How to Hire Daycare Workers During the Pandemic: A step-by-step guide on hiring for your childcare

2020 may be gone, but this coronavirus is here for the long haul. Rather than teaching students in classrooms, we now host Zoom calls from our homes. And instead of managing daycare centers from respective offices and checking up on staff during work hours, we oversee via FaceTime, email, etc.

Also, with various Covid-19 regulations requiring minimum staff-student ratios, followed by increased health and safety provisions, many daycare centers have to deal with new challenges in terms of staffing so they can reopen.

Every center’s needs and situations are unique, and so as a director, you will have to be innovative in coming up with your own solutions to the recruitment challenges.

In this article, we will be providing you with some tips to aid you in hiring process during the pandemic.

Interviewing Potential Hires Remotely

Interviewing potential new employees is already challenging enough. Checking whether the candidate is ideal for your daycare center requires background check, a rigorous interview process, and a little bit of risk.

With the pandemic in the picture, there is another layer of challenge that you will face – no or limited in-person interviews. Fortunately, there are tools, technology, and strategies to help you successfully recruite new employees for your daycare.

Making Initial Contact

Despite the many changes taking place, lining up your potential new hires won’t be much different during this time as it did previously. You can find several school administrators or teachers on various job boards or recruiting sites, or you can even find them through existing staff members. Next, you will have to make the first contact, typically via phone call or email.

Do not underestimate the power of advertisement. Advertise your center to potential employees during times of uncertainty. See to it that your values and vision are clearly stated on your website. Research the average base salaries of childcare workers in your area and offer a competitive salary. Come up with an attractive package, including resources, benefits, and support.

Right now, daycare centers are facing severe staff shortages due to Covid. So, when making the initial approach, you will have to make sure that your daycare is an appealing choice for quality candidates.

Conduct First Interviews Virtually

Before the pandemic, you were able to conduct in-person meetings for interviewing new potential hires. Plus, candidates were able to meet the other staff within the center and look around your daycare.

However, with concerns regarding viral transmission, in-person interviews are a thing of the past (temporarily). Instead, virtual first interviews are recommended now.

Rather than making all your potential hires come to the daycare center for the interview, host online interviews via Zoom or any other video calling app according to your preference. It would also be best if you conduct any subsequent interviews virtually until you reach a point where it feels necessary to interact in person.

Whether you use FaceTime, Zoom, or other video calling software, there are some things you need to consider when conducting your interviews. They include:

• Get Everyone on board:  When you rely on a team of interviewers for conducting the interviews, it is important to make sure everyone is on board to attend the interview simultaneously. After that, you will also want to do a quick briefing of how the meeting will be conducted.
• Check sound & internet connection: Don’t let technical issues cause hindrance during the interview or rob valuable time from getting to know the candidate. It would be wise to do a quick “tech check” before starting the interview. Check everything thirty minutes before the call so you will have adequate time to fix anything, should you face an issue.
• Be Creative: It’s okay to be creative during your video call. If possible, you can offer a video tour of the daycare. If the candidate you are interviewing is someone you’d like to recruit, you will have to try and exploit this touchpoint so you can make your center an attractive option.

Once you have found a few applicants that you feel are suitable for the job at your daycare, call them for a final in-person interview before making the job offer. But, of course, be mindful of the safety measures.

Follow Safety Measures For First In-person Interviews

Finally, try to reserve in-person meetings as a final process for candidates you are likely to hire. During the meeting, make sure you practice safety measures, which include:

• Sitting six feet apart
• Making sure you wear face masks (and have extras in place just in case)
• Avoid shaking hands or sharing items
• Making sure everyone sanitizes their hand before the interview

Assess the Covid-19 Etiquette of Potential Hires

Whether by observing their behavior or through direct questions, assess how serious the candidates are concerning health precautions. This will help you get an idea of how likely they will enforce those etiquettes at the daycare.

For instance, gauge:

• If they had sanitized their hands before you ask them to
• Whether they had their face mask on when they came in for the interview
• Ask what kind of health precautions they will be taking in the classrooms (before explaining your center’s protocols)
• Assess their reaction when explaining the Covid-19 protocols of your center (are they overwhelmed, agreeable, or dismissive, and so on.)

Have Backups

Another important thing you need to keep in mind is preparing for worst-case scenarios concerning staffing. For instance, there may come a time when one of your employees takes a leave or stays at home for precaution should they feel ill or simply quits when they don’t feel comfortable working anymore.

Even if you have fulfilled the full staffing requirements, make sure to continue building up your backup list so you can call in an instant replacement when needed.

Involve the Parents

If any one of your student’s guardians or parents is currently unemployed or not working, providing volunteer opportunities will allow them to feel more productive. It will also allow them to give back to the community in such trying times.

Of course, you should never give them tasks or responsibilities that they are not qualified for. For things such as pick up or drop off, administrative or cleaning tasks, there is nothing wrong in asking if anyone is interested to pitch in.

These are some of the things you might want to consider if you wish to have a successful and smooth hiring process or looking to hire new staff for your daycare.

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