How to Recruit Top Talent During the COVID-19 Pandemic

One thing is clear, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the world dramatically. All businesses, big or small, have had to adapt and change the way in which they conduct business daily. Company leadership has had to take a step back and look at all assets within, while finding ways in which to keep and attract new talent. Remote workforces expanded from pilot programs and isolated cases to companywide deployments due to COVID-19, which has forced employers to accept a new workforce reality. More and more employers must look for strategies to continue engaging, developing and recruiting talent. As companies are strategizing to keep day-to-day operations running, it is important for employers to be agile, communicative, productive and lean on recruitment. The new remote workforce reality has created a shift in recruiting practices; the following best practices will strengthen talent management and recruiting efforts during and following the pandemic.

1. Focus on Communication

Communication effectiveness must be a key focal point during the pandemic because the face to face communication element is almost non-existent across the nation. A way to keep candidates active in their search is communicating and being transparent regarding the ways in which Coronavirus has impacted the company’s hiring status and onboarding practices. Letting applicants know your pandemic staffing processes upfront helps set expectations and dissolve concerns. Our company chose to let candidates know how the hiring process would be managed during the pandemic. For example, I would state: “Here are the processes that will take place—I will pass this phone screen to the hiring managers, if they would like to proceed, they will let me know. We are currently conducting Skype phone and video interviews. There will be no need for you to worry about a face-to-face interview, and if they decide to move forward with you, we will onboard you remotely.” I found that being upfront with each candidate in the very beginning takes the ease and worry of their safety off their minds. This allows candidates to relax for recruiters to understand and gain insight into their skillset, which helps create a pool of quality candidates to present to hiring managers. A great way to implement this communication practice would be to create a simple template for all recruiters in the company to use to keep the message consistent across the board.

2. Modify job descriptions

Another way to make sure you are receiving qualified candidates the company needs is to review and modify job descriptions so that they are current and specific. Due to the high rates in unemployment there are going to be a lot of amazing candidates to choose from, therefore creating specific and current job descriptions are imperative. The HR team should meet and work with the hiring departments to review and modify job descriptions as needed. It is important that the HR team understand the needs and requirements of the position, so their recruiters can diligently and actively work the requisitions. The job description should include the length of the position, job requirements, full time/part time, contract, job title, and any other specific information required or preferred. When a job description is too vague, it leads candidates to apply for a position they are not qualified for and tends to waste time and resources. On the other hand, if a job description is too specific, one might miss out on qualified candidates. The HR team should know the non-negotiables and preferences over requirements, so they have an idea of what kind of candidates to phone screen and bring forth to hiring managers. This strategy helps filling a position in a timely fashion. Additionally, the company will thrive because a great candidate will be hired to pick up the slack in the area in which they were needed.

3. Interview protocol

Interviewing is a big part of hiring practices and will now convert to an increase of phone and video interviewing. The testing and implementation of the right technology will be imperative to support managers while conducting such interviews. During this process it is important that recruiters stay in touch with applicants. For example, you want to make sure a future employee has the video link at least a day in advance so they can test their technology. This will help the candidate feel secure and it gives them the time needed to set up their space for a smooth interview. I would also recommend in your communication to a candidate that they create a space with no distractions and dress appropriately for a video interview. Guide them through the interview process and give them access to yourself or someone who could help them solve a technology issue if needed. Remember to focus on open communication and preparation, so the candidate can focus on the task at hand, the interview.

4. Hiring and Onboarding

Lastly, hiring practices have shifted tremendously since the pandemic. Most companies who have continued to hire during COVID-19 have changed their onboarding practices. When bringing on a new employee it is important to continue great communication and key touchpoints. For example, some companies use a HRIS system that sends out messaging and all new hire documents prior to the first day in a Welcome email. Also courier services are beneficial to deliver new employee equipment and welcome gifts to their place of residence a day or two before the first day. IT department should work with new team members to get all equipment set up and running, so their first day is used to focus on company mission, values, overview, benefit information, and meeting their team. It is possible to create a platform for training video’s to be viewed within HRIS systems.

If your company does not have this type of HRIS system, it may be time to sit down with the leadership team to discuss what type of HRIS system the company needs. Other ways to check in with new hires is to set up small checkpoints after 30, 60, 90 days through a survey, scheduled meeting, or an activity. Since face to face is not an option for new hires to meet their team, it is important to check in with them occasionally to make sure that their transition is going smoothly. Although onboarding and hiring is now conducted remotely, the company should focus on making sure new hires feel welcomed and the onboarding experience is smooth. These processes and practices will help retain new employees while providing strong outcomes for the business.

This pandemic has certainly caused a shift in the way businesses is conducted, but with adaptation and forward strategizing businesses can still flourish during this time. Although there is uncertainty in the workplace, setting plans to implement good communication, defining and modifying job descriptions and needs, establishing new interview protocols, and hiring/onboarding practices will help companies remain in-sync with company goals and create a better experience for new hires. Candidates are experiencing rising levels of fear; therefore, recruiting teams need to remember that transparency and engagement will help ease their fears and break down barriers. Recruiting diverse talent must remain a priority even when the economy in experiencing change. Now is a good time for companies to review their recruiting strategies and goals in order to be ready for this task. Furthermore, best practices to keep recruiting for your company on track is remaining adaptable and staying in constant communication with leadership and teams.

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