Recruiting During COVID-19?

Recruiting During COVID-19?

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has disrupted the economy and how businesses around the world operate. Remote work, virtual interviews and online meetings have become the norm, even in industries that never embraced this technology before. Not only are there obvious challenges during this global downturn, the new economic realities call for businesses to be strategic with their human capital retention and investment.

Talent Hoarding

The initial reaction from some companies was to freeze hiring and reduce costs related to headcount. While some companies are forced to lay off employees due to cashflow constraints, others in stronger cash positions have been adding talent and using the new market instability as a competitive advantage. Many capitalized businesses are continuing their recruitment process while there is less competition for talent and a growing candidate pool.

There are some startups, for example, that were forced to let go of entire development teams – think of companies in the daily fantasy sports world with no sports. This highly sought after talent has now come back on the market and is open to new opportunities. The talent that tech companies just couldn’t get a few weeks ago, no matter how hard they tried, may be available now in excess.

“Recruiting increases in importance when the economy isn’t as strong. Ensuring you have the absolute best available talent can help to ensure strength and stability during tougher times and ensure that you are positioned for success when the economy begins to ramp back up.” – James Baker, CEO, Keynote Search


Unfortunately, not every company has handled the COVID-19 crisis to the satisfaction of their employees. In many cases, employees are left without direction and only understand their company’s outlook based on news agencies and online content. With sentiments lowered towards current employers, these potential candidates may be primed for new opportunities, however they present themselves. Ensure that you are focused on your employer brand and how you position your employee value proposition.

“No one likes the situation we’re in – period. But already we’re seeing business moving at an accelerated rate to add skilled talent as it becomes available in the market. The unfortunate reality is that not all businesses will endure the pending downturn and that means the market will have a surplus of talent at levels we haven’t seen in years. Those workers will flow to the most attractive and stable employers” – Brad Ezard, COO, Keynote Search

Proactive Recruiting for Future Hiring Needs

One key to success will be to think ahead as much as possible. Once the economy and businesses are back up and running with some degree of normalcy, what are the first hires that your business will need to make? Knowing that the recruitment process for executive roles specifically, can take a couple of months, starting the process now in anticipation of hitting the ground running once the pandemic is over is a prudent choice for businesses looking to continue on a growth trajectory. Starting conversations with potential candidates now and continuing with active processes will be advantageous as things turn around.

Improving Recruitment Processes

It is no secret that a lot of businesses lack the understanding that “time kills all deals”. Without proper management, some recruitment processes can drag on, resulting in a negative candidate experience and top candidates self-selecting out of the process. Tightening up these processes and ensuring that top talent can be engaged with swiftly before they accept other opportunities is essential. Some candidates that may have recently become unemployed may be willing to accept roles quicker. If you don’t hire at an accelerated pace, your competitors will.

Executive Coaching to Help Transition New Employees

During harder economic times, transitions can be even tougher on executive-level hires. Candidates that used to be highly sought-after may have been let go, and not overly optimistic about their security. Executive coaching is a great option and provides an excellent resource to help new executives transition into new roles and companies. If you are using an executive search firm, inquire about their transition and onboarding processes for new executive level hires.