How to keep recruiting (safely) during the coronavirus outbreak

Mar 24, 2020 - Cat DiStasio

As schools, restaurants, bars, and other businesses shut down in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many of us are striving for business as usual— or, at least, as close to usual as we can get during a national public health emergency.

For many recruiters, that means there are still candidates to find, interviews to conduct, and open positions to fill. And, on top of that, there are still monthly goals to hit, in order to protect your organization’s future and keep on track with annual business objectives. 

In this time of uncertainty and social distancing, how can recruiters continue to do their jobs while keeping themselves and candidates safe from the current pandemic? 

The answer relies on a combination of technology and communication. Here are 5 things recruiters can do, starting today.

Cancel in-person interviews and events 

If you haven’t already, cancel all in-person interviews and hiring events for the foreseeable future. Communicate with candidates about the reasons for canceling, and immediately offer alternatives, such as video interviews and virtual career fairs, as well as other ways they can engage with recruiters remotely.

Host more virtual hiring events

Throughout this health emergency, large public gatherings are discouraged and many people will not want to take any risks at smaller events, either. Let candidates know you’re sensitive to their concerns and make plans for virtual career fairs and scheduled chats as a germ-free alternative to in-person events. Moving your career events online makes it easier to connect with candidates no matter where they are, while mitigating the health risks of traveling to crowded events.

Interview candidates using video chat

Video interviewing is the next best thing to in-person interviewing and when it may not be safe to meet candidates in your office, video can help you keep your interview schedule. You may be wondering why you can’t just conduct all your interviews over the phone. You could, and that would certainly be a safe alternative to in-person meetings, but video offers advantages that phones do not. For starters, video interviews allow candidates to put a face to the name behind all those emails and texts. Anything recruiters can do to humanize the recruiting experience while keeping a safe distance is bound to help candidates feel more comfortable during this time.

Make your new safety precautions transparent

We already know candidates love transparency and authenticity. The more candidates know about what to expect, the more they will be able to trust your organization. In addition to one-on-one communications, add information to your careers site about how recruiting activities will be conducted during the health emergency. You can do this with text or, to really show your commitment, record videos of recruiters or hiring managers explaining how your team will approach recruiting in the near and long term.

Communicate, communicate, and then communicate more

Looking for a new job is already an uncertain, stressful time in a candidate’s life. Looking for a new job in a time of social distancing brings that to a whole new level. To keep candidates engaged and build their trust, communicate with them often and share practical information that will help reduce their anxiety. For instance, use detailed communications to invite candidates to virtual career fairs, in which you explain the content and format of the event and include tips that will help candidates prepare for it. Communicate with candidates, via email or text, throughout the recruiting and selection process, so they never have to wonder about their status or what will happen next. We will all have so many unanswered questions as we navigate this difficult time, and any answers you can supply proactively will help you build more meaningful relationships with candidates. 

We hope all the precautions business leaders are taking will have a positive impact on the world in the coming week and perhaps months. Recruiters who adopt new strategies now and communicate effectively with candidates can stay on track to meet their hiring goals for the duration of this new normal.

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