3 Big Tips for Recruiting Top Talent in the Pandemic

3 Big Tips for Recruiting Top Talent in the Pandemic

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The pandemic brought seismic shifts to the world of work. Recruiting is one of the areas where organizations feel the impact most. For many, hiring freezes came with the early days of COVID. But there’s been even more to grapple with. Hiring practices are rapidly evolving as organizations move online. People’s priorities are changing in response to their experience of pandemic life–and that’s redefining what they’re looking for in a workplace. With The Great Resignation now underway,  talent acquisition and retention top the list of urgent items. What’s a recruiter to do? We’re here with actionable insider tips on building a recruiting strategy (and remote recruiting strategy) that works in a pandemic-shaped world.

A high-level approach to recruiting

As an employer, your aim is to make the hiring process as painless as possible for both hiring managers and future employees. HR is a crucial liaison between the hiring managers and the candidates. The balance comes in creating  a great experience on the internal side, while also advocating for the candidate so that they always feel seen and heard.

Your goal in recruiting is to have everyone walk away feeling like it was a great experience, even if it wasn’t the right one at the right time.

When interacting with candidates, make it feel like a conversation more than an interview.   Give the candidate a glimpse of  your organization’s culture. There’s also an element of sales in recruiting: you want the candidate to know just how great it is to work at your company. By doing so, you’re helping them gauge what they’re looking for. You’re also assessing  whether or not adding them to your organization will be mutually beneficial.

How the pandemic has affected recruiters

When the pandemic hit, some organizations instituted a hiring freeze. Many employers were used to having back-to-back calls with job candidates and hiring managers all day, every day. They had to figure out a way to be useful when so many of their essential functions were put on hold. 

What an organization’s recruiter can do during a hiring freeze to keep adding value to their company

Invest time in improving. Send out surveys to colleagues to collect feedback on your recruitment process. Take advantage of the many, many opportunities to learn from other organizations and industries. Attend webinars and keep up with industry trends.

Use the opportunity to learn as much about   perfecting the whole talent acquisition process. Many people have found that they were so busy before COVID-19 that they didn’t have the bandwidth to evaluate their practices  and improve them. Even though the early days of the pandemic were, of course, incredibly challenging, the extra time gave many organizations the opportunity to figure out what was working and what wasn’t. How recruiting can improve  during the pandemic

Instituting  a number of simple changes can have a powerful impact. For example, you might find that your outbound communication to candidates sounds a little out of step with your current brand. Take the time to update the language to reflect who your organization is now. Be sure  the new language represents your company’s commitment to diversity, as well as the unique culture you’ve worked so hard to build.

Make sure you’re  being as inclusive as possible in your hiring process and avoiding bias. Add more gender options to your application. Include a space for preferred pronouns, to better reflect the diversity of the talented people who might apply.

What  hiring looks like from a day-to-day perspective during a pandemic

Some organizations may still not be  hiring at quite the speed they were yet. But many are starting to build momentum and are sourcing for newly open roles.

Before COVID-19, some companies started the hiring process with a phone screen, then moved to a phone call with both the hiring manager and the job candidate, then coordinated a final, in-person interview. That process may not have changed much, except that now each of the three stages takes place via video call. That’s actually brought positive change– you can usually get to know someone much better using video, rather than phone.

Final thoughts on the war for talent and hiring in a pandemic

The last thing to keep front-of-mind is the importance of advocating for internal candidates. Providing growth opportunities is incredibly important for employee morale, culture, retention, engagement — everything. Consider guaranteeing that if a current employee wants to apply for a different position within the company — not necessarily a promotion, just a different position —  they will get an interview. 

Those who take advantage of that process stand to  gain an entirely new array of skills and experiences. Make sure every open position sees a mix of applications from both internal and external candidates.


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