Hiring in a Pandemic: How Alternative Data Sources Can Help Streamline Your Hiring Process

In the past few weeks, hiring managers have had to dramatically adjust their hiring practices in order to accommodate remote work as well as changes in the availability of hiring resources. Unfortunately, since many of the courts are experiencing delays, traditional background checks are more difficult to complete in a timely manner--if at all. 

Fortunately, there may be some alternative data sources available that may help companies make informed hiring decisions, even in the midst of a pandemic.

Lean into the resources already available.

Whether that’s leaning more heavily into using Skype interviews or just taking a phone call, chances are hiring managers already have what they need if they’re willing to shift things around. One key adjustment might be asking for additional references and moving those checks higher up in the interview process. Giving more weight to a reference check may help serve as an alternative source of information when opportunities to get a “feel” for fit and personality may be limited under remote working conditions.

Create consistent, repeatable standards for a “new normal”.

Holistic screening and 100% digital processes are already two methods that companies have already been working with at scale. During the current crisis, these strategies may become useful to a broader range of industries. Building a holistic screening approach could help fill the gaps in data as well as paint a fuller picture of a candidate--which is important now more than ever in the absence of normal working conditions. While some businesses may prefer their in-person interviews, adapting to a full-scale online approach can help businesses have flexible, alternative methods for hiring or productivity down the road. Using this time of forced-adaptation efficiently may just give businesses a whole back-pocket strategy for times when, for example, company growth phases, large-scale innovation, or god forbid another crisis come into play.

Utilize social media background checks in addition to the traditional background process.

With many courts being closed or significantly impacted for the foreseeable future, hiring managers may be having a difficult time completing their traditional background screening workflow. For companies surge-hiring during a crisis, having no reliable background check can pose a considerable risk. Luckily, social media screening has been a credible alternative source of data for the past decade that can both complement a company’s pre-existing background screening workflow. Screening publicly available online information can provide employers with a behavioral report that both eases some of the risk of hiring without a credible data source and helps mitigate brand risk down the road. 



Reputation management and workplace safety are just two of the three top reasons companies seek out social media screening. Social Intel provides a brief, informative whitepaper and sample Hiring Report to help businesses understand how they can mitigate brand risk by taking proactive steps to screen their employees’ and prospective employees’ publicly available online information.