Blog & News

High-volume Recruiting in the Age of COVID-19

Written By
Augusto Fretes
Content Producer

Delivery companies, online retailers, grocery stores, as well as some healthcare companies and fast food chains, are seeing unprecedented levels of demand. Amazon has hired over 100,000 workers. Despite the economic downturn, some industries are thriving and need to expand their workforces quickly to meet an uptick no one could’ve predicted.

High-volume recruiting in the era of social distancing poses unique new challenges to organizations. Pre-coronavirus recruiting strategies generally involve close contact between candidates, hiring managers and recruiters at some point, so companies are rewriting their processes on-the-go and under a lot of uncertainty.

How long will the increased demand for these services last?  How long until things go back to normal?

Most scientists don’t think a vaccine will be available in less than 18 months and while lockdowns will certainly last less than that, it’s absolutely essential that businesses understand that social distancing started before any official measures were put in place by most governments. For example, data from opentable reservations show that by the time the official measures took place about 65% to 75% of the reduction in activity had already happened.

The same thing will apply in a post-lockdown world, activities will resume but consumers and candidates will still behave in a very cautious manner until the pandemic is over. Meaning demand for some services will remain above normal. Moreover, many of the behavioral changes in the general population are likely to be permanent as well, for instance a lot of people are just now discovering the convenience of delivery.

The Power of Automation and the New Normal

Large scale personalized recruitment marketing campaigns will be necessary to meet their demands for new hires. Under incredible pressure to fill many new positions, recruiters will need to get the word out really quickly. The only way to achieve this is by using automation. The obvious place to start is to target all qualified candidates on your database with email and SMS campaigns and to complement that with scheduled searches in job boards to find new candidates.

The unemployment rate is increasing all over the world , yet candidates might be hesitant to apply for a new job. Naturally, many fear getting infected or infecting their loved ones. Organizations should emphasize in their recruitment marketing material and career sites that they’re taking measures to prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace.

Applying needs to be as simple and quick as possible, otherwise many candidates are lost halfway through. For example, candidates could confirm their applications by replying to an SMS.

And to process the thousands and thousands of resulting applications, recruiters also need a helping hand. Companies need processes that can differentiate between unqualified and qualified candidates, create offers, schedule interviews and keep every stakeholder up-to-speed automatically.

This represents a radical shift in how many companies normally recruit. Some will need to sit down and think about the key variables that define when a candidate is qualified for a position, and then translate that into functional workflows and parameters that are executable and repeatable. Not all solutions out there are flexible enough to achieve it, however, our clients don’t need to worry about that.

Another point to consider is that, specially because of social distancing measures, onboarding needs to be as effective and quick as it has always been. A human approach to virtual onboarding is key to ensure that all social connections that are necessary to operate efficiently are in place.

Strengthening Your Employer Brand

It’s important that you keep candidates informed of their application status at all times. Even when a candidate is not the right fit, you need to communicate that in a timely manner. Experiences during the pandemic are likely to leave a long-lasting impression on candidates and consumers alike. Despite the challenges and the distance you need to be more human than ever in your approach to recruitment.

The last thing you want is to be perceived as trying to take advantage of what is undeniably a horrific situation, otherwise the damage to your employer brand could be massive and undo years of hard work. Instead, make sure you frame your recruitment efforts in the appropriate manner: For instance, if you’re expanding right now you probably belong to an industry that provides essential services, talk about how your expansion is helping your community cope and again make sure to talk about the measures you’re taking to protect your workforce.

Candidates who have been furloughed, laid-off or experienced pay/benefit cuts will be naturally distrustful of their next employer. A strong brand with the right messaging and a consumer grade experience will go a long way towards creating that trust.

Now More Than Ever: Agility

Perhaps more than in the last 70 years, agility is now the currency of the world. Avature has worked relentlessly over the years to build a recruiting platform that can adapt to anything at any time. We embrace the idea that there are unknown unknowns and we built our platform following the premise that we should be ready to do things we never thought we would need to do. For some companies that means scaling their digital recruiting efforts to never-before seen heights. To some it means getting ready to turn on their hiring engines in a second, keeping talent engaged today and growing their talent pipelines while working with less resources than usual now, to hire fast and efficiently tomorrow.

For organizations that chose Avature, the benefits of this approach are more visible and tangible than they’ve ever been. Some of the biggest online and traditional retail companies in the world are using Avature to expand despite unprecedented constraints. As we go through the most disruptive event in generations, we will continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our clients to help them meet their recruiting and organizations goals.