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Toilet Paper Bandits, Social Distancing, and Recruitment.

What’s happening in the engineering world during the coronavirus pandemic.

Koko Zarov

Enscicon Corporation – Award-Winning Engineering & Construction Staffing and Recruiting Agency

Denver, Colorado

TOILET PAPER BANDITS, SOCIAL DISTANCING, AND RECRUITMENT.

For most people, 2020 began with a lot of enthusiasm both at the office and at home. Companies were projecting record revenue numbers while Americans were thriving financially and living their best lives, buying homes, planning their weddings and family vacations. We were unshakable and it seemed like nothing could stop us from continuing our 10-year economic-growth dream. 

Only 5 months later and these glory days seem forgotten – toilet paper shortages, social distancing, and a record unemployment rate of 14.7 % are the new normal. 

A Tsunami of Job Seekers

Many businesses were impacted as state governments began to enforce “stay-at-home” orders in March and April and the effects on the economy were immediate. According to the Department of Labor, 15.9 million applied for unemployment benefits in April alone. The engineering and construction world was impacted as well with the Oil and Gas sector taking the hardest hit. 

All of these factors have resulted in a massive tsunami of job seekers, but does that mean that it will be easier to recruit and attract top talent? Candidates are very much eager to get back to work but not at all willing to jump into the unknown. The current situation has created a sense of uncertainty and the majority of qualified engineering workforce is waiting patiently for the right opportunity. Job seekers are not asking employers, ”Where would your company be in the next 10 years?”, they are asking: “Can you guarantee that you will be in business in 6 months from now?”. Long-term opportunity for growth and stability are top of mind concerns for candidates at the moment while survival is what keeps executives up at night. 

The timing of re-opening seems perfect (for the economy) as companies are running out of PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) funds.Slowly but surely, the engineering and construction companies are finding ways to comply with new OSHA standards, taking projects off a temporary shutdown, opening the doors for fresh talent.

The Era of Underwear Interviews

One of the recruitment elements that has been impacted the most by the coronavirus is the interview process. Face-to-face interviews are no longer a thing and they’ve been replaced by the awkward video-conference. Here are some key topics that employers and candidates should consider when doing a “zoom” interview.

• Check Your Internet Connection – There’s nothing more frustrating during a video interview than a blurry picture and echoing or distorted sound. If you know that you will be looking for a job or hiring people, upgrade your internet speed. This is your first opportunity to impress and show everyone that you are prepared.

• Choose The Right Environment – Sitting in your bed and wearing your pajamas is probably not a good choice. Make sure that you pick a place in your house that has good light and is away from your dogs and kids. We all love them, but don’t need to be around them during an interview.

• Be Patient And Professional – You might be at your house right now, but you will be working from an office most likely once all of this is over. Dress and behave as if you were at the office sitting across the desk from the other person. If you are an engineer, wearing a shirt (and pants!)  is probably the way to go. Also, make sure that you wait for the other person to finish their thoughts before you speak. Interrupting during video-interviews is really annoying, but can easily be avoided with a little bit of patience from both parties.

Recruit From Home 

At Enscicon, we’ve been very fortunate to have a system and processes in place that allow us to do our job (and do it well) from home. We’ve invested heavily and continue to invest in making sure that we work as a whole, from management and accounting to sales and recruitment. Here are a few things that we’ve done that allow us to work like a well-oiled machine:

• Technology, System, And Processes – Back in September of last year we looked at our tech stack and decided that it was time for an upgrade. We created a custom state-of-the-art ATS (applicant tracking system) and CRM that integrated all of our processes across all teams – sales, recruitment, HR, accounting, and management. This allowed us to not just track and measure our day-to-day operations, but also improve the efficiency and decrease the time-to-hire. We also upgraded our phone system which makes it easy to route incoming phone calls to the appropriate department. Our team members are able to take care of our customers from anywhere in the world using a device of their choice – smartphone, desk phone or just a computer. 

• Make Work From Home Easier – We understand that most people don’t have the right setup to work from home. As part of our “work from home” transition, we made sure that every team member had not just the standard equipment like a phone or laptop, but also anything else that might help them be more comfortable and productive at home. We created a Home Office Reimbursement program that gives our team members an allowance that can be spent on anything that makes their work from home easier – equipment, furniture, supplies, etc.

• Keep Having Fun – Enscicon is a company about people and having fun at work is a huge part of our culture. We might not have access to our company beer and wine fridge, but we continue to have our legendary weekly meeting – EnsciCans. It’s exactly what it sounds like – we grab a can (or a glass) of our favorite beverage, catch-up, and talk proactively about how we can help our customers and candidates. We do it responsibly over the internet while practicing social distancing – still fun though! We also know that work from home and not being able to socialize is tough and not that easy on our team members and their families. Every Enscicon employee was given a mandatory, must-take three-day paid-time-off to unplug from work, relax, and spend some quality time with their loved ones.

The last few months have been definitely challenging for everyone but it’s important that we stay positive and look at the big picture. It will be a mistake for companies to spend their time thinking how to get back to the office faster instead of making sure that they have everything in place to stay in business and work from home efficiently. Is this going to be the new normal? 

YOUR SUCCESS IS OUR ONLY PRIORITY