7 Tips to Speed up your Recruitment Process in a Lockdown
Here we are again in another lockdown. Throw into this a challenging candidate market and it’s easy to just stay under the doona. But remember what happened last time? Things bounced back more quickly than we thought and many of us were caught with our pants down when it came to being resourced well enough to meet the demand. How do we not repeat the same mistake?
Well, here we are again, in another lockdown. And it somehow feels worse than the last time. Four weeks in and no end in real sight. Throw into this a challenging candidate market and it’s easy to just stay under the doona for a few days. It can be overwhelming. And when we’re overwhelmed, inaction or procrastination is our enemy.
But remember what happened last time? Things bounced back more quickly than we thought when the restrictions were lifted and many of us were caught with our pants down when it came to being resourced well enough to meet the demand.
For many of us, we’re lucky enough to be able to still do business in a locked down environment and that means we still have a need for great staff. So many industries – finance, IT, digital production, HR and recruitment, online retail, health, education( just to name a few) – are still working to meet the needs of their clients.
In our world of recruitment, great technology means we can still engage with our clients and candidates and continue to take good briefs, do interviews, reference checks and so on. And you can have great digital onboarding programs to induct newbies into the team.
Successful recruiting during challenging times
So, how do you not only keep recruiting in a challenging time, but do it quickly so you can secure the best candidates available?
1. Be absolutely clear about what you need and why
While this is true at any time when you’re recruiting, it’s even more important when you’re going to be managing the person remotely for a while and need them to be up to speed when the lockdown lifts. Both you and the newbie need to be really clear on what is expected of them. What will they be doing? What skills do they need? What personality traits will be important? Who will they report to and to what team will they belong?
2. Respond quickly to applications
I’ve written about the importance of speed of response before. And I say it again here. Responding quickly to applications is perhaps the single most important thing when you are looking for good talent in a tight market. Good candidates are in high demand, even when things feel slow, and anyone who is actively in the market won’t last long.
3. Start your shortlisting process as soon as you start seeing even half-suitable applications
Our blog about how to quickly shortlist candidates might be of some help here. Don’t wait for a couple of weeks to ‘see what comes in’. The candidate you need may have responded early in the process but has already moved on when you reach out to them a couple of weeks later.
4. Make every screening call and interview really count so you can make a quick decision
When you do pick up the phone to an interesting candidate, make sure you’ve already planned what you want to find out and worked up a good set of behavioural-based interview questions so you’re not wasting any time with a conversation that won’t progress the person’s application. These phone screens can move your shortlist along very quickly if you know what you’re doing. Then set up the F2F interview, albeit via Zoom or some other video app as quickly as you possibly can.
5. Avoid a long, drawn-out interview process
Once you’ve identified a candidate for a F2F interview, move quickly. Too many great candidates are ‘lost’ when you delay the process. I remind you again, they are in high demand and won’t sit around biting their nails, anxiously anticipating your call. If there is more than one person involved in the hiring decision, stress the importance of speed to them and get interview dates locked into their diary quickly. You may even think about getting everyone together from the get-to, which is easy to do with the technology available.
6. Don’t delay skills/psych testing or reference checks
The message of speed again. If you interview someone and you like them and you think they may be good for the team, get the reference checks and any skills/psych testing under way quickly. Progressing a candidate to a skills or psych test quickly sends the message they are of great interest to you and will encourage them to engage more strongly with the process, thereby being a little more forgiving if there are a couple of short delays. The same with reference checking – sometimes referees aren’t readily available and the process can get delayed waiting for the opportunity to speak to them. You don’t want to lose a good candidate by waiting too long to start the reference checking process.
7. Make verbal offers and then get the letter of offer out quickly
Once you’ve decided on who you want, call them and make a verbal offer, clearly outlining the role, the remuneration package and any benefits, incentives and bonuses, and agree on a start date. If any negotiation needs to be done, this is when it can happen rather than sending something out to them, only to have them refuse the offer outright or come back disappointed, feeling offended and wanting to renegotiate. The magic has been tainted when that occurs and can result in the candidate pausing and reconsidering the whole thing.
Then, once you’ve agreed on all the terms and conditions, get the formal letter out to them within 24 hours to show you’re serious.
Lockdown doesn’t always have to mean you need to go into a ‘holding pattern’
While we don’t necessarily know when this current lockdown will end, we know it will. And you will want to be ready. Now is not the time to take our feet off the pedals. Yes, we have to work smarter and yes, we have to work within confusing and often frustrating rules, but going into a ‘holding pattern’ to see what unfolds before making any decisions will leave us behind the game.
Many of the candidates you hire now may not be able to start for 4-6 weeks anyway due to their current contractual notice periods. Many of them will add value straight away, positioning you well when we all get out of jail.
Either way, you will want the best possible team in place to continue meeting the needs of your clients in or out of lockdown.
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