Why You Should Keep Recruiting during the Coronavirus Crisis

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Coronavirus has disrupted countless businesses. Some companies have stopped work altogether while others have scaled down operations to wait out the storm. Many organizations have had to retrench workers or cut hours and benefits. So, it’s no wonder that a lot of HR departments have put the brakes on recruitment, suspending posting, sourcing and hiring activities. At first glance, this might make sense: why keep recruiting when the future is uncertain? But look closer and you’ll see that there is greater risk in not doing anything.

In fact, it could well be that now is the best time to keep your recruiting activities going.

Be Out in Front in the Competition for Talent

No one knows exactly when work as we knew it will return to normal. Some industries will be slower than others to get back on track. But eventually the coronavirus crisis will end, and when it does one thing is for certain: the competition for top talent will be fierce, just like it was before. The positions that were hardest to fill before the pandemic will still be hard to fill.

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Think about how the recruitment landscape looked just a few short months ago. In January, for instance, a Manpower study showed that global talent shortages were at a record high, with 54 percent of companies complaining of not being able to find enough skilled applicants to meet demand. In 2019, countries like the UK, U.S. and Germany were reporting their lowest unemployment rates in decades and issuing dire warnings about the impact of worker shortfalls in key skill areas.

While coronavirus is hitting the economy hard today, it is highly unlikely that talent shortages are going away. And now you have an opportunity. If you continue recruitment during the coronavirus crisis, you have a huge advantage over companies that have mothballed hiring recently. It may take them weeks to start up again, but you can begin filling vacancies right away, especially with hard-to-find candidates who may not be attracting as much attention from other organizations.

What’s more, says Martina Ruiss, Personio’s head of HR, by totally freezing your hiring activities your company risks being understaffed when the crisis ends and the team needs to focus fully on ramping up the business again.

Take Advantage of Talent on the Market

Widespread layoffs and struggling businesses are just two of the sad consequences of this pandemic. Yet there is a silver lining: talented individuals will be looking for work on an unprecedented scale in coming months. “It’s an ideal time to start talking to them,” Ruiss advises. Even professionals who still have jobs might be re-thinking their career interests after the crisis — maybe looking for positions with flexible work arrangements or ready to switch to industries that are more stable in financial downturns. Whatever the case, the candidate market will be active, and this is the perfect environment to be hiring in. Keep recruitment going during the coronavirus crisis, and you are best positioned to attract these sought-after employees.

Tips on Recruiting during Coronavirus

It’s understandable that you might not be able to move full speed ahead with all recruiting efforts right now. After all, many organizations are unsure what the financial picture will look like on the other side of this crisis. And that can have a big impact on hiring budgets. Remember, though, that hiring is not a short-term process. It can take months from job posting to onboarding, so use the time now to build your talent pipeline, recommends Ruiss. “You can already connect with people right now, maybe do interviews and keep them engaged.” That way, you’ll have suitable candidates ready to become hires once you are able to make offers.

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Prioritize positions that are consistently difficult to fill and ones that are mission-critical. In addition, keep up your employer branding activities, invite interested candidates to submit speculative applications and keep in touch with them. This will keep you a step ahead of the companies that have suspended their recruitment efforts during the pandemic, and ensure your organization has access to the most qualified talent.