The coronavirus poses unprecedented challenges for employers across industries and around the world. With many organizations now working in an all-remote capacity, not only does this impact the way employees interact with one another but it also affects how employers run their hiring processes. 

For the most part, you can't bring candidates on site for in-person interviews at this time, but if you have an immediate hiring need, this doesn't necessarily mean your hiring process needs to be put on hold. 

In the absence of in-person interviews, other candidate screening and verification tools are more important than ever. Below I've outlined a few steps your team can take to assess candidate fit--even if you can't complete in-person interviews.

1. Send out prescreen surveys.

Many teams are short-staffed or have shifted priorities at this time, meaning hiring managers don't want to waste time manually reviewing every job applicant--including those who aren't a fit. One way to speed up the initial review is by sending automated prescreen surveys to applicants via email. 

Prescreen surveys are typically written in a multiple choice or true/false format, and your team can also include knockout questions to weed out candidates who ultimately won't work for your open roles, such as those who aren't available during the times you need them.

Applicants who pass prescreen surveys can immediately move forward into the next hiring steps. This will save your team time that would have otherwise been spent reviewing applicants who don't meet your needs. 

2. Leverage skills tests.

I recently wrote about a study that found 93 percent of Americans know someone who has lied on a résumé. An applicant might say he or she has significant customer service experience or is an expert in Microsoft Office, but skills tests can help you ensure this is true before you get too far along in the hiring process. And while your team is working remotely, these skills tests can be easily distributed to candidates digitally.

Skills tests are available for specific roles, such as accounting, office administration, sales, and many more. Each test can be completed by candidates online in just a few minutes, and tests are automatically scored with the results sent directly to your hiring team, saving your team time while ensuring candidates are qualified. 

3. Conduct phone and video interviews.

If you're like many employers, chances are your organization already starts the interview process with phone screens to weed out candidates who aren't a fit. In the absence of in-person interviews, you likely still want to get to know candidates on a deeper level than a phone screen alone. To do so, you can turn to video interviews.

A variety of free tools are available for your team to run video interviews if you don't already have video conferencing in place--including Google Hangouts, FaceTime, and Skype--and many candidates likely already have access to these tools.

Phone interviews give your team the opportunity to get to know candidates and better understand whether or not they're qualified for your open roles before determining if you should continue with final steps in the hiring process.

Video interviews enable you to get to know candidates on a deeper level than phone interviews alone. You can gain a better understanding of candidates' body language, communication skills, personality, and professional appearance that wouldn't be gained during a phone interview.

4. Complete detailed reference and background checks. 

Certain candidates might stand out following your prescreen surveys, skills tests, and interviews, but you should also formally verify each candidate with background and reference checks before extending a job offer. This added step can help you better understand candidates' histories and save your team from potential liability down the road. 

For automated reference checks, candidates can simply fill in their references' contact information and surveys are automatically sent out. This helps your team avoid playing phone tag with potential references. For background checks, candidates simply submit the required personal information and the rest of the process is taken care of automatically.

Whether your team is facing uncertain times, such as the current Covid-19 pandemic, or facing good times, your people are your greatest source of competitive advantage. By following these steps to streamline your hiring and ensure candidates are qualified, you can set your team up for long-term success.