How to Improve Your Company’s Hiring During the Pandemic

Companies hiring during the pandemic have the advantage of a large, talented candidate pool. Between massive pandemic-induced layoffs and the rise of the remote workforce, now is an unprecedented time for recruiters to attract qualified, experienced candidates.

That doesn’t make coronavirus hiring any easier, though. First, companies are met with the challenge of effectively vetting the onslaught of applicants. Second, COVID-19 has caused an imbalance in the talent pool. Industries like hospitality, hit hardest during the pandemic, have been forced to let go of their top performers while few new vacancies open up. Industries like tech and construction have continued to hire and grow.

Despite the challenges, it’s still possible for hiring teams in all industries to improve their pandemic recruitment processes. Here are our top tips.

Seize the Opportunity to Hire During the Pandemic

It’s true that COVID-19 has dealt many industries and businesses monumental losses. It’s also true that investing in great talent when it’s available can provide businesses monumental gains. The founders of HP famously continued hiring during the downturn in the 1940s. When asked later how they could afford to hire during such a difficult time, they answered, “How could we afford not to?”

If it’s possible, leverage the talent of the leaders, thinkers, and workers who have lost their jobs or would consider a change in 2020. In the years to come, your company could greatly benefit from the experience and ideas they bring to the table.

Look for Transferable Skills

As certain industries hemorrhage employees, it’s to your advantage to consider hiring candidates who don’t have traditional experience in your industry. Think about the hard and soft skills most important to the position. These skills could be transferable from any industry, and searching for them may open your search to top talent.

Skills like marketing or accounting don’t necessarily need to be industry specific. Could communication, time management, tech-savviness, or leadership experience outweigh industry knowledge? Recruiters and hiring teams should open their search to candidates with transferable skills and the drive to learn.

Ask Better Questions

Managing your recruitment process virtually isn’t easy. Video interviews may never be able to fully replace the experience of talking to someone face to face. However, asking the right questions can both narrow your candidate pool to the right applicants and help you find the right person to hire.

First, consider asking tougher pre-screening questions. It’s important to be able to narrow your search (and your time) to applicants who are truly serious about wanting the job–especially if you have an overwhelming number of candidates. “What is your experience working alone on your computer all day? What has been the biggest challenge?” may allow some candidates to opt out if the job isn’t a fit.

Second, ask behavioral interview questions like, “Tell me about a typical day at your last job.” Or, “Tell me about a time when you were asked to do some last minute assignments after your day was already planned.” These lead the candidate to tell their own story about whether they’re going to be a match for your company values and culture.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Retaining and Developing Current Employees

Finally, it’s not just recruiting during COVID-19 that’s important. Put just as much emphasis on retaining your best employees. Don’t lose your best people to another company. Now is the time to bolster the ways you care for employees and develop the talent who will lead you through 2021. Not only will it benefit your existing company culture, but it will also help you attract your next great hire.

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