A few short months ago, we touted record-low unemployment rates, soaring jobs numbers, and a booming U.S. economy. Open positions far outnumbered qualified candidates, and the only thing more difficult than recruiting great employees was retaining them.
In the blink of an eye, everything changed. Almost overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic threw businesses into unfamiliar territory. The past few weeks have brought mass layoffs, made “furlough” a household phrase for the first time since the Great Recession, driven many small businesses to close their doors indefinitely, and forced companies to push the pause button on hiring.
While essential businesses, such as those in healthcare and logistics, are still hiring (for example, Walmart is on track to hire 200,000 workers to accommodate the surging demand for groceries and household goods), should the rest of us put recruiting on the back burner?
Think back once again to the days when our current socioeconomic environment would have seemed like something imagined in a science-fiction novel. The “war for talent” was in full swing, and attracting high-quality applicants amidst a historically tight labor market challenged HR teams and recruiters like never before. Buzzwords like “employer brand” and “candidate experience” hit the mainstream as companies evolved their recruiting strategies to cater to job-seekers.
Yes, the employment situation has changed dramatically, but many of the recruiting tactics that emerged to address the candidate-centric market still apply. Recruiting involves much more than posting an ad on your website or a job board. It’s an ongoing process, combining active and passive efforts, to win over the talent to help your business thrive. It requires a strong employer brand backed by an enviable company culture and engaged employees willing to say positive things about your organization.
That means that hiring should never really be “on hold.”
I’m not saying that you need to go out and reactivate all your job postings, hire a staffing firm, or push your other business priorities to the wayside. Rather, change the way you think about recruiting and what it encompasses so that when you’re ready to hire again, you aren’t scrambling to attract top talent (remember, your competitors are doing the very same thing). To lay the foundation for jump-starting your recruiting efforts, focus on two tactics: employer branding and talent pipelining. Read more here…