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May 4, 2020

7 Pieces of Recruiting Advice from HR Leaders During COVID-19

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Checkr Editorial

The COVID-19 crisis has had sudden, deep impacts on the way we work. In particular, it’s changed the way recruiters manage their day-to-day roles. 

For recruiters working in essential businesses such as on-demand food delivery, grocery, or supply chain, hiring is up, and they are incredibly busy. These recruiters are interacting with candidates who are stressed, nervous, and anxious. Meanwhile, other recruiters who work at businesses on hiring freezes have had to shift their priorities away from talent attraction to process improvement. Regardless of if hiring is up or down right now, recruiters are at the frontlines of sourcing and converting top talent—which is a difficult feat nowadays.  

We collected advice from top HR leaders around the country on this very topic. We asked them, “If your organization was hiring right now, what advice would you give to your recruiting team?” 

Read on to discover their best advice to recruiters in uncertain times: 

1. Form a lasting connection 


"With recruiters and candidates spending more time interviewing remotely, it's important to approach these interactions in a structured yet human way. You don’t have to be all business right from the beginning of the conversation—use the first few moments of your call to share a little bit about yourself, your role and the company in order to form a connection. Whether remote or in-person, every touchpoint can be an opportunity to promote your company's culture and learn more about the candidate."

- Jacqui Maguire, Director of Talent Acquisition, Greenhouse Software

2. Automate your processes 


“Keep your hiring process safe and easy for both yourself and your candidates. Think about how you can automate your processes and shorten your time to hire so that candidates hear back quickly. Previously, 37% of hourly workers said “being hired quickly” was the most important factor when choosing where to work, and in the current climate, that will be even more true. With so many job seekers looking for work, many will take the first job they’re offered. Make sure your hiring process is efficient so the first offer they get is from you.”

- Derek Williamson, CEO, HigherMe



"You don’t have to be all business right from the beginning of the conversation—use the first few moments of your call to share a little bit about yourself, your role and the company in order to form a connection."

3. Be honest and transparent 


"What always resonates the most is honesty. Most people are hesitant about making a move in this type of economy. Be transparent about the state of the business and why the role is valuable and necessary even in this climate. Candidates need to get a sense of stability and confidence in general, but even more so now." 

- Arthur Yamamoto, VP of Talent, Checkr 

 4. Show your humanity 


"Uncertainty during a pandemic can be cause for worry, and focusing on the things that you can control can keep you going. Your hiring process and how you choose to interview your candidates are both controllable factors. Document your hiring process and strategy and report on the metrics you want to analyze for success.

Make the most out of your video interviews, especially if you are used to interviewing candidates in person. Get to know your candidates and show the human side of your hiring process by starting the conversation off with questions about how things are going for them and learning a little bit about their work environment. A little small talk can make a candidate feel much more comfortable, allowing them to let their personality shine during the interview. 

Remember, just as you have some work from home distractions, so will your candidates. Try to be sensitive to children at home, dogs barking, or having to move schedules around. Grace goes a long way."

- Darren Bounds, CEO, Breezy 



"Uncertainty during a pandemic can be cause for worry, and focusing on the things that you can control can keep you going."

5. Give & receive grace


“Many times hidden opportunities can be found in challenging times. Jump on basic business “housekeeping” tasks like clearing out your email and voice mailboxes to get yourself as organized as possible. Identify ways to elevate your talents & polish your skill set—look for blogs to read, podcasts to follow, attend classes, or get certifications. Tackle a project that would be meaningful for you and your organization like determining your conversion rates. Use “staple” roles within your company to build up a pipeline of talent, even perhaps focus on increasing your diverse talent pipelines for future use.  Most importantly, give yourself grace during this difficult time—find resources to build resilience and psychological safety.”

- Althea Gordon, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition, Paylocity 

6. Respect your candidates

 
"The most important thing recruiters can do right now is to communicate openly with their candidates. Keep conversations honest; if there is a hiring freeze communicate when that freeze might end. This keeps a candidate from going cold or feeling left out of communications. Candidates will likely be disappointed that you can't bring them on right away, but they will remember and respect that you took the time to keep them in the loop. No matter what the current hiring status is at your company, you always want to be engaging with top talent, even if it is unlikely that you could onboard them immediately."

- Angie Wideman-Powell, Human Resources Director, ClearCompany Talent Management

7. Look for impacted talent  


“If your organization has expanded its hiring and you're busier than ever, go after low-hanging fruit. Take the time to find out about layoffs and connect with HR professionals at those organizations if you can. There are many LinkedIn pages, websites, and even Facebook groups geared to recruiters for layoff alerts. If those organizations are cutting down their staff, those employees will want to move quickly, and you could be the means of helping impacted employees find relatively immediate employment in a difficult time while adding great people to your company.  Be ready to answer questions about your company's own financial stability. It will go a long way to build the trust people need at this time.”

- James (J.D.) Conway, Head of Talent Acquisition, BambooHR

Thank you to these leaders for sharing their advice with us. If your hiring is way up or way down, we know this is a difficult time for recruiters. We are cheering you on! We are excited to hear your stories of growth and learning through adversity. 

If you are looking to learn how to hire in an all-remote setting, be sure to join us on May 28th for our webinar with Greenhouse, InVision, GitLab, and Delivery Drivers Inc. Register here to save your spot today.



"The most important thing recruiters can do right now is to communicate openly with their candidates."

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