How to recruit during a pandemic

© Andrey Popov

Ben Harper, CEO & Founder of meethugo, walks us through how to recruit the right talent during the pandemic

If your business is looking to hire at the moment, you will notice very quickly that the process will be quite different than what you’re used to. For example, hiring new candidates through a series of in-person interviews or conversations to decide on who your next recruit will be is now no longer possible.

In this post, I’m going to share some of my own experiences of hiring in recent times, when I needed to recruit during a period of growth for my business.

Is your business ready to hire remotely?

The future of many businesses, and therefore the future of many in the job market, remains up in the air at the moment. This is why it’s so crucial for businesses to be flexible in order to adjust their stance to be able to adopt new recruitment processes until we’re able to go back to hiring face-to-face.

Due to the nature of what my business offers – providing specialised leads to companies through a business intelligence platform – we experienced massive growth during the initial lockdown period, and it became clear that we’d need to hire new recruits to keep up with these developments.

We interviewed potential candidates through a series of Zoom interviews and written assessments. After our recruitment drive, we ended up tripling our staff based in our UK office, which was strange, given that there were so many new members of the team that had never met each other. However, we were able to bed the new members of staff in by using a series of video meet and greets with myself and the current team.

My experience during lockdown has taught me that those that aren’t putting processes into place may find recruitment difficult now and in the post-pandemic world.

Put the word out

A good deal of top talent who were actively searching for a new role before the pandemic hit may assume that most businesses aren’t hiring at this time, which is why it’s crucial that you put the word out that you’re looking for new recruits.

Companies need to make it known that they are still going, still hiring and looking to move forward. Utilising social media, marketing campaigns and your website can be a great way to get the ball rolling.

You should also spend some time cleansing any current job postings you already have out there – new posts will gain the most traction, but those that have been posted even just a few weeks ago, could potentially be viewed as outdated.

Create a detailed recruitment procedure

If you’re actively looking for new hires during this time, as I’ve already mentioned, you need a detailed and thoughtful approach to recruitment.

Hiring remotely is a very different experience from hiring in person, and it is up to you and your management team to ensure that this process works for your business.

Much of the process for hiring new recruits is the same as it was before the pandemic when it comes to selecting candidates, narrowing them down and choosing those which you will interview. However, you need to ensure that the interviewee is completely aware of how the interview will take place, as it’s no longer a case of turning up and getting to know each other.

This includes:

  • Including all date, time and interviewer information.
  • Providing a link to the video conference.
  • Ensuring the candidate has the right technology available to them i.e. laptop for conference calls.

Remotely recruiting must involve providing plenty of information to prospective candidates and ensuring you’re closely scrutinising the applications that are coming in.

During a time like this, where many job roles are uncertain, you’re likely to receive a raft of CVs – many of which may not be relevant to the job role. Set clear standards beforehand on what you want in an applicant, reflect those desires in your job posting and cherry-pick those that meet your criteria.

As we’ve covered, while times are uncertain, you may find that you’re receiving CVs from those who don’t fit the bill, so it’s crucial that you’re able to make your way through the applicants quickly and efficiently.

Prioritise remote working skills

Because many in the UK and beyond are working remotely for the foreseeable future, it is in your company’s interests to place particular focus on skills that lend themselves to working remotely during the hiring process, these include, but are not limited to:

  • Communication skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Conscientiousness
  • Self-motivation

While you might not be working remotely for the long-term, by explicitly searching for these traits in job candidates it means that you can make the onboarding and transitional process much easier for your company, new starters and current workers, as they get used to learning to work in a different way.

From my perspective, we run remote offices in both the US and in Germany, so we already had procedures in place for those working remotely, but if you don’t it’s certainly worth sitting down and ironing these out.


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