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Technology, ingenuity keep candidates interviewing and new hires orienting

It can be difficult to conduct job interviews and host general orientations amid the restrictions that come with a global pandemic, but Yale New Haven’s Talent Acquisition continues to help fill jobs and orient new staff during COVID-19.

“We had to quickly adjust the way we do things because the organization started limiting visitors,” said Dorinda Manner, executive director, YNHHS Talent Acquisition. “We knew that there were jobs that needed to be filled, and we had to get creative to ensure the flow of candidates wasn’t interrupted.” That’s when the health system moved to a totally Skype-based interview process for new-hire candidates.

“We still follow our process of having Talent Acquisition specialists screen candidates by phone,” Manner said. “Previously, the step after the phone screening would be an in-person interview with the candidate, Talent Acquisition partner and hiring manager. Now Talent Acquisition specialists book a Skype interview for everyone.”

Having devised a way to continue candidate interviews, the department’s focus shifted to getting new hires safely through the orientation process. New employee orientation is typically held in the Institute for Excellence (IFE) auditorium, with nearly 100 people attending. With social-distancing rules, the orientation program had to be delivered differently.

“We worked with the people involved in orientation, IFE and Information Technology Services to broadcast that first post-COVID orientation over Zoom,” Manner said. “ITS recorded that orientation, along with the delivery network-specific portions, to create a single program that can be delivered, digitally, on-demand.”

Alison Totton, regional manager, YNHHS Talent Acquisition, explained that new hires complete all eight hours of new employee orientation from home. “Before they even step foot on campus, they’ve completed New Employee Orientation remotely,” she said. “The IFE has created a mechanism for us to track who has completed the program, while keeping everyone safe.”

Totton said she has received positive feedback about the new arrangements. “The candidates have been very appreciative,” she said. “We get a lot of questions about safety, and having them go through the virtual process has been comforting on some level. They feel that if we’re doing this for candidates and new hires, we must also be taking care of our veteran staff.”

While Talent Acquisition is currently focused on keeping candidates and new hires moving through the new processes, Manner said she has at least one eye on the post-COVID-19 future.

“We have definitely discovered some opportunities that we intend to use once this pandemic is over,” she said. “We follow the Yale New Haven Health Standards of Professional Behavior and because of that, we prefer to conduct our interviews in-person. But now we have these tools, like Skype interviews and on-demand New Employee Orientation, that we can use if weather threatens an orientation, or a candidate can’t make an interview because they live far away.”