If you want to see true creativity and resourcefulness in action, look no further than business owners in industries that have been hit hard by COVID-19. These leaders are pivoting in incredible ways to adjust to the challenges of the day and maintain their profitability.
Bacardi plants made a temporary switch to manufacturing hand sanitizer, satisfying an urgent need as these products flew off the shelves. General Motors switched gears at one of their Washington production facilities and began to produce much-needed ventilators. Brick and mortar retailers and grocers added curbside pickup or overhauled their online shopping experience to adjust to new consumer habits. The ingenuity of many businesses, their teams, and their communities has been inspiring.
This is the level of resilience and outside-the-box thinking that needs to carry over to the hiring process. Otherwise, there’s a risk that essential jobs will remain empty – 89% of manufacturers have been leaving jobs unfilled because they can’t find qualified applicants. And manufacturers aren’t the only ones with this challenge.
In roles and industries where workers don’t have ready access to high-speed internet or a laptop, it can be a struggle to find ways to join the interviewing process. Rather than accept the barriers created by social distancing and business restrictions, more businesses are experimenting with innovative hiring to reach these important future team members. Here’s a quick list of creative recruitment strategies to consider for COVID-19 and beyond.
Job fairs are mostly virtual these days, but retailers, grocers, and manufacturers still need to reach candidates who are cut off by the digital divide that require face-to-face interaction. In order to do so, it’s essential to take extra precautions to prevent socially-distanced hiring events from becoming COVID-19 hot spots.
This creative recruitment strategy involves some clear planning and compliance with OSHA and state guidelines. For starters, your business needs to designate an area in your store or plant for a controlled interview process (or even embrace a drive-thru job fair like the Wisconsin Workforce Development Association), where candidates can stand more than 6 ft. apart and PPE is readily available. In many cases, businesses can partner with local non-profit organizations dedicated to workforce development to spread the word.
As applicants arrive, it’s part of your responsibility to set the expectation for safety precautions and interview processes. If you’re using video interviewing tech on-site, your business can increase the number of candidates screened per job, as well as the overall impressions of your business. Complications in the global supply chain might make it difficult to obtain additional laptops or iPads to run video interviews, but laptop rental services can help to overcome this potential challenge. After each use, all work stations should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized by your event staff, protecting the health and safety of your people, candidates, and community.
Your people are one of your greatest assets during the hiring process. If you’ve built up a strong rapport with your workforce and practice solid corporate social responsibility, they’re often very willing to be your top advocates and enhance your recruitment process. You always have the opportunity to run an internal campaign (maybe with an enhanced bonus) for employee referrals, expanding the word-of-mouth effectiveness of your outreach. Referrals are also great when it comes to remote hiring because candidates are trying to adjust to these weird times too. When your team member can help their referral walk through the interview process, the candidate is more likely to feel engaged, comfortable, and excited about the potential opportunity.
In a similar vein, never forget about past employees – they could very well be interested in coming back or offer a referral that you can trust. The job market is challenging at the moment, so re-engaging with former team members or leveraging their network could be essential to landing that next great hire. No matter what, people appreciate being remembered, as well as the compliment of wanting to work with them again, so don’t hesitate to tap into that resource!
There are countless articles being updated daily on companies hiring — reach out to their authors to get your company added to ongoing or future lists. Some are on a national scale, while others are more locally based lists – either way you may be surprised at the volume of potential candidates you can find with that approach.
Further, don’t be afraid to channel traditional yet creative recruitment strategies. Radio ads, physical mailers, and print ads can still work, but only if you’ve taken the time to research your target audience, determining the best messaging and mediums to reach them.
In this day and age, in-person interviews are no longer a prerequisite for hiring solid talent. By using creative recruitment strategies and accessing candidates and equipping them with user-friendly online tools, you have the power to uncover entire untapped talent pools that are ready and willing to work with you and grow your business. What matters now is keeping an eye on every available opportunity during this time, from socially-distanced events to referral outreach, and remaining open to the unique hiring strategies that will keep you profitable today, tomorrow, and well into the future. After all, as Steve Jobs would say, “hiring the best is your most important task.”
Amanda Palczynski is the Brand Program Manager at interviewstream. She is a perfectionist for accuracy; loves getting crafty with hand lettering and typography; and can speak strictly in quotes from The Office for any occasion.