Managing the candidate process during and post COVID19

Whether you are a recruiter working in-house or agency side, during a recessionary period your role tends to become a little less enjoyable. In this unique lockdown situation, it’s particularly pronounced: most recruiters are “people people” operating in a team environment and hosting meetings with stakeholders and customers; currently we’re deprived of the energy and atmosphere that this provides.

For recruiters working in-house, with less demand for recruitment, the focus shifts to adding value in different ways through internal initiatives. For those agency side, the priority becomes prospecting and building candidate connections.

It’s important we stay focused on the most important aspect of any recruiters’ job – the ability to source, manage and deliver the best talent.

Whether you’re recruiting now or expect your requirements to start progressing post-lockdown, the challenges you’ll experience from a candidate management perspective will differ from that witnessed pre-pandemic.

For many of the best candidates, “safety” and “security” now leap to the top of their career priority list, overtaking other drivers such as “career advancement”, “flexibility” and “compensation”. You may also find individuals are more conscious of societal contribution – what did your firm or client do to support employees, the wider community, or the national effort during the crisis? 

Just as recent surveys show that consumers and workers may be reluctant to return to normal shopping and commuting right away, candidates will be more reluctant to move jobs. “Last in first out” will be an understandable and more recognised concern.

As a recruiter, you’re normally the first point of contact for a potential hire for your firm/client – so during this time it’s critical you provide reassurance about the security of their new role, whilst continuing to build on their confidence and excitement about their future with the company.

This can be done in the following ways:

  • Talk confidently about the steps your firm/client has and will be taking during the crisis: The new icebreaker is a discussion on how lockdown’s been. Take this opportunity to share some personal experiences and build rapport, as well to communicate how your firm/client has responded. How did they ensure continuity of service for their customers? How did they make sure employees were safe, treated well, and effectively communicated with?

 

  • Get into the detail on benefits: Candidates will be equally as interested in the wider benefits as they are about their basic salary post Covid-19, particularly whether there is medical cover and if it includes immediate family. If you’re hiring talent from banks, bear in mind that staff may be tied in with existing mortgage benefits. With many mortgage providers removing hire LTV products, it makes it financially unviable for some individuals to leave their staff mortgage as they’re unable to access a new similar product.

 

  • Paint a picture of the future: Your firm/client is hiring for a reason. They’re looking to the future and want to be prominent in the post Covid-19 world. It’s your job to sell that story. Whilst most economic indicators point towards the end of 2021 for key measures to return to pre-epidemic levels, lots of firms will rebound and accelerate growth quicker than others. It’s important you relay this in a compelling way.

 

  • Consider the funnel approach: Contrary to how you may normally pitch roles to your top talent (i.e talking about the role first), consider using the funnel approach. By doing so you are able to present the opportunity, but in the context of a robust, secure, intelligent and innovative environment.

 

Company Level

  • What key tactics did your firm/client deploy to win and grow business during the pandemic?
  • What changes to their overall strategy have they made?
  • What do they expect to change as a result of the pandemic?
  • What ways have they found they can serve customer better and operate more effectively?

Departmental Level

  • What positive changes, if any, have come out of the pandemic?
  • What new initiatives have been launched? Have news ways of working been implemented?

The People

  • Sell your hiring manager to the candidate – How long have they been with the firm/client?
  • What impact have they had? What feedback do you have from individuals in their team?

The Role

  • What are the key objectives of the role?
  • How will it positively impact on the future of the firm/client?
  • Does the role allow for career progression in the future?

 

  • Execution of process: Time kills all deals, as does lack of communication. This holds true in any environment however this will be more exaggerated during and post Covid-19. Any unexplained delays in feedback, any persistent re-arranging of interviews or un-engaged hiring managers will only place doubt in the mind of candidates. The best talent is likely to be in a secure position, why should they take the risk of moving during a national crisis and potential recession for a firm/client that isn’t fully committed to their hiring process? There will be countless reasons why delays occur and it’s obviously a stressful time for hiring managers; whilst you can’t always ensure these don’t happen, you can manage the communication and expectations to ensure a successful and stress-free conclusion.

 

  • Keep your passive talent pools engaged: Whilst you may have fewer requirements currently, your firm/client has invested a lot of time and resource to build a talent pool. Keep this audience engaged for when roles do start moving. Consider advertising “upcoming roles” which you know will be live post Covid-19. Send these individuals information on how your firm/client has adapted to the pandemic and how it’s operating to garner interest. And all importantly, share information on how they’re helping the efforts to fight the pandemic.

 

Also consider providing candidates with different content to engage them or ease the daily angst of job seeking during a challenging time. One client is sending their talent pools “virtual tours” of the great museums of the world, first stop was the Guggenheim. It’s these little things that will keep the best candidates attracted to your firm/client’s employer brand.