approach this on a bit of a high-level on my process and if you find that aspects appeal to you I say jump in and go for it; is it going to hurt to add in something new?

Job Posting 101

To begin, the job posting is in relation to a need you and/or your company has due to growth, employee turnover and business direction. There are times we can take for granted replacing people for repetitive roles but that doesn’t mean we always get the best candidates as we use the same posting, interview questions and screening process that we feel is “tried and true” for our needs.

For my job postings, I list out what I expect them to do and their role in the company. Will there be extra tasks to complete? Something that separates them from the rest of the crew? Or perhaps this is a new role where there are defined expectations?

These are valuable as you can get 1001 people to apply to a job but then screening takes far longer to find the small group of genuinely qualified candidates. Start with your essential needs up front; simply getting more people to apply and then spending time to pair it down is not beneficial to any manager or productivity.

It’s All in the Details

When you build out your job posting I tend to include the following areas: Description of what your company is looking for in a candidate with a sentence or two about the company’s industry niche, services/products offered, company background, what makes your company unique, responsibilities, preferred skills and knowledge, application requirements (examples, alignment with personal goals, top 2-3 skills traits that make you a fit for this position).

Accurate Descriptions

From here build out the job description to match your job posting. This allows you to send it after you’ve done a phone screen on the candidate. It also shows that you are serious about filling the position and ensuring it is a good fit for them and you.

There is a generational shift in the workforce and finding a happy balance between work/life balance, showing your community support and where you fit in the local community helps attract a wide array of candidates that may not have considered your business before.

Narrowing It Down

When evaluating the resumes, my first round of cuts are those applicants that did not follow the directions in the application process, especially if they are being hired for a job that requires attention to detail. If I asked them to complete an assessment test as part of the resume screening, the candidate’s results are the second round of cuts to the qualified resumes (Indeed.com has a collection of assessments for narrowing down logical thinking and customer service integrations, for example).

Unless they were a direct referral from an employee or suggested peer hold to what you are looking for, there is no use in rushing to hire a candidate, only to find they are a poor fit and then have do it over again.

Once the resumes are pared down, I conduct a first round of phone screens. I do not bother with in-person or video interviews until round two, as personally I want to hear how they engage with me on the phone and I need to make sure others can understand them as well. If their job is engaging with customers/clients/vendors, I need them to speak clearly and to break down language barriers.

I use this time to review a list of 10 questions during the 20 minute phone screening where I get the clarification to questions from their CV/resume, and also access their work experience, their level of interest, and basic enthusiasm for the role.


From the surviving candidates I’m usually left with 2-5 candidates for an in-person or video chat screening to talk about the job, assess them as a person, and to identify any cultural/personality issues that could cause conflicts within the current team.

The questions for this interview usually number between 10 to 15, with the interview lasting between 20 to 60 minutes. I block all my in-person interviews at an hour and note the actual time I spend with the candidate, as that is also very indicative with how they answered the questions, what questions they asked, and what information was gathered or shared.

Ultimately, I set expectations in the in-person interview on how our team functions, where they would fit and their responsibilities, as well as our style of communication. I have found that these items are taken for granted or covered once the job has been accepted. This can be too late in the process, where you can easily avoid any conflict or withdrawal of the offer when it turns out it looked good on paper, but not in person.

There are plenty of aspects to this process and we’ve all had our trials and tribulations. This is my routine and I’ve been rather encouraged by it and the wonderful staff members I’ve hired over the years.

Jen (Jencey) Wilson has been training on a major yard management system since 2004. In 2006, she created her own company, Jencey Consulting, devoted to training and consulting salvage yards. The mission is to enhance a yard‘s comprehension of their YMS product by streamlining processes and training. Armed with over 20 years of customer service and technical knowledge she has a ‘boots on the ground’ approach to looking at problems and processes. She also appreciates 3rd party applications created by you (the users) in the industry like Titan Online and CarbenCode while welcoming the opportunity to contribute to those organizations as well.

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