What to Know About Hiring During COVID-19

We partnered with Lynn Chisholm, Director of USF Office of Internships and Career Readiness, who provided some key takeaways on how to prepare an online recruitment process. Lynn offered important advice such as ways to keep growing your staff or offering students professional opportunities, essential questions to ask the applicant, and useful advice for online interviews.

"Looking to recruit for talent? One way to think about it might be on Alan Deutschman's perspective of 'Change or Die.' Another more sensitive mindset is Richard Carlson's, 'Will this matter a year from now?' Combining these two might offer better inspiration regarding hiring: 'Change - so that it will matter in a year from now.' As we evolve forward to a new normal, we are learning that it is important to hire not just for the job as is but also for the job in the event of an emergency."
What to Know: Recruitment, Vetting Applicants (Platforms and Qualifications)


  • Recruitment online is highly effective, and most candidates prefer this given CDC guidelines.
  • If you are recruiting for USF talent for full-/part-time employment or internships, please use Handshake, a free job posting platform through which you can recruit from all three USF campuses.
  • If your work does not rise to the level of a full internship, the USF Office of Internships and Career Readiness has partnered with Parker-Dewey to assist you in posting projects or micro-internships.
  • Please note that USF Human Resources assures our compliance with the Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act criteria for volunteers and unpaid internships. As such, earning course credit does not negate the requirements, but may offer a short-term option depending on the type of course and the credit needed by the student. Please reach out for assistance at sacsinternships@usf.edu

Vetting Applicants – Interview Platforms

Virtual interviews are the way to go!

  • Set them up using the same process and structure you would for an in-person interview.
  • Create interview questions that enable you to validate the skills and competencies needed for your position. Include behavioral interview questions (“tell me about a time when you…”) to tease out their likely response to typical situations such as resolving conflict, problem-solving, and use of innovation.
  • Assure a professional setting and background for virtual interviews.
  • Practice using the technology in advance of the interview.
  • Treat this with the same professionalism as an in-person interview (because it is).
  • If recruiting from within USF, please use MS Teams for hosting your candidate interviews.
  • If outside of USF, consider the use of a platform other than Teams (e.g., Zoom, Google Hangouts). Evaluate which is the best option for your business and set the appropriate security settings. If you need additional guidance, visit USF IT.

Vetting Applicants – Qualifications

You may already have interview questions regarding job skills and competencies, but here are a few you may want to include as you vet for the future of work skills:

  • What have you learned about yourself during COVID-19 that you could apply to this job/internship?
  • What were your most valuable skill sets during COVID-19, and why?
  • What new skills/competencies did you develop during COVID-19, and why are they valuable in the marketplace?

How can you verify your applicant’s technical and/or essential skills?

  • Look for digital-micro-credentials, also known as badges, on their resume or LinkedIn profiles.
  • Has the applicant developed an ePortfolio to share evidence of their projects and work products?
  • Look for transferable skills through the candidate’s campus involvement, part-time job, or experiential learning, and the projects/skills exhibited.

Looking for more ideas? Check out this Working Remotely Toolkit, or reach out at sacsinternships@usf.edu for additional assistance.

Getting to Know Lynn

Lynn Chisholm is the Director of the Office of Internships and Career Readiness at the University of South Florida on the Tampa campus. Lynn’s team develops internship opportunities for students across all three USF campuses, leads the Engaged Student Employment program, leads internship/experiential learning programming and activities across the student academic journey and campus (High-Impact Educational Practices or “HIPs”), teaches internship and co-op classes, and administers the system-wide Career Readiness Badging Program. Her dedicated and amazing team of five staff, one GA, and 10 student employees serve all 50,000 USF students.


Created with images by Damian Zaleski - "typing on a keyboard - You can follow me on dribbble.com/zal3wa" • Ian Schneider - "untitled image" • Marten Bjork - "Business time" • Cytonn Photography - "untitled image" • Markus Winkler - "Ideas for my resume" • Tumisu - "online meeting learning"