7 Tips for Recruiting During a Pandemic

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You might think that it is less than ideal to be trying to recruit at the moment. We are all juggling doing business and navigating our way around our new norm; working remotely, social distancing, employees being stood down, why would you want to add recruiting to your to-do list. There are however, many positives for recruiting in these tumultuous times, it’s just worth giving some consideration to your recruitment strategy, as to get the best outcome for you and your new hire, you may need to do things a little differently in these changing times.

Here are my top 7 tips for recruiting during COVID-19:

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

Before you do anything, you need a plan to make sure you can successfully recruit, induct and onboard your new employee. For some businesses it is business as usual for others if your team is working remotely it is important to consider how will you interview the candidates, how will you induct them, onboard them and train them. Your plan needs to consider what it will be like for the new employee. A bad experience transitioning into your business is not going to help their longevity with your business. Your plan needs to make sure you are setting your new team member up for success not failure.

2. Where and how to advertise

The landscape for employment has certainly changed however in some sectors it will still be a candidate short market, in other sectors there will be much more talent available due to redundancies and stand-downs. Depending on the role you are applying for you could end up inundated with applications or very few candidates to consider. It is worth doing your research to see what the likely response to an advertising campaign will be and then tailor your advertising accordingly. Considering if a seek.com advert is a worthy investment or can you use word of mouth through your networks and existing employees. Could advertising on social media get you a better outcome or would headhunting be a better approach?

3. Attracting the right talent

Again, depending on the type of role you are recruiting for, it is worth considering how you’ll attract the talent you want. People are nervous, apprehensive and a little risk-adverse right now. I have heard numerous times over the last few weeks:

  • I think I’ll just sit tight and stay with what I know
  • I have plenty of sick leave and annual leave accrued, I don’t want to risk losing that in case I get sick
  • I can’t possibly commit to a new job and juggle home schooling, the flexibility I’ve got now is good
  • My current employer is stable, how do I know this potential employer won’t go under in the future?

In these times these are all really valid questions. How are you going to overcome or work through these hurdles to attract the candidates you want? What can you offer (not just dollar wise)? This needs to be weaved into your advertising right from the start and communicated throughout the recruitment process.

4. Interviewing

In most cases a typical recruitment process means getting the candidate in for interview, at some stage they get to see and experience the work environment which all adds to the candidate experience and helps engage them. Interviewing over Zoom or skype is the easy part but how do you help the candidate experience your workplace, this may or may not be important to them. Some will want to see their prospective office and get a feel for the place. How can you facilitate that? You can put this in the too hard basket and not worry about it or you can get creative and showcase your business and work this step of the recruitment process to your advantage. Think video walk throughs, meet the team videos, virtual team get togethers. There is lots of cool stuff you could do to engage your potential new hire.

5. Addressing concerns – Communicate, Communicate and then communicate some more

Please trust me on this one, it’s worth investing the time to communicate and talk through concerns at every step of the recruitment process. The worst thing that can happen is that you get to making an offer and your preferred candidate declines. They are panicking, they are nervous, it’s a big step to change jobs at any time in your career let alone in the middle of a pandemic! If you get all the way through and have your offer declined it can be back to the drawing board. Communicating, communicating and communicating some more will give you the best chances of working through concerns and overcoming them. If you can’t overcome them you are better to know sooner rather than later.

6. The Notice Period

Remember what I just said about communicating, communicating and communicating some more? The notice period is another period when you want to communicate a lot with your new hire. You want to stick close to them and use this period to be building that relationship. They will be nervous and apprehensive. Start talking to them about what the induction and onboarding will look like. Have different team members contact them so that when you do your first team meeting over Zoom they are not overwhelmed by a sea of new faces. Send them some info for them to start reading over if they are interested. Whatever you do don’t offer and forget them until day 1.

7. Inducting, Onboarding & Training

How you do this part is critical. It can be the difference between setting your new team member up to succeed or to fail. Depending on your business operations, this might be no different than normal for you other than that you are sitting a little further away from your new team member. For other businesses who are working remotely or alternating rotating half the staff through the business each week, you’re going to need a much more comprehensive induction, onboarding and training plan. It’s time to revisit that plan that we developed at step 1 and execute this phase of the plan. There is so much to consider that this step is a whole other blog (what this space).

However, to do this step of the process well, during a pandemic, such as the situation we find ourselves in currently, inducting, onboarding and training will take more time and effort. It is not impossible; it’s important to share the load. Get all of your team involved in setting your new employee up for success. Teaching them your way and training them in your processes takes time. In normal circumstances your new employee would be sitting alongside others and overhearing conversations. They’d be able to ask the person sitting next to them am I on the right track with this. They don’t get this opportunity when working remotely or with limited training. The training process will be slower, that’s not your new employees fault; it’s the reality of the world we are trying to operate in at the moment. Be patient with them. Communicate more than you normally would and plan for the training time or the period for them to get up to speed to be double (maybe even triple) what it normally would be. The key for success here is to be realistic with your expectations, put yourself in their shoes and be prepared to coach, mentor and lead; your new employee is relying on you!

 

Angela Connor is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource and career coaching companies. She understands the significance of having the right team of people in a business and is passionate about helping business to attract, recruit and engage the right people so those people can inject their talents into the business; creating an environment where they can do great work and love what they do. Find more useful information and advice at www.inspirehq.com.au or by following Angela on LinkedIn.

Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to act based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.

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