Pandemic Lessons in Recruitment

The understatement of the year would be that the coronavirus (COVID-19) has upended the entire world, including, of course, the employment world.

Many companies have been forced to suspend their operations temporarily or shut their doors entirely. The ones with a semblance of normal operation have had to quickly and sometimes inefficiently adopt remote working strategies for a large swath of their remaining workforce.

The business world has learned so many lessons on adaptability, flexibility and maintaining continuity on how to deal with the effects of the pandemic. The lesson in recruitment is a bit different; instead of the ability to survive or the ability to adapt to whatever change the pandemic may bring, recruitment has had to learn how double or most probably, triple the efforts in hiring and the impeccable timing it requires.

It is inevitable that at a time like this, the best talents will be scooped up as quickly as they are found. The job of the recruiter in this pandemic is how to quickly and efficiently search for these talents, and how to achieve this process remotely.

Here are the ways.

Determine staffing needs

The first that needs to be done is to develop a staffing plan. It should be a map that outlines the precise number of positions and roles within the organization, including the skill, talent and qualification required for each role.

The staffing plan should include:

Existing staff resources.

Gaps in the workforce.

The number and types of employees that are needed to run the organization efficiently.

Staffing options (whether temporary or permanent).

Another option is to assess pre-existing staffing resources and find ways to maximize them. This should involve creating a current skills inventory and talking to the existing staff members about what skills and abilities they may have that can help the organization in other roles.

Questions need to be asked; questions like: Is there a way to improve the existing employee’s productivity or help them develop the skills they already have?

2. Implement and develop a virtual recruiting process

Remote work is the new norm for the business world. Measures aimed at containing the virus, such as social distancing and work from home policies, have required companies to thinking out of the box with their recruitment process. Recruiters must now turn to the use of automation and technology, such as video conference calls and virtual chat rooms as business communication platforms.

Recruiters must implement and test new tech for communication and video conferencing. They must be prepared to handle most processes that involved face-to-face interaction remotely. They must increase the efforts in hiring and spread their nets farther and wider; using social media tools in the search of talent.

3. Implement an ATS (applicant tracking software) solution

In the world we are now, using haphazard spreadsheets of applicants or relying on past email exchanges or using LinkedIn just might not cut it. There is a deluge of candidates now as so many businesses have shut down and they’ve had to let go of their workers. An ATS is a perfect solution for a time as this as it provides solutions for:

Figuring out the bottlenecks in the hiring process that lead to lost time and productivity and removing them.

Determining which hiring manager needs help. The hiring process is often long and unwieldy; getting the hiring managers and the candidates on the same page about the position and job posting is a massive boost to productivity.

Determining the effectiveness of the hiring team’s efficiency and effectiveness. The ATS will be able to track how long the search lasts and the team’s effectiveness in hiring and onboarding.

Determine the best sources for hiring.

4. Be (brutally) honest

Chances are, the job applicant would love to know more about the organization and the ins and outs of working there. The candidates should have the ‘why you don’t want to work here’ call. This helps the candidate to see the option available to him in choosing to work and choosing to let go of the opportunity and maybe let the next person of the list a go at the job posting. It also helps the candidate better understand the virtual environment and provides them with full disclosure of what it’s like to work at the organization.

Additionally, being honest may help eliminate any weak employees who would ultimately not fit into the role needed in the company.

5. Avoid “deal heat”

The urge to close the deal and move on to the next one – no matter how disadvantageous – is a situation that we call “deal heat.”

Basically, recruiters are so hot to hire a new candidate, perhaps because there is a desperate need to fill a post in the organization, that they don’t see the big picture. Or they simply ignore the warning alarm bells that maybe this candidate just isn’t the right one. After a certain point, they can’t press the pause button or say a definite no because too much time has been spent on the recruiting process. Whatever the reason, its Deal Heat.

The recruiter must study if the candidate is the best fit for the job position or not. An extensive investigation of their past jobs and interviewing of their referrals will also paint a better picture. If there is any sign of an inability to fit a role perfectly, or as close to perfect as it can get, the deal must be shut down as fast as matter how much resource has been spent in the hiring.

It’s far better to pull out of the recruitment than hiring and looking for ways to fire later on.

6. Refreshing existing database

A global pandemic and the ensuing crisis is the perfect time to revisit the database of candidates that has been accumulated over time.

As the lockdown and the pandemic extends, there will be difficulty in locating quality candidates. Revisiting candidates encountered over time is imperative and maybe time-sensitive; alternatively, the recruiter may find themselves slogging through a seemingly limitless list of sup-par candidates.


written by NEWcruitment Switzerland, the Leading Technology Talent Agency Specializing in Senior IT Architects and IT Engineers in Switzerland

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