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How to Hire During a Crisis

Whether your company is ramping up hiring for essential services or downshifting to adapt to shelter-in-place advisories, it’s not only important that HR has all hands on deck, but we also have to support our teams and workforces through a very different economic and social landscape.

It’s difficult to find levity when we don’t know what next week or next month looks like, but just like anything else happening in the world, we can only focus on what is in our control. I’m sharing a few tips here that can help – whether or not you need to ramp up your hiring efforts, help situate a dispersed workforce, or prepare for the near future when the market shifts to what will be the new normal.

Focus on Moving Recruiting Online

If you are scaling back hiring efforts even by a small amount to limit in-person contact, this isn’t a “sit and wait it out” situation. Now is the perfect time to begin planning online hiring events and other scalable activities like interviewing that can keep your hiring funnel full and engaged.

Online Hiring Events

Online hiring events, also known as virtual career fairs, take place at a certain time on a specific channel. During the session, which works similarly to how webinars are structured, recruiters and job seekers meet in a virtual space via chat rooms, teleconferencing, webcasts, and/or text and email to exchange information about job postings.

This type of activity allows you to scale your recruiting efforts by holding multiple online events, segmenting the events by position, or even geographically engaging a high-volume of candidates at once regardless of their physical location, or yours for that matter.

Pro tip: follow best practices for how to host online hiring events.

Video Interviewing

If you’re not already using video interview technology, either for live two-way online video interviews or asynchronous screening video interviews, now is the time to jump in feet first. Because most states have enacted limitations for nonessential workers, interviewing someone who is currently employed as an essential worker is not going to have time to visit your company site (and asking them to do so right now is a bit tone deaf). If you’re scaling your hiring efforts, video interviews eliminate the need for an in-person scheduled interview at the initial stage of your hiring process and you can record these interviews to share with hiring managers, further reducing the need for in-person contact.

That said, using video interviewing doesn’t mean you lose human connection – and that’s more important than ever right now. Large technology companies like Google have gone completely online with their hiring efforts, as has Facebook and a number of other companies who cannot put hiring on hold. We’re not all tech giants, but video interview technology is highly accessible, easy to use, and can be implemented quickly.

Use Data to Reach Candidates

Now is the time to dig into Google Analytics to monitor activity on your career site and better understand how online job seeker behaviors and habits have changed. The most important data you’ll want to have right now is traffic sources. Knowing where your traffic comes from will help you define which channels are working for you now, and what changes you can make to keep your candidate funnel active.

For example, if the largest source of traffic to your job listings on your career site are from email campaigns, and the least amount of traffic comes from social media, now is the time to put your efforts into scaling your content marketing via email. During a crisis, behavior on social media changes significantly and putting your recruitment marketing budget into a channel on which people are searching for information about current events means that your message will get lost in the shuffle.

Related: How to Promote an Online Hiring Event

Shift Your Recruitment Content Marketing

Content marketing is an integral part of our recruitment marketing tool set, including offering valuable advice and resources for job seekers to continuously engage candidates at various stages in the talent pipeline. Sending job openings along with industry advice to your candidate email list is great, but hit the pause button on content. The world has changed rapidly in a short period of time, and we don’t know what the new normal looks like. Neither do our candidates. Put yourself in their shoes, take a step back, and ask yourself what you’d like to see in your email inbox if you were looking for a job right now.

If you jumped into video interviewing, your candidate newsletter should highlight that. It should highlight that you’re still hiring, that your workforce is remote (or essential and outline your company’s safety precautions), and that you’re conducting face-to-face interviews via video. People are out of work right now, yes, but they also need to feel safe. Make sure the content you’re sending to candidates isn’t out of touch with current events.

Consider that more people are online now for longer periods of time, and where they are spending that time. Your site analytics can show you how traffic patterns have changed week over week, and if it’s down when new filings for unemployment have hit record numbers, the way job seekers find your job listings might be at fault. Use information about traffic sources and site visits (along with bounce rate) to determine if changing the content of your job postings would be appropriate.

Finally, the key to hiring during a crisis is to focus on your recruiting activities and your recruiting strategy. The overhaul starts now. If you’ve been putting off using automation, or video platforms, or hosting online hiring events, this is the time to make these things a priority. If you have the opportunity to use technology to efficiently reach candidates who might still be reeling from a layoff, shutdown or furlough, right now is when it matters.