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4 Things That Don’t Change for Recruiting and Hiring During A Crisis

Unfortunately, there will always be another “crisis” to deal with, whether it’s a health concern; a business concern with vendors, customers, and/or employees; or an economic concern. It looks like these crises may be here to stay for a while. And labor shortages continue to challenge the contracting world.

While companies spend time in their “war rooms” making important decisions about customer, vendor, and employee interactions, there is an important and often neglected audience that requires your focus and planning, as well: job candidates.

Elements That Shouldn’t Change

Unless you’re the one wearing all of the departmental hats, the candidate experience has likely been mapped out and refined by your human resources (HR) department or hiring manager team. It is both an art and a science. Representing your brand from the very first interaction, through interviews and onboarding, is all about the relationship. During turbulent times, it becomes even more important to bring your company’s candidate experience to life — even if it’s done from afar.

As you think about your strategy to keep the hiring engines on and bring in the talent your organization needs for the future, here are four key elements of the experience that should not change during any crisis.

1. Communication. You will need to communicate in new ways and through different channels, but do not let your touchpoints or interaction with candidates go quiet! It’s even more important now to stay connected through phone, video, text, chat, or carrier pigeon — whatever you use as your remote tool. Consider doubling your efforts to reassure candidates that your hiring engine is not going to be turned off during this period.

2. Set clear expectations. In your communication, one area to be clear, consistent, and sure about are expectations. If your company has suspended all travel and banned visitors to your office, that is a reasonable business move at this moment. Not telling candidates that you’ve made this move is not! If you had shared with a candidate that he or she will eventually be invited in for an in-person interview and that can’t happen anymore, be clear about the contingency plan. Communicate if the hiring will be paused based on the nature of the role, and when you will take a next step.

3. Keep interviewing. Video interviewing is not new — but not every company is using it. You don’t need a fancy tool; it can be any two-way video chat that you use to establish a visual connection to your candidates. If you do have a video interviewing tool in place, you can continue to scale your hiring efforts and build a talent pipeline, but make sure you keep the first two key elements at the forefront of your efforts. If you are not entering a hiring freeze, talent acquisition teams should continue as much of their usual operations as possible.

4. Be ready. Recruiters, including those informal ones in the field, are the face of your company to most candidates. Arming them with the latest updates, decisions, business impacts, and positive steps your company is taking during this crisis is very important. Similar to how you would share a new product release, award, or new executives named at the company, updates about your safety and productivity efforts should be available for recruiters. They’ll want to share this information with candidates, who will likely have questions about how your organization is protecting employees; any financial impact that might change the company’s outlook; or how your organization is leading efforts to keep communities safe.

A Great Place to Be

It’s a daunting time to worry about your health and the health of those you care about. There are complexities that range from manufacturing and retail roles that are only done in person to trying to work in new ways to get a sense of who someone is in more corporate roles. Add to that the potential inability to meet them in person. Companies are asking candidates if they feel comfortable coming to a business location for interviews knowing there might be some risk. Both sides are trying to navigate the pros and cons in the effort of having the best matched talent for each role.

Through all the uncertainty and differing opinions on what the best approach forward is, remember that the candidate experience must remain top of mind. It is your differentiator, and how you treat candidates now will impact your ability to hire for the foreseeable future. If you don’t know the answer to timelines, travel guidance, or your office policies because they are in flux right now, that’s OK! Many companies are making decisions every day in real time as new information comes to light. Communicating badly, not being clear about expectations, stopping your talent acquisition engines, and keeping your recruiters or HR teams in the dark are the parts that are not acceptable.

Many locations may be in a state of change for the foreseeable future. It is not a place anyone wants to be in, but everyone is. As a result, you have to make sure to keep focused on engaging with candidates to show them that, regardless of any external factor, your company is great place to be.

About the Author

Jeremy Eskenazi is an internationally recognized speaker, author of RecruitConsult! Leadership, and founder of Riviera Advisors, a boutique Recruitment/Talent Acquisition Management and Optimization Consulting Firm. Eskenazi is not a headhunter but a specialized training and consulting professional, helping global HR leaders transform how they attract top talent at some of the world’s most recognized companies. For more information, contact: Jeremy Eskenazi,

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