COVID-19 has changed the entire world. We will always look back to a time that was clearly different before COVID-19 entered into our lives in early 2020.

COVID-19 has changed the way we do pretty much everything.

From going to the grocery store, to going shopping for fun, to the way people work, to how movies and music is consumed, to how businesses operate …….. Every person has been affected. This also includes how people are hiring for open positions within their organizations.

image of hands and employment contract on wood table

While positions continue to open up as manufacturing companies ramp up production to pre-COVID levels, companies are tasked with trying to find and hire the right kind of people while trying to make complex arrangements for employees to return back to their facilities. Not an easy task for anyone, anywhere right now. 

This kind of change also extends right into the recruiting and hiring cycle. Managing employees and employee procedures, remaining flexible and being able to increase or decrease staffing as-needed and per project, and maintaining production workloads has become an even longer process for many businesses as they look at all the ways they can protect their workers, their customers and the public in general.

Traditionally speaking, hiring isn’t generally done in a passive way (although, if you don’t have an open position it certainly can be). Hiring is a very active and hands-on part of a businesses workflow. The entire recruiting and hiring process, that was once done often in person, cannot happen in that same capacity currently.

So what has changed and what can businesses do to find workarounds and best practices to ensure they continue to find top talent and fill open positions?

What has COVID-19 changed about the way businesses hire?

The short answer is: a lot.

The longer answer is: COVID-19 has changed interacting and connecting with job seekers, active recruitment of job seekers both for open positions and future positions, the way interviewing is done, how hiring works, and what the support businesses might need during and after finding the perfect hire. 

What is different about how you interact and connect with job seekers? 

Smiling businessman in headphones looking at laptop screen.

Long gone are the times in which you could meet job seekers at job fairs, college career fairs, or networking events.

Honestly, face-to-face scenarios to meet candidates are pretty much not happening anymore all over the country so it’s not just localized to one area. In addition, events that are being hosted may not see the same candidates as before as people are choosing to do what is best for their circumstances and families and not attending events out of an abundance of caution. 

Sourcing candidates for open jobs and to add them to a talent pool can’t be done in the traditional sense – so getting to know people who are looking for jobs to even get them interested in your business or your open positions is harder than it’s been before. The recommendation of small groups of people, no large social gatherings, increased space and social distancing, and mask wearing have removed the in-person sourcing and recruiting that helps businesses find talent.

Businesses are having to get smarter and more strategic about how they get their hiring message in front of potential candidates, which takes time and resources.

What has changed about the way interviewing is done?

Interviewing is being done more remotely than ever before. Before COVID-19, interviews could be conducted in-person and without worrying about masks or being distant from another person. 

Woman talking with an online communication officer with laptop. Home telework pandemic coronavirus covid 19 concept.

Now, it’s not the case. If in-person interviews are able to happen, masking and social distancing needs to be taken into consideration. This makes logistics harder and makes coordination a bit more of a multi-step process but it is certainly achievable if a business is willing to put in the extra work to really invest time and money into adopting a video conferencing platform and learning how to use it best for your needs. 

More often than not, HR departments and businesses are holding phone and video interviews.

This allows for HR personnel to conduct interviews when they are not in their buildings and are working from home. And the HR department has an even more stressful job than before – while there is an urgency to fill open positions it’s imperative that the position be filled with the right candidate even if it takes more time to find.

If the position is filled with a candidate that doesn’t align with business goals, the HR department (or person in charge of hiring) can cause a setback that can be costly and time-consuming to repair.

What has changed with hiring and hiring needs?

Hiring needs have changed too. While we touched on sourcing and recruiting earlier in this post, hiring needs overall have changed too. 

Cropped photo of attractive young man in office working with documents. Coworking.

This is where a well thought out hiring plan comes into play, and where you’ll have an advantage if you’ve taken the time to look at your recruiting and staffing needs and develop a plan for how to accomplish them.

Looking at your hiring needs means understanding your short and long term needs and goals. It also means knowing how many positions you have open now and how many you expect to have open in the future for things like new projects and increased productions during certain times of the year. 

Your hiring needs could also change depending on how your business has changed – online sales, supply chain disturbances, new projects, a change in what you have been manufacturing to something new, and introduction of automation in your process, and more. All of these directly affect your hiring and hiring needs and should be a driving factor in how and who you hire. 

You could also find out that you have a skills gap you need to work on fixing. This can mean finding candidates that have certain skills or re-skilling your current workforce. Short term and future goals need to be assessed for this step to ensure that goals are met. 

What can businesses do to maximize their sourcing, recruiting, hiring, and managing of employees?

First and foremost, evaluate your recruiting and staffing plan. It should be holistic and comprehensive since sourcing, recruiting, and hiring isn’t linear – it’s a circle, a continuous cycle. 

Businessman working at his office with documents and check the accuracy of information.

It’s imperative that you look at your recruiting and staffing plans because you may find that your hiring plans have drastically changed.

Where once you may have needed people for physical brick-and-mortar, you may find that you now need support associates to fill orders for your online store.

You could also find that where you once needed a certain amount of employees for standard production, but projects awarded to your business can cause you to need to ramp up recruiting and hiring and ramp them up fast. 

To help you decide what you need from recruiting and hiring, ask yourself these questions: 

  1. Are you hiring, are you in a hiring freeze, or are you stabilized?
  2. What roles do you need in the short and long terms?
  3. What is the total number of open positions you currently have? 
  4. What are your plans for sourcing and screening interested candidates for your open positions?

Answering these questions will help you decide what you need your hiring process to do for you now, post-COVID. 

Another important area of focus should be digital technology and how you can use it best for your needs. Make sure you are taking advantage of all of the digital technology that is available to source and connect with potential job seekers. This includes online networking events, mix and mingles, and other ways to connect with people online. 

Closeup of business woman hand typing on laptop keyboard

You can also spend some time and money on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and particularly LinkedIn. While spending time connecting with people on these platforms is great, you can also consider spending money on ads or boosting posts to get in front of the people you want to connect with. 

Really embracing additional technology like video conferencing for interviewing can allow you to quickly move good candidates through the hiring process faster than before.

While it may seem easier to attempt to wait for in-person interviews to become more “normal” again, it’s not a sure fire bet and could potentially allow another company to swoop in and take your candidate. A long interview process was already a reason that some people end up not finishing their interviews with a company, and post COVID-19 is no exception. Allowing candidates to complete interviews via video conferencing can keep the process running smoothly and without much interruption. 

Male applicant having job interview, employers reading resume, asking question. HR representatives hiring young business professional. Recruiting, cooperation, introduction concept. Close up top view

Make sure you also have a reputable partner that can help you with all of the new intricacies of sourcing, recruiting and hiring. There are staffing agencies out there that  can help give you back a lot of things: give you back time, energy, resources, and can also eliminate stress. 

Recruiting and staffing agencies are there to support and help you with hiring the right candidates that align with your business goals – now and in the future. 

GTR can help. 

Our holistic approach to recruiting and hiring means we work with our business partners to alleviate the stress that hiring can cause businesses right now. 

Our comprehensive approach to establishing the right strategic recruiting plan gives our clients a competitive advantage for talent and gives our contract associates access to reputable companies and quality positions to build their lives and careers.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you Build A Workforce That Works.