As if running a company wasn’t already challenging enough.

As if there wasn’t an astronomically high demand for technical talent, salary ranges that are a bit out of whack, and companies all competing for the unicorn autonomy engineer.

Companies are now faced with how to continue the hiring process amidst the COVID-19/Coronavirus outbreak. 

Many large employers are solving the problem by simply suspending new hires until the situation is under control. Or, if not suspending, severely limiting hires.

Smaller organizations don’t always have the same luxury.

Is there a way to leverage this situation into an opportunity? I’m not talking about taking advantage in a negative way, but I am saying keep the pedal to the metal on your hiring plans!

Most candidates will not slow their job search through this time period. They’ll continue to search job boards, apply for jobs and entertain their options.

In fact, many candidates who are newly working remote may even have more time to conduct their search instead of spending their time commuting. 

Companies that can adjust their processes to work within some of the current confines will be able to scoop great candidates while others are sitting idle.

What steps can you take?

  • Review and Refresh all of the job postings for your company. Candidates are more likely to apply to fresh posts and most aggregator job boards post jobs based on date and paid ads. By refreshing the posted date, your ads drive to the top of the listing and will get more views.
  • Consider Paid Ads.  Even if your company does not normally use paid job ads, consider adding a line item on the budget for them now. Or consider expanding what is already in place to help ensure your ads are being viewed and earning high traffic.
  • Use Virtual Interviews as a way to conduct meetings and still have managers and candidates meet ‘in-person.’ Not only does this mitigate risk and exposure, but it helps drive down the overall cost to hire.
  • Online Skills Testing tools and live whiteboards are great for those technical interview sessions where you need to see candidates perform skills live or be able to watch as they work through a problem. Engineers, especially, should be used to using tech already and likely will welcome the idea of interviewing with a company that uses tech intelligently.
  • Electronic On-Boarding and E-Training for New Hires. Many companies use electronic on-boarding software now to replace the dreaded stack of paper that needs to be filled out on an employee’s first day. The software is pretty inexpensive, easy to set up and fully compliant to meet regulations.  Consider setting this up if not already in place to complete that portion of the process without ever needing to set pen to paper. And while you’re at it, have the tech team ship out computers that are already set up and ready to go so new employees can log in on their first day, join virtual meetings and start getting integrated with the team.

We are seeing more and more companies, particularly those in travel-focused industries such as aero, curtailing or stopping hiring activities amidst the COVID-19 risk and overall uncertainty. While this could eventually cascade and affect many other industries, working now to continue the flow of candidates coming through the door will help prepare your business for when things get back to normal. Having deep pipelines of candidates, keeping the conversations moving forward and finding alternative ways to conduct the hiring process show candidates that your company is committed to the future and wants them to be part of that outlook.

A side bonus of all of this may just be that your company finds ways to work more efficiently and put plans like these into place for the long term.

Above all, the most important thing that companies can do through this ever-evolving situation is to communicate with their teams and candidates. Let your teams know that you are monitoring the situation and keeping their safety as your top priority. 

If there are going to be delays in hiring, talk about it upfront so candidates know what to expect. They will be more understanding if you’re candid. Frequent, fact-based communication is best and demonstrates that your company is being thoughtful about how to move forward. Now, that’s a business lesson that everyone should follow.

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