Virtual hiring spikes despite pandemic woes

  • May 26, 2020

Virtual hiring spikes despite pandemic woes

Featured – Written by Jade Burke – Executive Grapevine

The current pandemic has caused many businesses to re-think their hiring strategies due to the social distancing measures and lockdown that has been in place for six weeks in the UK.

As standard protocol now means that individuals must stand at least two metres apart from one another, while the UK PM’s decision to roll out a nationwide lockdown has stopped non-essential businesses from opening their doors, traditional hiring methods are no longer applicable.

For example, long gone are the days where job candidates could visit an office to attend a face-to-face meeting, now things are moving virtual. This is supported by recent stats.

A Gartner poll of 334 HR leaders on April 13, 2020, found that 86% of businesses are incorporating new virtual technology to interview candidates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to the growing uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak, 82% of organisations stated that they expect a decline in external hiring across the next three months.

Lauren Smith, Vice President in the Gartner HR practice, said: “Recruiting leaders are caught between the sourcing and hiring plans that were initiated before the COVID-19 outbreak and the rise in uncertainty and social and economic instability. As external hiring slows for many organisations, and business priorities change, leaders must evaluate different methods of recruiting and hiring.”

With this in mind, Gartner has outlined three measures HR practitioners should be taking on board when it comes to acquiring talent amid the pandemic.

Utilise tech

While some organisations may still be unsure about adopting new technological enhancements, during this time where the majority of professionals are working remotely, now is the right time to embrace new tech elements. This is something that 85% of businesses claimed they were doing in Gartner’s poll; therefore, HR should carry out some research and find out which recruitment tools are out there to assist with their talent acquisition needs.

“While most organisations are currently conducting interviews remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual interviewing may become the new standard for recruiting leaders and candidates long after social distancing guidelines are lifted,” Smith continued. “The most successful organisations provide candidates with the same level of information and feeling of connection with the organisation as they would have with an in-person interview or on boarding experience.”

Candidate experience

During this uncertain time, changes are likely to come into effect almost daily when it comes to hiring plans. For example, the economic uncertainty will hit budgets hard and impact hiring managers when it comes to making key decisions. This is replicated in Gartner’s research as 54% of the organisations surveyed stated they had delayed candidates’ start dates, while 31% revealed they had cancelled internship programs.

To ensure a candidate’s experience is not damaged during this time, hiring managers need to consider the emotions of the applicants to avoid any reputational damage in the future and improve hiring measures. To do this, HR should concentrate on delivering honest and clear communication, while also remaining as transparent as possible when it comes to any potential hiring changes.

Hire internally

With 54% of respondents citing that they have frozen all hiring efforts, except for critical positions, HR should start to take a look at souring talent internally instead. As Gartner research stated that 39% of employees would be open to switching to a new role within their company, this is something that HR leaders could really tap into to prevent a shortage of talent.

Smith concluded: “As organisations continue to embrace remote work policies during these circumstances, recruiting leaders should fill talent gaps through alternate employment models that present a lower risk to the organisation’s growth.”