Four Ways to Adjust Your Hiring Strategy Amidst a Pandemic

by Jack Parodi 01/08/2021

Hiring during any recession is a difficult task. Pair that with a global pandemic and a social climate that’s timid as ever, and you’ll find yourself in an even more unique, challenging circumstance.

Your usual hiring tactics might not be effective this time around. It’s time to reinvent the way you do things to accommodate for the current conditions.

Here are four things to consider to adapt to today’s hiring landscape:

1.  Don’t hold off on hiring your top candidate

In the past, companies may have felt like they had the upper hand in the hiring process. But that’s not always the case, especially in fields like Finance and Accounting. Regardless of what the overall national unemployment numbers might suggest, Finance and Accounting don’t see the same unemployment impact. At the end of the day, someone has to close the books and balance the budgets, whether employment rates are up or down.

Because of that, the number of available candidates — especially top tier ones — can be lower than you might think. When you have a great candidate, don’t let them go or make them wait in hopes of a “better” candidate coming your way soon. Chances are you found “the one.” Simply put, hire that top candidate. Don’t regret waiting and going back to the drawing board.

2.  Prioritize permanent positions

As an employer, you may be tempted to post a position as temp-to-hire versus a permanent placement. While temp-to-hire has its place for certain situations, it may not always be the most reliable option.

Think about it from a candidate’s perspective: While they may take any legitimate offer that comes their way when unemployed, a temporary position holds a fraction of the weight than a permanent one does. A candidate may be ready to start at your company in a few days, but if they receive an offer for a full-time job elsewhere, chances are they’ll take it to ensure long-term job security.

This scenario has happened far too often since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, leaving temp-to-hire positions looking less than ideal than they were in the past. Are you looking for another way to secure top talent right now? Hire on a permanent basis if you can.

3.  Show candidates your employee-first mentality

Regardless of unemployment rates, hiring trends have shown the importance of remaining competitive and nimble over the last few years. Candidates want more than just a job — they want to know the company is a good fit. Many of their interview questions now focus on culture, diversity and inclusion, corporate social responsibility, and flexibility. If your company isn’t the right fit for them, they won’t take the job. That’s true in any job market and is still valid even during a pandemic. One surefire way you can do this is by leveraging one of the few benefits that have resulted from the pandemic — working remotely.

When hiring based on location, you have a very select pool of candidates to choose from. For instance, if you’re hiring for a Los Angeles position, you might stick around the vast surrounding suburbs, possibly branching off into the San Diego area. However, with the prevalence and success of remote working, you can broaden that search range exponentially.

For that same role, if you’re providing the opportunity to work fully remote, you’ve multiplied your candidate pool tenfold. And while that may mean more shuffling around to find the best candidate, you’re also bound to see plenty more diamonds in the rough, giving your company a far better chance of landing top-tier talent. Expanding a candidate’s ability to work remotely will also make your company more attractive to a candidate, as it shows your flexibility and willingness to adapt.

Another way you can level-up your appeal to a candidate is by staying fiscally competitive. Being in a recession doesn’t mean you should offer lower compensation. Pay new employees just as you would typically to remain competitive in the field. Competitive pay shows the candidate your interest in them and can help you move faster on sealing the deal. Otherwise, you risk losing out on a great candidate and falling behind in your search.

4.  Have a clear company policy around COVID

Especially right now, is there anything more important than health and safety? More than ever, people have put a greater emphasis on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and feeling safe in their work environment. Having a transparent, thought-out COVID policy for your company is now crucial to attracting candidates.

Health and safety translate into the hiring process as well. Whether it’s demonstrating that you have a safe method for in-office and remote scheduling, how the interview process will go (virtually versus in-person), or anything in between, you have to be able to answer candidates’ questions regarding your approach to COVID-19. By having one that’s clear and concise, you’ll attract more top-tier talent to your company, as it demonstrates your company’s organizational and thoughtful prowess.

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