COVID-19 brings more pressure for job seekers in finding a job amidst the weary market. Studies have shown that most industries have halted their recruitment plans. No wonder, job candidates, especially fresh graduates, are worried that they will be unable to land a job amidst the pandemic. This situation has also ushered candidates to question their hiring experience, creating a sense of uncertainty and unconnectedness with the hiring team.
For that reason, it’s important for HR professionals and recruiters to make sure the hiring process is smooth, positive, and address candidates’ recruitment pain points. Chelsie Hastings, Head of HR at PageUp, in this candid interview with HR in Asia, discusses her discovery of three biggest pain points in hiring during COVID-19 and how to overcome them.
A crisis of this magnitude is extremely rare, and throughout my career I have not faced many situations like it. The global pandemic has had vast impacts on the workplace in the ways organisations approach recruitment, including the skills that they need to hire for. It has certainly been a learning curve for everyone involved, including myself.
What has become clear in these circumstances is the importance of maintaining a positive employee and candidate experience. After all, how you treat your current employees and prospective employees now, during a challenging time, speaks volumes about your organisation’s culture in the long run.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 will continue to impact recruiting, but it is not all bad. This is a unique opportunity for recruiters. Many candidates, including those who are still currently employed, are open to discussing potential opportunities available to them. Even happily employed workers are open to discussions. This is an opportunity to start building connections with star candidates and nurture them for when your organisation is ready to hire.
With job security in question, many candidates are now feeling worried and concerned with the pressure of needing to find a new job quickly. Jobseekers are being forced to pivot to apply for open roles in the few industries that are still hiring. While a candidate-centric approach is always important, it is now critical that recruiters and hiring professionals put candidates first and continue communicating with candidates, regardless of whether they are hiring or not.
For organisations halting their hiring, it is important to set clear expectations with candidates and let them know the process is on hold for the moment. Help them to understand how the process will be affected in the long run by assuring them their application will be reviewed when the role is reopened. For businesses accelerating hiring, make this clear to candidates so they can understand the new opportunities available to them.
How recruiters treat candidates during a sensitive time like this is a reflection of the organisation’s culture and will influence their perception of your business – and ultimately, their decision to work with you in the future. Ensure you engage each candidate positively and supportively during this time.
The most important thing for all recruiters and hiring professionals to do during this time is to continue communicating with candidates. For organisations actively hiring during this time, make sure you regularly update candidates on their progress through your recruitment funnel, so they feel engaged and informed.
For organisations slowing down their hiring or putting it on hold, there is still a lot that can be done to enhance candidate experience. A great place to start is with your talent pool. Use this time to engage with your talent pool by sharing relevant and engaging content. This will help keep your pipelines of talent warm for when you are ready to hire.
We are in the process of implementing PageUp Recruitment Marketing and are excited to start using this to proactively source talent for our own organisation. Rather than reactively hiring to fill roles as and when they arise, we will use our own recruitment marketing solution to build a pipeline of talent with the right skills so we can build relationships and nurture candidates over time.
Once we have identified talent with the skill sets that will support our organisation, we will use recruitment marketing automation to strengthen the relationship with candidates – without the need for time-consuming manual communication. PageUp recruitment marketing uses machine learning to identify content that resonates with candidates, then automatically delivers it to them, ensuring it is personalised and engaging. While we are focusing on aligning our recruitment approach with the business’ strategic needs, recruitment marketing will be plugging away in the back end to keep talent warm so when we do need to hire, we already have the right person for the role.
You can overcome these challenges by having a robust pipeline of talent in place. If you have identified the skill set your organisation needs to meet its goals and built out a pipeline of talent with the relevant skills, you should already be connected with a number of stand-out “silver medalist” candidates to fill a role quickly.
Even if a candidate ghosts or rejects your offer, it’s still important to maintain a positive candidate experience. While it may be the end of the opportunity with them for now, there still may be other opportunities in the future. You should still communicate with them and end on a positive note to ensure they keep your organisation top of mind when they embark on their next job-seeking journey.
Encouraging employees to give back to their community as part of their work keeps them engaged and adds meaning to their role. HR leaders should take a holistic approach that acknowledges the importance of social responsibility both at work and in daily life. A survey of organisations that offered employees a chance to contribute to society through their work found more than one-third said the opportunity made their current role feel more meaningful.
Giving employees a chance to give back to their communities during this COVID-19 crisis helps to instill a sense of pride in themselves and their organisation, which in turn contributes positively to your employer brand.
During the COVID-19 crisis, managers need to remember that their employees will deal with working remotely in different ways, and therefore, it is important to be sensitive to people’s varying needs. Some employees with young kids at home will find it challenging working from home while caring for their children, highlighting the importance of offering flexibility and treating people with respect as well as compassion.
The simplest but most effective thing managers can do at this time is to regularly check in with their teams. A recent study found that almost two-thirds of employees globally trust information from their employers regarding COVID-19 more than they trust information shared by the government. Employees want to hear from their business, so make sure you are communicating with your employee regularly to make them feel connected and engaged. If you want something more fun, consider meetings as an opportunity to host group activities, such as virtual team lunches and quizzes, so employees are connecting with each other.
Managers should also look to communicate with employees beyond regular check-ins, by continuing to share learning opportunities and organise performance check-ins. This will ensure your team feels valued and committed to their role.
About Chelsie Hastings:
As the Head of HR at PageUp, Chelsie Hastings draws on over a decade of experience in strategic talent management across a range of leading organisations.
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