Covid-19 and the New Recruitment Challenges: How Recruitment Should Adapt to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Despite the fear and uncertainty surrounding humanity’s latest global challenge, economies around the world are still holding and our societies are functioning -almost- normally.

However, as the Covid-19 coronavirus went from an outbreak to a full-on global pandemic. The general public is confined to their homes and this spells trouble for businesses and institutions across all sectors.

Employment rates (which hit historic highs at the end of 2019) have taken a dip, and many companies are considering halting their hiring process until the situation improves.

Rather than panic or chalk recruitment and employment up as failed ventures, employers should be considering ways to ensure that their offices and prospective employees are safe from the Covid-19 threat.

There are 3 points that employers and candidates should consider:

  1. The threat of coronavirus does not mean no one is hiring or that candidates aren’t actively looking for placements.
  2. We have the means to prepare and protect people in the workplace.
  3. You can easily digitize your work and recruitment flow.

Digitize Your Recruitment

Yes, a worldwide outbreak is a good enough reason to hesitate. But understanding how the threat spreads and how people contract the virus can help you better prepare your recruitment process. Chances are that you’re sourcing candidates online. Whether you’re using social media, online job portals, advanced ATS or recruitment software, this phase of the process does not need to change. There’s very little contact with the candidate beyond phone calls and emails.

The Interview

Digital interviews are an absolute win in this situation. Not only do you protect yourself, your employees, and the applicant, but you also provide your prospects with a measure of flexibility. Asking candidates to interview remotely, from a personal or familiar setting is a commonly well-received concept. In fact, with the Covid-19 situation, the gesture alone will most likely make them want to work for you even more.

The Candidate

Beyond the interview phase, contact with the candidate might cross over from the digital world. At this point, employers would be worrying over whether the disease would hitchhike its way in on the candidate’s first day on the job. But interview questions could be the solution here. Make sure to ask your candidate if they’ve traveled to affected areas in the past few weeks, whether they exhibited symptoms and so on. Though unconventional, these questions are a necessity given the worldwide exposure to this coronavirus. It’s important to note that the above is valid so long as it does not breach or conflict with your local laws and regulations. If a candidate is suspected of being exposed to COVID-19, a self-imposed quarantine is highly recommended.

The situation is different for recruitment agencies. As they typically manage large candidate databases, it might become a touch too difficult to keep track of which candidate has been traveling lately, which have or have not quarantined themselves, and so on. Such agencies should consider utilizing an applicant tracking system. Though there is no definitive way to track symptoms in potential candidates, Manatal’s ATS allows users to add customizable fields and tags to their candidate profiles. This can be leveraged during the interview, as soon as the questions we mentioned earlier are answered.

The Model

The way employees motivate each other in an office setting is an important factor for maintained productivity. It’s a simple psychological fact that we adopt and display similar characteristics to our coworkers. This is mainly the reason employers shy away from the remote work model.

On the other hand, if you’re hiring during the Covid-19 pandemic, it might make sense to adopt this model, both for new recruits and current employees. In fact, with how disturbing the outbreak is, you can consider offering remote work to your candidates and employees until the situation settles. Either way, this model is a perfectly valid option to maintain your operations throughout this crisis. Perhaps consider an ATS with onboarding features that help you track and evaluate the candidate’s performance throughout their remote work journey.

The Talent Gap

The talent gap has been a recurring global challenge for years now. Employers have been dealing with this issue the best way they can, by hiring and training candidates who do not yet have the knowledge or skill for the position.

The solution itself is an admirable one despite that it requires significantly more time and effort to get these candidates up to speed. Though the pandemic will most likely make the search for the right talent a bit more difficult, it also gives you the chance to consider global recruitment. Most people will be avoiding travel for the foreseeable future, and the talent you need might just be looking for work somewhere across the world. Being open to the long-distance remote work model can help you build the team you’ve always wanted; the right talent for the right job.

When computers were first developed and the internet reared its head, everyone foresaw working from home as the end result. Now we’re at a point where we might actually have to. We have an entirely digital world at our disposal. Depending on the role, you might not have to be in the office to do your job.

Preparation is Key

Whether employers decide to go for remote work or keep to the office model, it’s important to remember that the global outbreak isn’t as worrisome for some people as it is for others. Create a culture of hygienic practices in the workplace in which your employees maintain their welfare. (through regular use of hand sanitizer, limited physical contact such as handshakes, awareness of their physical wellbeing, etc). Even if you don’t want to risk hiring until it’s all over, you can still prepare for it. Digitize your recruitment, leverage virtual meetings, forge online connections, and maintain conversations with promising talents for future placements.

The Covid-19 pandemic will eventually pass. We don’t know when, and we don’t know how long it will last. But we do know that recruitment doesn’t have to grind to a halt for this crisis to pass. If anything, whenever this outbreak ends, employers will have very little time to hire candidates and position themselves for the next phase of growth.

Click here to read more about Manatal's support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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