June 24, 2020
here’s no shortage of advice on how to adjust hiring strategies during COVID-19. The conversation has mostly focused on what will become “the new normal.” While these conversations are undoubtedly useful, I don’t believe they shed enough light on the massive shifts that will occur in the hiring.
As we envision the future growth of our companies, I believe what needs to pivot is the entire hiring framework. This is the elephant in the room: the idea that our mindset and whole ideology around scaling companies must shift.
What hiring looked like before COVID-19
The hiring process before the pandemic was a race to fill seats. Recruitment’s top priority seemed to be satisfying investors versus building a sustainable team. While this “numbers game” approach was deemed practical, it may no longer be viable post-pandemic.
From what I’ve observed, this “race” for employees led to an issue of quantity over quality. Resumes faced less scrutiny, and employees benefitted from inflated salaries. Hiring took on a speed dating-like quality. Short conversations with a few key people within the company were good enough. This condensed version of the interview process was certainly understandable given the pressures companies faced from advisory boards.
Enter COVID-19. Companies nationwide experienced massive layoffs. The flipside of these layoffs was that they also became an opportunity to “trim the fat” and boot out underperforming employees. Despite its obvious downside, the pandemic proved to be a wakeup call for leaders to examine their teams and hiring practices.
A new frontier: prioritizing quality over quantity
Most companies, on some level, realize that their recruitment process is lacking. Nonetheless, our offer of free advice on designing interview processes is the least exercised option on Captivate Talent’s services. While executives cite “not enough time” as the reason for weak hiring practices, I would argue that it’s now necessary to make the time.
Invest time and resources into your recruitment strategy, and you’ll benefit from the long term gains. The reality is, companies lose revenue when they don’t have the right recruitment process in place. Numerous studies show that the cost of employee turnover amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars. In other words, not investing in a solid recruitment strategy could be costing your organization double the amount of the lost employee’s salary.
A permanently altered recruitment process.
COVID poses new opportunities as well as challenges for growing companies. In May of 2020, roughly 17 million people filed for unemployment, all within three weeks. The unemployment rate rose to 15%, higher than during The Great Depression.
While this poses apparent challenges for job seekers, it also presents new obstacles for companies that are hiring. The unemployment rates will result in a massive influx of candidates to sort through, vet, and interview. Hiring managers will have to work overtime to hire the right talent while maintaining their key objectives.
Here are some of the trends I predict for scaling organizations post-pandemic:
- Generally speaking, companies will experience two types of active candidates: those who genuinely got laid off due to financial hardships at their previous employer, and those who were let go of due to performance issues. Determining “who’s who” will pose a challenge for hiring managers.
- Diversity will drive growth, while in many organizations, this was a box to check, diversity will now be a key factor for candidates when evaluating their next role.
- Top tier passive candidates will now be even more cautious about making a move; they will be even more difficult to engage without previous relationships or networking.
- Hiring managers will need to be more strategic when selecting their sources for candidates; we are well past the “spray and pray” model.
- Searches should mimic elements of executive searches before opening a role competencies should be identified and agreed on beforehand.
- Retention needs to be realized in the hiring process; retaining individuals is about investing in your interview process.
- Candidate experience will remain imperative to attracting top talent.
How to rebuild your recruitment process
Examine and reflect on past hiring practices.
When it comes to your recruitment process, reflect on what you’ve done right and where you got it wrong. Examine your “bad hires” and delve into what happened. Why didn’t they work out? Which indicators did you overlook or miss when you hired them? Did they lack coachability? Were they misaligned with your mission or values? Identify what steps you can take to avoid these mistakes in the future.
Take this time to regroup
If you’re experiencing a slowdown, take it as an opportunity to regroup and reenvision your hiring process. It’s time to break bad interviewing habits and invest the time into redesigning your interview process. Get an actual process in place. Not having the time to invest is no longer an excuse.
Seek training and guidance
Have a call with a trusted resource to get advice on the hiring process. Make sure the information is from someone who has actually built a scalable interview process. You need to ensure you have action items and proper coaching for your team on what to do during an interview. At Captivate Talent, we believe our experience doing this is what sets us apart from our competition.
Create a reliable process and stick to it
Choosing the right interview questions is an essential component of the interview process. While most hiring managers and recruiting professionals inherently understand this, they still overlook the importance of identifying the ideal answers. Build a scorecard system to help quantify interviewing, get your entire team on the same page to identify the right answers. Scorecards create a more evidence-based decision-making process. It also creates a systematic way to collect candidate feedback from the interviewers. Create a stable process and stick to it even as the pace picks back up.
While we can’t be sure what the future will hold, it’s safe to assume that a different approach will be necessary around hiring more than ever. Rebuilding the hiring process post-pandemic will require reflection on past mistakes to make informed decisions on future hires. By seeking guidance and creating a robust recruiting process, companies can make the best of an undoubtedly challenging time. Right now, the only thing more important than rebuilding your interview process is sticking to it.