3 Hiring Lessons Learned From the COVID-19 Era
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the landscape of job-seeking and hiring in industries around the world. Some changes were implemented temporarily, but others will be more permanent.
While we all experienced challenges, there were significant lessons to learn as we navigated policy changes, adoptions of new technology, remote work, inconceivable loss and more. The current job market of 2021 is not like what we saw during the economic crisis of 2008, and we need to keep an open mind.
As we move forward, it will be important to use these lessons to keep your firm’s talent acquisition process strategic, contemporary and empathetic.
1. Technology is your friend.
Talent pools have widened exponentially, and companies are leveraging technology more than ever. Stepping away for a 30-minute video interview over a conferencing platform like Zoom is more efficient than having a candidate commute back and forth.
Also, scheduling those meetings is easier than aligning in-person meetings. Interview processes have become more seamless and timely, as have any assessment processes. If you haven’t already, then it is time to digitize your recruitment process — from the application, all the way through to the hire!
Hosting virtual roundtables with students on campuses outside of my general metropolitan area has been a huge benefit. Participating in industry networking sessions online has also exposed my team to new talent.
Our process is almost entirely paperless now, and that has made everything from interviewing to onboarding more cohesive. While trying to find a balance between profitability, availability and safety, continuing to use technology in this way can benefit the interview process.
2. Workplace flexibility is important in the long term.
While the worst of the crisis might be behind us, it is clear that one size does not fit all in terms of where and how we work. Many organizations have learned that having a good work-from-home policy can keep productivity high, and the same can be true for a blended work environment.
When returning to the office, keeping much of your interview and hiring process virtual will have benefits, and it is worth considering flexibility around where your staff is located, too.
Do your employees need to be on-site, or can they do their work just as well from a home office? Having workplace flexibility can also make your organization more inclusive to people with families, those with disabilities and others with unique personal situations. For economic and safety reasons, many have opted to move out of metropolitan cities. Being able to interview, hire, onboard and work remotely will also open your business to talent that does not reside nearby, furthering opportunities for workplace diversity.
3. Communication and transparency are key.
Even during a hiring pause, there is huge benefit in continuing to meet people and have conversations. This allows you to create a pipeline of talent to tap into when things pick up again. Arm yourself with information, and be open about how your organization has navigated the global crisis. Candidates appreciate that sort of transparency from potential employers. It excites me to speak to talent about how my firm has continued to improve and evolve during this difficult period.
The same can be said about how you communicate with your staff. Be transparent about the health of the business and plans for the future. One size does not fit all, and we have to talk to each other to understand how the pandemic has impacted staff in the short term, and what will make sense for them in the long term.
Socialization is also critical for workplace engagement and job satisfaction, so keep the conversations going with your teams, especially new hires!
It is all a learning experience — how we have handled the era of COVID-19, and how we address any crisis of this magnitude going forward. We have recalibrated our processes and workflows, embraced technology, and have had to learn innovative and enhanced ways of communicating with each other. While things were tough in the beginning, and still can be, there will be lasting, positive impacts for all of our businesses.