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When the lights turn back on - three steps to prepare for hiring

With lockdowns and uncertainty bringing industries, supply chains, and organizations to a halt, COVID-19 has been marked by massive layoffs and furloughs. But the lights will come back on, and when they do, many must re-staff quickly.

From the aftermath of COVID-19, organizations will return though perhaps not in the same form they once were. Not all who have been laid off or furloughed will come back. Not all positions that once were will be what is needed now.

To make matters more complex, many organizations will face re-staffing without enough staff to do so, having reduced HR, operations, and leadership. So, while we anxiously wait for lockdowns to lift, supply chains to reform, and demand to pick up, we also anxiously stare at the huge tasks in front of us to make it all happen.

When the lights come back on, will you be ready?

Rather than wait for the scramble and risk hiring too slowly, ineffectively, or inappropriately, it’s time to prepare now. Here are three steps to help.

1. Refresh (or rewrite) job descriptions

Now is the perfect time to freshen up or replace the job descriptions along with titles, job requirements, and interview questions.

The market may be shifting so applicants are more plentiful, but that does not mean that they are all right for you. Without good job descriptions, you may not attract the talent you need, and, without good requirements, it won’t matter because you won’t recognize the great talent that applies.

Great Job descriptions (and titles) are deliberate and describe what your organization needs (not what it had before and not what it has used for the last decade to hire for the role). Take the time to understand and articulate the needs of the roles and make sure there aren’t any unintentional biasing language that could be deterring great talent from applying.

In addition to the description and title, review the requirements to ensure they are clear, deliberate and are doing what you intend to identify qualified talent and not remove them. Finally, ensure that your hiring team and organization are armed with the right interview questions to effectively evaluate and select talent.

2. Revisit sourcing strategies

With shifts in the talent pool comes shifts in how to reach and engage with that pool. Perhaps sourcing was already a challenge, perhaps it will become a challenge as the ‘new normal’ settles in, or perhaps it is just a good opportunity to make something that was good into something great.

Each source of talent comes with its own attributes – from the demographic distribution of a job board, to the styles of a university, to the preferences of a recruitment company. Has your talent pool met your needs in the past – the right skills, demographic distribution (diversity), background and experience, etc.? If not, now is a great time to establish additional sources.

Identify new sources of applicants now to fill your pipeline when the time is right. For example, Job boards, local colleges/universities and vocational schools, associations and advocacy groups, local chamber of commerce and other community organizations, specialty or boutique recruiting firms. Contact them now to evaluate what they offer, how they can help you, and how much it will cost.

Not only is now a good time because you will have time to select the right partners, it also may result in finding better pricing that may disappear once demand picks up.

If you haven’t already, establish a way to track and measure where your applicants are coming from and which sources are proving most effective. This will give you a clear return on investment on your sourcing dollars and ensure that you optimize sourcing investments based on results.

3. Optimize hiring process & technology

The best time to tweak a machine is when it’s not in use. The same goes for processes and technology. When hiring demand returns, for some it will surge and put a lot of pressure on the hiring process. So, if something in your process is not quite right, take advantage of the idle time to fix it.

For example, perhaps you’ve been intending to add or replace assessments to your hiring process to save time and increase effectiveness. But, you never had the time to properly evaluate assessments to find the right fit – what about now?

HR technologies can be powerful tools driving huge effectiveness and efficiencies in your processes, but they are tools, not easy buttons. Take the time to evaluate what the technology is doing and how it’s doing it to ensure you are implementing what you intend for your processes.

Bringing it all together

The COVID-19 crisis has been difficult for so many for so many reasons. For many, the world feels like it’s holding its breath, waiting for life to start again. But soon it will. And when the lights turn back on and organizations come out of hibernation, make sure you are ready.

Take advantage of this time to polish up the job descriptions, requirements, and interview questions. Revisit sourcing methods and, if it makes sense, establish relationships with new sourcing avenues. Optimize, augment, and replace hiring processes and technologies to make sure the machine is ready to handle the hiring demands when the time comes.

And, if you need us, is here to help.

We are in this together, and together we can get through this.

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