The ongoing COVID pandemic has resulted in varying impacts for businesses. Among the numerous facets of operations that have been affected, recruitment and hiring is a function greatly impacted. With firms having to reassess their hiring and onboarding, we connected with Shreerang Tarte, HR Specialist at JSM Consulting, to understand how firms are affected, coping mechanisms, and the best way forward.
Unfolding the crisis and its current impact on hiring
The immediate overall impact of the pandemic saw firms opting for a cautious approach with limited to no hiring across levels. While no one could have foreseen a situation like COVID, nevertheless, almost half a year into the pandemic, here we all are mastering the art of ‘working from home’. This has definitely forced firms to rethink their hiring strategies.
The immediate impact included firms redirecting hiring budgets from the initial logistical requirements (walk-ins, mass recruiting drives, etc.) to other initiatives viz. branding, communications, investment in virtual platforms, and the like. The focus for recruiters now is to leverage the boons of virtual platforms and ensure a positive experience for candidates. Hence, they need to rethink and allocate budgets to deliver a better experience virtually. While doing that, they also need to ensure the new recruitment initiatives comply with legal and safety regulations.
University recruiting and lateral hiring
—the new outlook
Since the hiring landscape is inching closer and closer to complete transformation, using hiring and recruiting tactics that were prevalent in the pre-pandemic era would prove to be unfruitful post COVID! The Corona-situation will drive the next course of action until we have a cure in sight. This means social distancing norms will be followed for the foreseeable future—so calling people for walk-ins and mass recruiting is not a possibility. While the investment in virtual platforms is increasing, the onus also lies on firms; they should be researching and employing innovative tools and developing microsites to bring candidates on a common platform to connect and engage.
This is the time for hiring managers and recruiters to leverage the social mediums and create an exceptional employer branding experience since the traditional campus visit is no longer possible. This is very crucial as these company-specific videos, conversations, and topics are what will compel or prevent candidates from joining an organization. Firms can also set up virtual tours to give prospective employees a feel of the office premises.
Similarly, when it comes to lateral hiring, assessment platforms will play a key role for initial rounds of technical selection. Further rounds will need to move on to virtual video platforms as opposed to the physical meetings. Investing in good software, therefore, is key for firms to ensure success with recruitment initiatives. At the same time, recruiters need to work on accurately assessing candidates via virtual platforms while also ensuring they are comfortable in the online interview process.
In-person interviews, although unlikely for a while, will have to be scheduled strictly; candidates would be given time slots, and they would be required to present themselves in that slot itself for the later selection rounds. In such instances, it is the recruiter’s prerogative to be mindful of the surroundings and the health of the team involved in the process for such in-person interviews.
Building a pipeline for the future
Even when things ease out and are seemingly under control, there is no predicting which way the economy will turn. So, it’s safe to assume, consumers will be a little more cautious in purchasing products and services. Therefore, recruiters need to take the firm’s immediate expectations at least for the year into account. They would also need to determine the most crucial profiles/skills the firm will need and set up the plan and processes to bring in the required technical competencies in-house. The organization and the clients (in case of services/consulting) will define the next wave of hiring for the following 6-7 months or a year out. Once the requirement is clear, leverage your existing databases, social platforms, and job-search portals to build your pipeline. In some cases, companies can go a step further with a dedicated microsite for candidates, which will act as a hub for an end-to-end recruitment. A lot of budget is allocated towards branding on social platforms as gen-Z and millennials are more likely to apply on these channels. Employee referrals and internal job postings should also be considered for a solid pipeline.
Defining success for virtual recruiting
We’re a data-driven people. We’re exploring the new way to hire but the success elements of recruiting remain, more or less, the same. Track resume to interview ratio, interview to actual offer ratio, and compare that against the offers rolled out to the actual joiners on the day. It’s the leakages in between these stages that will help understand which channels are working better, what engagement tactics are resonating well with prospective employees, and at what point are they losing interest and drop off. The new measurement metrics will be defined by the sophisticated offerings of the virtual platforms implemented within the organization. Dashboards and reporting within the platforms will help teams make data-driven decisions.
Remote will be the reality for a long foreseeable future. With giants like Google and Facebook already offering employees the choice to work from home until the end of the year, the firms that can afford to do so will soon follow suit. Recruiters and hiring managers would need to focus their efforts to virtual platforms. They must ensure recreating the in-person experience as best possible to ensure a quality candidate pipeline who are eager to be part of their organization’s story. Fortunately, we are living in an era of technological innovation and necessity has truly been the mother of (in our case) innovation! Technologies, tools, and platforms will further enable Human Resources professionals to spread their brand’s voice and help secure quality candidates. It is then up to our Human Resources to determine how they leverage technology to recreate a truly human experience in the virtual world.