Most businesses threw their 2020 strategic game plan out the window. That included their recruiting and hiring changes. But here’s the good news: A recent study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia predicts the U.S. economic recovery will start in the third quarter, with job gains averaging 2.3 million per month.
Aim to be ahead of the curve when that happens.
“The coronavirus shutdown taught many businesses how to run leaner, more efficiently. Those lessons can be applied to recruiting and retention as we move forward,” says The HT Group Co-Founder and CEO Mark Turpin. “There’s a lot of great talent out there looking for jobs. Some are without a job for the first time in their careers, and they won’t be unemployed for long. Now is the time to recruit them, using the lessons we’ve learned the past few months to guide you.”
He recommends starting with the following six strategies:
1. Strengthen your contingent workforce
Manufacturers, healthcare organizations, technology companies, online retailers, distribution companies, and more—from Toyota and Amazon to smaller, regional brands—are hiring temporary workers to meet the increased demand for their goods and services. The flexibility of a contingent workforce is just what many companies need right now, but that’s not the entire appeal. Temporary staffing can also come with the support and guidance of a knowledgeable staffing firm.
Reputable temporary staffing firms are a breath of fresh air in times like these. They can prescreen and train workers, and they can serve as a partner in understanding new safety and regulatory standards as well. Some, like The HT Group, even offer benefits for full-time temporary staff employees, which is a win-win for both the employer and temps.
2. Consider contract-to-hire
For mid-level hires, consider whether a contract-to-hire arrangement is your best option. This hybrid solution may be perfect for a typically long-term, salaried role, but that you’re unsure you’ll need for longer than a few months. Contract-to-hire is common in technical recruiting for that reason, but it’s also useful for sales, marketing, project management, and other jobs as well.
And it’s not a tough sell. Top talent who lost their jobs due to the pandemic may prefer these types of arrangements right now. A contract-to-hire position gives them time to land on their feet and to fill a potential gap in their resumes during this difficult time. If they’re a great fit and the position remains needed, you’ll both jump at the chance to turn it into full-time, permanent employment when the time comes.
3. Recruit recent graduates
The class of 2020 is entering the worst job market since the Depression (contrast that with the class of 2019, which graduated in one of the tightest job markets in history). These new graduates lost spring and summer internships and apprenticeships. Engineers primed for stardom in the Texas energy sector have been left in limbo. Others ready to get their start in sales and marketing, supply chain management, HR, and other fields who were leaving the state for jobs in other U.S. cities are suddenly grounded.
These job candidates are motivated and ready to work. Even if your organization doesn’t have a specific process for hiring changes and training college graduates (your entry-level job descriptions list 1-2 years of experience, for instance), you might want to throw some of these young adults a lifeline. They may just turn out the be the best hiring decisions you ever made.
4. Reinvent your recruiting game
Since today’s job market in no way resembles last year’s, your recruiting strategy shouldn’t, either. One major difference is the lack of in-person networking opportunities. Large job fairs and recruiting events will remain off the table for a while. Top talent that is newly unemployed may also not be open about their availably in places like LinkedIn very readily. You’ll need to attract them to you. Virtually, of course.
To find and recruit these candidates, be creative and rely on your organization’s strengths. Is your leadership charismatic and approachable? Why not schedule online Q&A webinars? Are your employees your top fans? Use this time to strengthen your employee referral program with virtual resources and incentives.
5. Perfect your virtual hiring process
If you’ve been hiring this entire time, you already have a head start on shifting most—if not all—of the process to a virtual environment. If you haven’t been, now is the time to adopt a few remote practices that make the most sense.
There’s no substitute for in-person interviewing, but consider the cost and time savings of initial phone screens, online skills and behavioral assessments, paperless onboarding, and other remote hiring tools that have become the stars of the show over the past few months. Relatively new practices like using pre-recorded video interviews in which the candidate records themselves answering pre-furnished questions can help free up even more time for hiring managers and Austin executive recruiters who will soon be inundated with applications.
6. Temporarily fill leadership gaps
By the end of 2019, CEO retirements and departures hit record levels. Organizations taking their time to fill those roles were left scrambling for clear leadership through the pandemic. Now is not the time to be left in limbo at the very top or any other C-Suite position. It also may not be the time to make a permanent hiring decision for such pivotal roles, either. What’s an organization to do?
Consider interim or fractional executives to fill the leadership gaps you have right now. The options are particularly beneficial through the coming months because organizations can engage executives with specific expertise in handling virtual pivots, supply chain disruptions, product diversification, and other areas acutely important right now.
Just as there are bright new graduates without job opportunities right now, some incredibly seasoned C-Suite executives are suddenly available to step in to help on an interim or fractional basis. If you’re unsure which areas need to be filled first, an advisory consultation can help.
We may never go back to the “old way” of recruiting, and that’s OK. The past few months have taught us that technology can enhance traditional hiring practices in invaluable ways. As you ramp up with hiring changes again, you’ll be overwhelmed with job applicants at levels you haven’t seen in years. Use the strategies above to help you find the right talent among the masses. And when you need help, we’re just a call or email away.