Hiring During Uncertain Times

May 2020
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At the time of this writing in March, the world is battling the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In order to respond to and slow the spread, New York City is two weeks into PAUSE, with all nonessential workers mandated to work remotely. Federal guidelines advising social distancing are now in effect through the end of April. By the time you read this in May, I expect that we will already be in a very different place, both as a country and as a workforce. 

Many people have lost their jobs and are seeking new opportunities. Hiring managers and talent acquisition professionals are adapting to this fully virtual world, and they are actively seeking ways to keep processes moving and candidates engaged. In some cases, recruiting has halted altogether while companies wait to see what happens to their businesses and industries.

Whether or not your hiring process is active during this global health crisis, this is the perfect time to think about, innovate and implement some best practices around ways to manage and sustain your hiring processes during uncertain times and crises. 

Virtual interviewing is the new normal. 

These are unprecedented times. Companies that have historically relied on face-to-face interviews are now conducting interviews virtually, over video and phone, exclusively. It is important to give your interview panels guidance on conducting effective video interviews. Set the right tone, and make sure everyone is aligned on messaging and needs. 

Greet candidates and catch up with them after their virtual interviews. You don’t want to lose any of the important touchpoints that you had in place while the office was open. Get feedback to candidates quickly and be honest about timelines.  

The candidate experience is still crucial. 

You may not be able to welcome a person into your offices for a taste of the atmosphere, but you can still provide a candidate with a transparent and enjoyable interviewing experience. Think about ways to showcase your corporate culture virtually. 

Don’t allow your employer brand to fall silent if hiring is on hold. Your brand might be evolving throughout these uncertain times, and that’s not a bad thing! There might be ways that you are now engaging with your staff that you can also apply to conversations with candidates.  

Communication must be more efficient. 

People are being inundated with newsletters and communication across so many platforms: phone, email, Slack, video calls, Zoom conferences and more. It’s overwhelming. Communicate as effectively as possible with all necessary parties as it pertains to sharing information, scheduling meetings, obtaining feedback and planning for next steps. 

Identify your key audiences (recruiter, hiring manager, interview panel, candidate), their level of importance to the process, key messages that you need to deliver to them, what the next step is, who is responsible for the next step and what the due date is. Streamlining is key. Develop a plan to address candidates at varying stages of the interview process, too, whether they were in early stages or near an offer. Be transparent. 

This is the time to plan ahead and pipeline.

Is your process on pause or in an extended holding period? That’s OK — use this time to pipeline! Network, have preliminary conversations and get ready for when things pick up again. It’s a difficult time for many people out there right now. Be proactive, and be human.

One thing that talent pros agree on: There is no playbook for this. We’re all learning and evolving as we go. Best of luck and stay safe.

photo credit: shutterstock

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