How can HR leaders acquire talent amid COVID-19?

86% of organisations are incorporating new virtual technology to interview candidates due to COVID-19

How can HR leaders acquire talent amid COVID-19?

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, according to Lauren Smith, vice president in the Gartner HR practice.

“As external hiring slows for many organisations, and business priorities change, leaders must evaluate different methods of recruiting and hiring.”

Smith’s comments come as a poll of 334 HR leaders on April 13 found that 86% of organisations are incorporating new virtual technology to interview candidates due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of the uncertainty created by the pandemic, 82% of organisations anticipate a decline in external hiring across the next three months.

To acquire talent amid the changing economic climate, HR leaders should consider the following measures:

Create effective virtual hiring processes
The current coronavirus crisis has pushed businesses to implement more large-scale virtual recruiting and interviewing efforts.

HR should partner with recruiting leaders to ensure they can successfully use recruiting technology to create a positive candidate experience.

The Gartner poll found that 85% of organisations are utilising new technology to onboard employees.

“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,” said Smith.

“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 onboarding experience.”

Realign hiring plans
As economic uncertainty and budget constraints impact many organisations, senior leaders are reassessing their hiring plans.

Fifty-four percent of organisations have delayed candidates’ start dates and 31% have cancelled internship programs, according to Gartner research.

Moreover, 63% of recruiting leaders report that more than half of their job openings are currently frozen.

During these changes, recruiters and hiring managers need to effectively manage candidate emotions in order to avoid both reputational damage and difficult recruiting efforts in the future.

To enhance the candidate experience, leaders should provide clear and transparent communications to candidates if the position they applied for is placed on hold.

For candidates that have accepted a job offer, leaders must be as transparent as possible when communicating a delay in their start date and providing timely updates.

Encourage internal talent mobility
Fifty-four percent of respondents to the Gartner poll reported that all hiring efforts, except for critical positions, will freeze in the coming months. As business needs change for many organisations, HR and senior leaders can acquire the people they need by sourcing talent internally.

Gartner research shows that though they are not actively searching, 39% of employees would be open to switching to a new role within their organisation. Recruiting leaders can promote internal vacancies through online job fairs and should work with employees to locate openings.

“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,” said Smith.

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