Just like every other facet of work, recruiting and hiring have been radically impacted by COVID-19. The same processes you have used for years became extinct overnight. But hidden in that disruption is an opportunity: Now is the time to reassess and rework your traditional hiring practices.
“Recruiters have been forced to stop and think about the purpose of each step in the hiring process,” says Atta Tarki, CEO and managing director of ECA Partners and author of “Evidence-Based Recruiting.” “They’ve had to become more intentional.”
When you shifted your recruiting and hiring processes to a remote environment, you had to consider each step in your process. Now that you’ve made that shift, you can measure the results to inform your long-term recruiting processes. Measure what tactics worked for your processes and goals — and what didn’t.
“People had to adopt new technologies at an unprecedented speed,” says Matt Alder, producer and host of The Recruiting Future Podcast and talent acquisition and innovation consultant at MetaShift. “Now is the time to check back and see how that’s worked.”
Identifying both the positive and problematic results of transitioning to remote hiring during the quarantine gives you the opportunity to refine your recruiting strategies moving forward. These three practices can boost recruitment in a COVID-19 world.
Incorporate Automation and Technology
Recruiters can expect to see an influx in applicants for open positions. As work ramps back up, you could be dealing with hundreds of candidates on a skeleton recruiting crew. Incorporating automation into your hiring process optimizes those processes so your recruiters can devote more time to finding the right talent and providing a better experience to candidates. “Automation will give recruiters the time and capacity to treat candidates in a more human way,” Alder says.
When you broke down your recruiting function for remote processes, you probably already identified points where you can optimize your process. These points are usually a good starting point for incorporating automation. For example, even simple tools like Calendly, which allows candidates to schedule their own interviews, can significantly reduce time spent on low-touch, administrative tasks like coordinating schedules. At another level, AI-driven assessments can automatically eliminate candidates who aren’t a good skills fit for the role. A robust ATS built for high-demand, high-volume hiring can help you automate workflows, improve your job seeker experience and monitor performance.
Match Hiring Processes to Overall Objectives
Inevitable changes in how we work will affect how we hire, too. With more work conducted remotely, the hiring process should match remote workflows. “Companies need to create processes for the objectives that they’ve got,” Alder says. If the job is remote, for example, use a remote interview. If the role is in an office but consists of over-the-phone sales or customer service, then conduct the interview over the phone. This will give you a better sense of how the candidate will actually perform in the role.
Breaking down your processes for remote recruiting required intentional consideration of each step in the process. That same intentionality should be applied to each position you’re hiring for, too. “There have to be clearer metrics on what ‘good’ looks like for each job,” Tarki says. “Groups that have traditionally been disadvantaged will be able to demonstrate that they meet or exceed the requirements of the job.”
The disruption caused by COVID-19 offers an opportunity to mitigate subjectivity in the interview process and replace it with clear metrics and objective criteria. This will help you make more equitable decisions and maintain EEOC compliance since hiring decisions will be made based on objective skills needed for open positions.
Build Flexible Accommodation Into the Process
In the age of COVID-19, flexibility is vital to your hiring processes. There is still a lot of fear and uncertainty regarding viral transmission, and many candidates are still full-time caregivers to children or parents. Flexible accommodations make the process more accessible for everyone.
In the short-term, candidates may be resistant to in-person interviews and recruiting for health and safety reasons, for instance. Those candidates may be immuno-compromised or live with someone who is. If the in-person interview is really important to your process, then you need to find ways to incorporate social distancing, such as conducting the interview in a private outdoor space. “There are areas where you can be flexible, and it will land you better talent,” Tarki suggests.