July 14, 2021 - Management


Four Things That Do Not Change for Recruiting and Hiring During A Crisis

By Jeremy Eskenazi

Unfortunately in business, there will always be another “crisis” to deal with. Whether it’s a health concern, a business concern with vendors, customers and/or employees, or an economic concern––it looks like these crises may be here to stay for a while, and you never know when they’ll turn up. While executives and upper management spend time in their ‘war rooms’ making important decisions about customer, vendor and employee interactions, there is an important audience that requires your focus and planning as well: job candidates.

The candidate experience has likely been mapped out and refined by your human resources department or hiring manager and getting it right is both an art and a science. Representing your brand from the very first interaction, through interviews and onboarding is all about building a strong relationship with the candidate. In the turbulent times you have ahead of you it becomes even more important to bring your candidate experience to life, even if it’s done from afar. As you think about your strategy to keep the hiring engines on and bring in the talent your organization needs for the future, here are four key elements of the experience that should not change during any crisis.

Consistent Communication

You will need to communicate in new ways and often through different channels such as your company’s job candidate portal, email, phone, or a video conferencing platform. It is important do not let your touchpoints or interaction with candidates go quiet! It’s even more important now to stay connected through phone, video, text, chat, or carrier pigeon– whatever you use as your remote tool. Consider doubling your efforts to reassure candidates your hiring engine is not going to be turned off during this period and that their application is still under review. However you choose to communicate with job candidates, make sure your communications are timely, relevant to the hiring stage they are at, and consistent.

Set Clear Expectations

In your communications, one area to be clear, consistent, and sure about are expectations during the hiring process. If your company has suspended all travel and banned visitors to your office, that is a reasonable business move at this moment. However, not telling candidates that you’ve made this move is not!

If you had shared with a candidate that they will eventually be invited in for an in-person interview and that can’t happen anymore, be clear about the contingency plan, whether the hiring process will be paused based on the nature of the role and the circumstances of the crisis, and when you will take a next step if so. Not setting clear expectations for the candidate’s hiring process will lead to confusion and give them the sense that the company is not very organized or well-managed, which could cost your business a talented candidate.  

Keep Interviewing

Video interviewing is not new – but not every company is using it. You don’t need a fancy tool to conduct video interviews. It can be any two-way video chat service that you use to establish a visual connection to your candidates. If you do have a video interviewing tool in place, you can continue to scale your hiring efforts and build a talent pipeline – but make sure that your efforts include clear and consistent communication and that candidate expectations for the process are clear. If you are not entering a hiring freeze, talent acquisition teams should continue as much of their usual operation as possible using remote tools to conduct interviews.

Be Prepared for Hiring During a Crisis

Recruiters are the face of your company for most candidates. Arming them with the latest updates, decisions, business impacts, and positive steps your company is taking during this crisis is very important. These are details that the best candidates will want to know before deciding to accept an offer of employment. Much like you would share a new product release, award, or new executives named at the company, updates about your safety and productivity efforts should be available for recruiters to share with candidates who will likely have questions about how your organization is protecting employees, the financial impact of the crisis that might change the company’s outlook, or leading efforts to keep communities safe.

Virtual or In-Person Interviews: Which is Best?

It’s a daunting time to worry about your health and the health of those you care about. There are complexities from manufacturing and retail roles that are only done in person. Trying to work in new ways to get a sense for who someone is in more corporate roles without being able to meet them in person also presents challenges that are unique to our current worldwide crisis. While many companies have moved their hiring process online through video interviewing, many other companies are asking candidates if they feel comfortable coming to a business location for interviews knowing there might be some risk to those who will be present. Both sides are trying to navigate the pros and cons of virtual and in-person interviews in an effort to have the best matched talent in each role.

A Good Candidate Experience is Paramount

Through all the uncertainty and differing opinions on what the best approach forward is, remember that the candidate experience must remain top of mind. It is what will set your organization apart from others in the eyes of the candidate. How you treat candidates now will impact your ability to hire for the foreseeable future. If you don’t know the answer to timelines, travel guidance, or your office policies are in flux right now, that’s OK!

Many companies are making decisions every day in real time as new information comes to light. Communicating badly, not being clear about expectations, stopping your talent acquisition engines, and keeping your Recruiters or HR teams in the dark are all easy pitfalls that will lead to many roles in your organization going unfilled, or not matched to the best talent in your pool! Many businesses may be in a state of change for the foreseeable future. It is not a place anyone wants to be in - but everyone is - so you have to make sure to keep focused on engaging with candidates to show them that regardless of any external factor, that your company is great place to be. 

About the Author: Jeremy Eskenazi is an internationally recognized speaker, author of RecruitConsult! Leadership, and founder of Riviera Advisors, a boutique Recruitment/Talent Acquisition Management and Optimization Consulting Firm. Jeremy is not a headhunter, but a specialized training and consulting professional, helping global HR leaders transform how they attract top talent at some of the world’s most recognized companies. For more information on Jeremy Eskenazi, please visit: www.RivieraAdvisors.com

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