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Adapting Your Recruiting Strategy During COVID

Dec 23, 2022

Recruiting can be chaotic enough without adding a worldwide pandemic into the mix. Seemingly overnight, the economy has been flipped on its side, leaving some industries on the cusp of recession and others hiring in droves. These are strange times, indeed, but one thing is for certain: change is inevitable. What that change may look like will ultimately depend on which end of the spectrum you find yourself on. Let’s explore the various scenarios below, and what you can do to survive.

What to Do When the Well is Running Dry

It’s hard to imagine, but just a few short months ago, the unemployment rate was the lowest it’s been in nearly half a century. With the economy booming and more jobs to fill than qualified candidates, it was a recruiter’s dream (or nightmare, depending on how much you love a challenge). Fast-forward several weeks, and many in the hiring world are finding themselves at best, trying to keep busy, and at worst, part of the unemployment statistics.

During uncertain times like this, it may feel as though the best option is to put the recruitment process on hold until the current climate begins to stabilize, but that’s not necessarily the wisest thing to do. To the contrary, changing your perspective and strategically adapting your workflow now will not only help you weather the current storm, but put you in a much stronger position for success once the dust settles and things begin returning to normal.

First, take some time to do a little much-needed housecleaning. As a busy recruitment professional, you likely rarely have the time or energy to tackle all those administrative tasks, like cleaning out your inbox. Now that you have a few moments to breathe, put that availability to good use. In addition to weeding through those old emails, other areas where an investment of time now will pay dividends down the road include:

  • Updating your paperwork
  • Reviewing and improving your processes and workflows
  • Revising your job posting template(s)
  • Refining job descriptions

Another important area you should be focusing on now that you’ve got a little more downtime is proactively building and growing your talent pipeline. The value of this, particularly in terms of business continuity, cannot be understated. Most experts agree that, while it may take some time, the economy will eventually bounce back, and when it does, having a pool of potential candidates at the ready could be your ace in the hole.

Take advantage of this opportunity to grow and nurture your talent network by sourcing highly-qualified candidates who will be ready, willing and able to start a new job right away.

What to Do When Your Cup Runneth Over

For recruitment professionals in essential industries, like shipping and delivery companies, food retail, e-commerce and telecommunications, the demand to fill positions is increasing by the day. Unlike their counterparts whose day to day recruiting activities have practically ground to a halt, for talent scouts in these industries, keeping up with the current daily workload may be more challenging now than ever before.

Similarly, there are some industries that may not be under such a massive hiring crunch, but due to the current situation, are faced with managing a normal workload with a condensed team. Whether it’s because some employees are out on sick leave or the organization has had to cut back and either lay people off, furlough them or let them go entirely, this leaves the remaining staff to carry the burden while operating on limited resources.

Thankfully, technology can be brought in to help do some of the heavy lifting. Using Candidate Intelligence, for example, allows you to leverage mountains of data without having to do all the time-consuming work of manual recruiting. Not only is this far more efficient, enabling you to do more with less, but leveraging data science is also less expensive, more accurate, and produces much faster results. In fact, with the right system in place, you may discover that operating on a smaller scale is not only manageable, but actually a more favorable arrangement for the long-term.

A few additional tips for making things work with reduced staffing resources:

  • Tap into your employee network (i.e. ask for and incentivize employee referrals)
  • Take advantage of your existing talent pipeline (there it is again!)
  • Expand your reach by using every available avenue to source candidates, including social media platforms you may not have thought of, like Instagram and Tik Tok
  • Seek out online communities designed to connect recruiters with workers who have been displaced by the pandemic

Planning for the (Not-So) Distant Future

Last, but certainly not least, all recruiters, whether currently swamped with work or facing an unprecedented downturn, should be taking appropriate measures to plan and prepare for the future. The fact is, even when the economy is once again operating at 100%, there’s a good chance things will look quite different for some time.

Social distancing guidelines, for example, will likely still be in place in many organizations. As such, another change that recruiters may need to prepare for post-pandemic is accommodating reduced capacity requirements. For instance, a role that may have previously operated on a 9 to 5 basis may now be broken up into multiple shifts to comply with new 25% or 50% capacity rules. This will inevitably change the dynamics from a talent sourcing standpoint.

Other organizations may extend or permanently adopt remote work arrangements. In these instances, everything from recruiting to hiring and onboarding will need to be carried out entirely virtually . If you haven’t already, you’ll need to make sure the right tools and technology are in place, like video conferencing software and file sharing solutions.

Going Forward

The current economic situation has impacted people and businesses in almost every industry, and recruiters are no exception. While some find themselves overwhelmed with work, others are just trying to get through each day, hoping they’ll still have a job when the dust settles. Thankfully, there are ways for talent acquisition professionals to adapt and continue to deliver value, both to their employers as well as the candidates they’re sourcing.

Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.”

By remaining flexible, adaptable and open to learning new ways of working, not only will you be able to persevere through the current circumstances, but you’ll be able to position yourself and your organization for long-term success and sustainability well into the future.

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