How to Recruit and Hire Top Talent During The Pandemic

Apr 5, 2021

Over the past year we have seen traditional hiring practices go out the window. From multiple on-site interviews, lunches, “Meet the Team”, Handshaking, Ride-Along or job shadow days. It goes without saying, many companies have made some serious changes to their hiring process and still managing to recruit top talent. Let’s look at how they are still attracting the best candidates to their companies.

Is There a Need to Hire During the Pandemic?

Many companies this time last year pulled a full stop on hiring amid the announcement of a global pandemic, as we learned more about the impacts of Covid-19 on the global economy and markets. Companies went into full panic mode with global trade plummeting. “Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) plunged 6,400 points, an equivalent of roughly 26%.” This sent all industries initially into a panic and a recruiting and hiring freeze, until there was a better understanding of how particular industries were going to be impacted by the fallout. For those where business continuity was viable, we saw a massive shift to virtual meeting and work from home mandates, but the hiring and recruiting freeze was still not lifted well into at least 6 months after the initially global pandemic status was announced in March 2020.

Many strategies were adopted from the tech industry, where a flexible work from home culture, virtual meetings and communication technologies were already heavily leveraged for their workforce. So it would make sense that many tech companies were able to not only survive, but thrive amid the pandemic. We saw more industrial sectors and industries scramble to catch up by introducing these practices and technologies to adapt.

A year into the pandemic, companies now have a better understanding of their plan’s success to adapt and ability to grow sustainably throughout the past year, it became apparent to many at this point that this was going to be a long-term play.

Numerous industries even had hyper-growth as a result of the pandemic and saw their ability to deliver on their products or services virtually impossible to make good on without recruiting and hiring more people to meet the increase demands.

  • Cleaning Services
  • Delivery Services
  • Grocery Stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Game companies
  • Fitness Equipment
  • Telehealth and teleservices
  • Healthcare
  • Tech Companies

Are a few of the industries that saw a substantial increase and demand for their products or services, for obvious reasons. Companies in these industries had to recruit and hire top talent, amid some of the most socially restricted mandates in recent history, so how did they do it?

Hire a Recruiting Agency to Assist With or Manage Your Recruiting and Hiring Process

Well firstly, they didn’t STOP doing certain things. They continued to keep new and upcoming job openings listed on job boards, which seems like the obvious thing to do. However, with record level unemployment, if your internal hiring team wasn’t equipped for the volume, this was the equivalent to opening up the flood gates and drowning your team in thousands of candidate applications, many of unqualified people who are desperate to find work. For those companies equipped to manage this type of volume, it was more or less business as usual, though accelerated. However, many tech start ups, and SMB companies do not have the time our resources to spend on sorting through thousands of applications during their recruitment efforts and would often times turn to recruiting agencies to assist with or even fully manage the recruitment and hiring process, so they could focus on other aspects of the business.

We as a recruitment agency lost many types of clients who could not adapt to the pandemic accordingly, but the upside was, we also noticed an increase in demand for recruitment agency services from the above mentioned industries, and many others. Make sure if you are choosing to work with a recruiting agency, that they have the necessary technologies and resources in place to adequately meet your recruitment and hiring needs during the pandemic, such as: video interviews, recordings, assessments and other valuable data, information or insights into candidates you are unable to meet in person, until perhaps the final interview or their start date, if it is not a remote role.

Pivot Your Recruiting/Hiring Process

Once you have a growing talent pool of candidates you are interested, whether you recruited them yourselves or with a recruiting agency, you need to make adequate substitutions for your won internal vetting processes before determining whether or not to hire somebody. For example, if you were traditionally a door-to-door business, perhaps you have successfully experimented with setting virtual meetings with prospective customers to initiate sales, instead of showing up to their place of business or home to run them through a sales presentation. Tools such as, Zoom, Google Meet, GoToMeeting and Microsoft Teams are all popular meeting software companies have leveraged to do this. Many companies have even seen a significant improvement in their top line using these technologies versus traditional in person meetings.

That being said, it is clear that “ride along” interviews, if a part of your recruiting and hiring process, are also no longer a viable option for your interview process. So what companies have done is now invite candidates to attend these virtual meetings as an observer, to see what a day in the life working there is like. Something we strongly recommend in place of the traditional in person shadowing days.

Broaden Your Recruiting and Talent Search

With the adoption of technologies and the ability for some, if not all, of your employees to work from home, many companies have also broadened the geography that they are willing to hire from. Some of our clients within Canada, have even gone as far as to hire contractors or employees in the United States and visa versa, for certain functions in their company such as sales and marketing. This only broadens your ability to recruit top talent from anywhere in North-America, gain a broader level of unique experiences and insight from other regions or markets and acquire recruit talented people into your organization that you might not have otherwise considered prior to 2020. In many cases, we have seen some of our clients expand their services into new markets and gain new customers that were previously out of reach, especially in virtual services specifically. You may even be able to acquire equal or greater talent for a lower salary if the region you recruit your new employees from has a lower cost of living. Say for example your head office is located in Los Angeles, but you have opened up new roles North-America wide, capitalizing on lower costs of living in the mid-western united states or capitalizing on the advantageous exchange rate of the USD in comparison to the CAD if you hire a Canadian employee. So the advantages, far outweigh any negatives in accepting virtual work as the the norm, and as something that will remain in place long after the pandemic is over.