For the last seven months, the pandemic of coronavirus is re-architecting every aspect of our lives, including the recruiting industry. There hasn’t been an event in the recent history that had this much strength to plunge the workforce into continuous uncertainty and instability. – One of the most detrimental COVID-19 aftermaths is the record low unemployment. The result is a higher number of unemployed people than at the times of the Great Recession.
The consequences of the virus grow at the same speed as the number of daily new infections, reshaping the HR and talent management. Yet, the significance of the hiring industry plays a crucial role in an unstable era where the businesses struggle to stay afloat. As their working practices and environment flow in a continuously changing and ambiguous direction, HR has the responsibility to encourage employee morale and manage the hiring process.
But what can recruiters do to navigate the crisis while also keeping up the performance, productivity, and facilitating hiring? To answer that, one first has to consider what are the ways COVID-19 is affecting HR and their workflow. These are the pandemic’s two principal impacts on the hiring industry and its processes.
1. ALTERED RECRUITING PROCESS AND REMOTE SETTING
Hiring has been anything but ordinary since our reality collided with the virus, making it hard to predict whether the conditions will enhance in the fourth quarter. However, most hiring managers are operating in a new realm facing a myriad of obstacles. For example, more than one in three companies have put in place a hiring freeze across all roles. Hence, many hiring managers have to pause their practice or even select employees for lay-offs.
Besides, the pandemic also brought social distancing into our worlds, which reflects in remote work and hiring as a health-protective measure. Hiring is continuously evolving, and it’s been a long time since recruiters had to seek candidates at the job fairs. Yet, this is the first time in the history of recruitment that hiring managers can’t perform interviews face-to-face. Both employers and recruiters are meeting their new employees in a remote setting, which is increasing the use of HR technology.
To enhance the hiring process, get better results, and more compatible candidates without getting to know them in person, recruiters need to leverage tech and implement various tools. Video interviews and platforms that allow candidates to record their answers are allowing hiring to continue and adapt to the new reality. Thus, to align the process with social distancing, many will also conduct remote onboarding, which is adding a new dimension to the candidate journey.
2. THE TALENT OUTBREAK
Although one would assume that the coronavirus outbreak will result in a candidate shortage, it’s quite the opposite. Due to the high levels of unemployment, recruiters are actually facing a talent outbreak. The pandemic has forced numerous talents back to the arena of job-seeking, creating a talent abundance. While that sounds like a silver lining, recruiters need to be careful because the highly competitive job market is triggering job seekers to apply for all available openings.
Being without a job during the most tumultuous and erratic times, job applicants feel an urge for a secure job, even if that means applying for a job that doesn’t align with their qualifications. There is a limited supply of vacancies and high demand. Therefore, candidates will rush to apply first and get to the job, which often means not reading the job description thoroughly.
Hiring managers could easily fall into the tempting trap of choosing the first available candidate to fill the critical job positions. However, research of the ManpowerGroup about talent optimization shows that having millions of unemployed people doesn’t mean that the skills, education, and experience your company needs are among them. Thus, despite the abundance, it’s possible that your ideal candidate isn’t actively looking or is employed in another company.
HOW CAN TALENT DEPARTMENTS OVERCOME THE OBSTACLES?
We are witnessing extraordinary times, and they require a lot of agility and responsiveness from talent departments. The hiring process is going through changes, but the employees are also experiencing inner troubles under the pressure of COVID-19. As those that should nurture the growth and success of their team members, recruiters need to consider all the pain points when developing their post-COVID-19 strategy.
These are the two essential tips on how HR can navigate the crisis and combat the pandemic’s aftermaths.
1. EMPLOYEE WELL-BEING PROGRAM AND SUPPORT
The virus has put health on top of our priorities, which is also why recruiters should first implement measures and policies that will protect the employee’s well-being. Although the sole existential fear is enough, workers are also under pressure to keep a work-life balance now that most of them are working remotely. Some worry that their positions might not be essential and that they will lose their jobs. Others might have sick family members they need to take care of.
Therefore, it’s crucial to perform mental well-being and health checks. Introduce anonymous surveys, interviews, and training that focuses on preventing emotional distress.
Provide employees with all the necessary support. Consider introducing COVID-19 employee health insurance or extra days off. Allow flexible schedules and shifts that ensure that everyone has the opportunity to work remotely. Besides, check whether all the team members have what they need to work from home. Perhaps some employees don’t have the necessary technology and equipment. Make sure that everyone has what remote work requires and don’t leave anyone behind.
2. IMPROVE CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE AND ONBOARDING
Whether you can provide a seamless candidate experience is still the key factor in the candidate’s decision to work with you. The pandemic doesn’t change the fact that the job applicants want an employer who will show interest in them and who will care about their experience.
That’s why it’s essential to develop a smooth candidate experience. – Besides providing the candidates with simple job application forms, precise and compelling job descriptions, keep continuous communication throughout the process. Keep interacting via email and ensure that the candidate receives regular updates about their job application. Don’t leave them hanging and questioning if there is something wrong because COVID-19 already arouses too many questions.
Thus, nurture the employer brand and make sure that you are consistent in every step of the hiring campaign. Demonstrate the employee value proposition (EVP) in the hiring material, on career websites, job advert, and social media. Above all, show empathy and flexibility in both external and communication with the candidates. Do the same during the onboarding. – Try to be as personal as possible to make the new employee feel appreciated and as a part of the team.