How to Recruit Effectively in a Pandemic


Has your organisation put recruitment on hold?

According to a recent CIPD report on embedding post-pandemic ways of working, 44% of the organisations surveyed are recruiting as usual. Meanwhile, 19% have either increased, or are planning to increase, their recruitment activity.

These figures point to the fact that, Covid or no Covid, postponing recruitment plans isn’t an option for every organisation. For some, the pandemic may even have fuelled a need to replace and upscale their workforce.

Yet with severely limited social interaction, and with the vast majority of office-based staff now working from home, there are several barriers to effective recruitment.

For example, it could be many months before a new joiner is able to take a tour of your office, or meet the rest of the team in person. How can you ensure they feel like a valued part of your organisation, if right from their first day, they are working from home?

Here are some suggestions on how to adjust your recruitment process, so your organisation can attract, engage, and onboard the right people during the pandemic.

Drill down into the detail

There are some positives to virtual recruitment. With no travel expenses to cover, and a potentially wider candidate pool to choose from, there can be much to appreciate.

However, you will need to be much more mindful about finer details getting lost in the process. One example is location: you may be recruiting and onboarding virtually, but will the successful candidate be expected to continue working from home once the pandemic is over?

Providing as much clarity as possible, not just about the role, but about performance expectations, and the general working environment both now and in the future, will help your organisation attract the right candidates to interview.

Adjust your interview technique

It can be harder to build rapport in an online interview. Key visual cues we often take for granted can be missed, while speaking to a screen adds an extra layer of formality.

You can help navigate any potential awkwardness by showing empathy towards the individual challenges that candidates have faced during the pandemic, and by asking questions that focus on the positive. Examples include asking what motivates them, and how they like to work.

You could also use the interview as an opportunity to check each candidate’s technical set-up for home working, so you can make the right preparations for the successful one.

Create an effective virtual onboarding process

A recent onboarding report by Capita states that employees are much more likely to feel welcome, “if they receive a personalised experience and feel supported by their manager, able to readily access the learning and information they need, and have clear ways to connect with other people.”

Use technology to create a central ‘hub’ of accessible, easily navigable company information for new joiners – this could even include a virtual office tour. You could also schedule a series of introductory online coffee meetings with key team members.

Before they start work on their first day, make sure each new joiner knows exactly who they should approach if and when they have questions. Think about assigning each one a ‘buddy’ from your existing team, who can help them get to know your organisation on a more informal level.

Further information and support

The CIPD have developed a regularly updated ‘responding to the coronavirus’ hub, which provides information and advice for employers.

If you would like to discuss your organisation’s recruitment and onboarding procedure in further detail, our expert team at Viridian HR would be very happy to answer your questions, and provide personally tailored advice. Simply get in touch.

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