Getting Hired During a Pandemic

In the middle of a global pandemic, getting a job is a relief for many college students.

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Education at Work is adjusting to the needs of students getting interviewed, hired, trained, and working the job - all from home. In the middle of a global pandemic, getting a job is a relief for many college students.

A majority of college students in the workforce have been thrown into an unstable job market as the global COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S. in early spring. Meanwhile, EAW recruitment, in Arizona, has seen a rise in applications for various EAW programs in March by 13%.

“I’m just really relieved to have a job,” says Tanner Bayles, a recently hired EAW student employee. Tanner is a junior attending Arizona State University – whose classes switched to remote learning during the spring 2020 semester.

Tanner was able to go through the EAW hiring process remotely, with the exception of an in-person orientation for equipment processing. The recruitment process includes application review, an interview over-the-phone, an in-person orientation day to pick up equipment, and remote training from home. In-person orientations have followed the CDC Guidelines for social distancing, cleanliness, and facial coverings. After orientation, Tanner started working remotely – joining all EAW students in the company’s work-from-home initiative.

A large part of the recruitment process is training – before students start on their first day, they learn all about how their systems work, how to do the job, and who to contact for assistance.

“Training was fun and interactive, it was definitely very smooth considering the abruptness and amount of planning that had to go into a short period of time,” says Justin Proudfoot, an ASU student who is about to finish his junior year and was hired at EAW in May after finding the opportunity via Handshake.

With a work-from-home initiative and remote hiring process, various EAW programs have been able to expand their recruitment pools.

According to the EAW recruitment team, there are more opportunities for students to be hired on to a specific program due to open schedules and less commuting time for the student.

"A student who may be interested in the Downtown Phoenix program, for example, because of their degree program, may not have been able to make the regular commute before,” says a recruitment representative. “That isn't necessarily the case now if everything is remote."

Justin says he saw EAW as “a really great opportunity,” in which he could earn an income from the safety of his home during the pandemic.

Training is the last stage in the recruitment process before a new-hire starts their first day.

“(Training) has been going pretty good, our last class saw 21 graduates and everyone is performing really well,” says Kayla Bangert, an EAW trainer who is looking forward to seeing her classes in person once the pandemic subsides.

“What these students are doing is really hard to do, and I applaud them,” Kayla says. “A typical, in-person class develops a kind of closeness with each other, and they’ve kept that atmosphere even with remote training.”

Justin says he continues to stay in touch with his training class even after starting the job and being assigned to a team. He says he feels more of a tightness with his class than with his production team, and his classmates lean on each other for support.

“Once it’s safe, I’m excited to go back to the center, once it’s safe for everyone,” Tanner says. “I can’t wait to meet everyone in person, but I’m so relieved I found a job where I can work safely.”