Challenges Recruiters have to overcome during the pandemic

Women shaking the hand of a men after an interview

As COVID-19 continues to increase, recruiters are finding it challenging to connect and recruit potential candidates. The pandemic has shifted the way companies and recruiters operate. Individuals in recruitment must reevaluate how they advertise companies and positions, connect with recruits, shift from offline to virtual interviews; including how they onboard recent hires while appealing to the same candidates in an already saturated market. The pandemic will continue shifting recruitment, so how can recruiters overcome these challenges?

Here are some challenges recruiters face when recruiting and how to overcome them.

Appealing and Finding the Right Candidates 

Everyone is recruiting and posting on job platforms, but are the right candidates finding you? Even if recruiters post on job boards candidates may not find you.  Recruiters must make sure the job platforms they are utilizing and job descriptions are up to date, allowing for flexibility.  Also, as everything moves to remote work. Recruiters have to shift their “office workplace” mindset. 

Overcoming it: Revamping Website and Content

Whether you’re fully remote, hybrid, or have in-office days, candidates are looking for companies that will keep them safe. Show the candidates through staff testimonials on “How We Work in Crisis,” updating your social media on what your company is doing and adding more resources for workers and candidates. 

Candidates’ priorities are shifting and recruiters must be ready to answer questions on safety and care. Developing a resource page and an FAQ page to answer questions on what remote looks like at your company is another way to appeal to candidates.

Here are some examples:

  • Are candidates working over 40 hours a week? What does that look like in a remote setting?
  • Accommodations: Are you inclusive to individuals with children, disabilities, caretakers? 
  • Employee rights: What are the company’s policies on sick leave?

Recruiters must be ready to answer these questions and more while recruiting. Developing a page or chat board where you answer these questions will help when recruiters recruit and interview candidates. 

Notes: How companies treat current staffers can make or break the recruitment process. 

 Candidates want to know how the company cares and communicate with current employees during the pandemic is something candidates take notice of. The company’s treatment of its employees and potential crisis policy changes affect the candidate’s perception of the company.  Online reviews and news about your treatment of employees allow candidates to assess their potential work environment; deciding if the company is a good fit for them. 

Job Fair Connections

One thing that’s challenging is how recruiters meet candidates. Job Fairs are often where recruiters can connect face to face with multiple candidates, but because of the pandemic and for safety, it’s difficult to hold large gatherings such as job fairs. Some organizations have switched to virtual job fairs, but they are not as easy as you’d think. 

Job Board Style Fairs

Companies showcase their accomplishments on a writing-only platform, while candidates write in their skills, ask questions, and set up a time to connect with recruiters. It’s difficult to get a feel of candidates when everyone is typing or asking questions. Even when you connect in private mode, not having that face-to-face connection is still difficult.  

Recruiters who use this method can appeal to candidates by:

  • Letting candidates first apply for positions and then connect during the job fair
  • By choosing certain candidates who appeal to them and asking for a private mode chat or candidates emailing their resumes
  • Setting up video interviews or talks after the fair

Virtual/Webinar style Fairs

Multiple companies hold fairs together on a specific platform; schedule included and talk to candidates in various states through zoom. Last month, Power To Fly held a virtual job fair where they allowed candidates to meet hiring managers virtually through zoom. Company recruiters spoke at different timed sessions and answered candidate questions through the question board and on camera.  

Still, it’s challenging to connect or know if you are getting through to candidates, but virtual fairs allow candidates to text or speak with you about their concerns working during candidates and you’re able to showcase your company’s benefits to various candidates at once. Recruiters also meet candidates with diverse job experiences and backgrounds that may not have applied for their companies because of their experience level, education, or location. 

Hiring Freeze

Although industries such as healthcare are recruiting, there are other companies where hiring freezes and furloughs are occurring. A challenge for recruiters is “how to post and hire when the company is on hold” Company’s will still post positions during a freeze, so recruiters must deal with an influx of applications that aren’t being checked. 

Recruiters should be prepared to answer questions about hiring freeze and its effects on potential employment.  How will you notify candidates or potentials after freeze settles? Create a plan for if candidates forgo opportunity, i.e. long waiting time.

Speaking of creating plans, hiring freezes are the best time for recruiters to organize and reevaluate their recruiting tactics. It’s also the best time to create a virtual plan and work with hiring managers to develop best practices. 

During a freeze, you’re still “hiring” and connecting with potential candidates.  So how can you keep Here are some examples of things to include in your plan

  • Create a talent pool: Make an excel sheet with candidates that you’ve connected with and would be a great fit for the company. Continue engaging them in conversations about the company, including skills needed for certain positions. 
  • Positive candidate experience: Develop a cheat sheet on engaging candidates during interviews. Add a “what works” page.
  • Online assessments: Surveys and assessments for candidates
  • Skills sheets: Connect with hiring managers on what candidates and skills needed in each department.

The hiring freeze can help to improve hiring processes as recruiters develop plans to diversify their recruitment practices, assessments and metrics to increase candidate experience, and work with a team to create better screening methods.

Interviewing

The pandemic has changed the way recruiters interview candidates. Shifting from an in-person interview to virtual and phone.  This step does not have to be challenging. Recruiters can implement new virtual options when connecting with and scheduling interviews with candidates through zoom or other virtual platforms.

As a recruiter, you want candidates to feel at ease when asking questions about the company and position. Why not include individuals in the department or in that position?

Video Conference

Video conferencing your interviews or onboarding is a virtual option. Whether you’re planning on group virtual interviews or appealing to candidates by including staff members into the interviewing process.; video conferencing can be a way to connect. Not sure how to start?  Check out our article on 7 tips for the perfect video interview.

Recruiters should include department heads or team members in this process. Having individuals in that department at the interview or recruiting event to connect with candidates is beneficial to candidate experience; especially when candidates ask specific departmental questions.  This allows the candidate to get a feel of the work environment, position, and company culture; while the employees can connect and see if that candidate is right for their team. 

As for onboarding, recruiters can organize a one day conference and help new employees with connecting remotely with coworkers, and ensuring they are remotely ready i.e. user password and company system access. 

Finally, during this time, recruiters take the time to train and develop new skills. It’s a great time for recruiters to train themselves on the art of virtual interpersonal communication, marketing, and outreach. Finding a new outlet to reach candidates and how to use automation platforms and scheduling tools to help to recruit effectively.

As mentioned before, recruiters should work with hiring managers and employees on what they want or are looking for in candidates. Connecting with company resources such as hiring managers and employees is another way to overcome challenges.

Are there challenges or ways to overcome some recruitment challenges that we missed? Let us know in the comment section.

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About the author

Joycelyn Ghansah

Joycelyn Ghansah is a former Healthcare Organizer with a background public health, include reproductive and sexual health. When she's not freelance writing, she's transcribing interviews and researching ways to strengthen healthcare labor laws.

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