HR, recruiting, COVID

Finding the right talent to operate your small business has never been easy.  But doing so after an unprecedented pandemic increases the difficulty.  A thoughtful recruiting strategy is needed now, more than ever, if you hope to attract and retain the employees that you need to take your business beyond the shutdown.  Here are 5 strategies to effectively recruit in a post-pandemic reality.  

1. Establish Short- and Long-term Hiring Goals.  It’s important to have a clear understanding of the skills you need now and the skills you’ll need 6 – 12 months from now. Start by examining your current workforce to determine whether you have the skill sets you need for the current state of your business.  For example, if your business has ramped up its food delivery service because dine-in customers continue to be at a decline, you may need different skill sets as you look to attract and service those customers.  At the same time, you still need to anticipate what your business and customer behavior will look like as we get further down the road in the pandemic and identify what new roles or skill sets you will need at that time so that you have a plan in place BEFORE you need them. 

2. Seek Out Specific Skillsets Rather than an Actual Role.  If we’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that the businesses that were able to successfully pivot and continue operations amid the shutdown were those that had the right talent onboard.  With that in mind, it makes sense to consider hiring for soft skills like the ability to be agile or collaborative, rather than solely focusing on hard skills like job or task specific experience.  For example, you may need to screen for remote working skills such as the ability to self-motivate or strong time management.  To emerge stronger from the current downturn, businesses will need to be more strategic about how they rebuild their workforce and screen for skills that will be most valuable to their recovery.

3. Consider Candidates from other Industries.  While most industries have been impacted by the pandemic, certain industries like hospitality and travel have been obliterated to the point where it may take several years to recover.  This means that there is a large pool of available, experienced talent from other industries that will be looking for jobs elsewhere.  You should pay extra attention to these individuals as they likely have skills that are easily transferable to your particular business.  For example, an experienced customer service representative usually has good problem-solving skills which often goes beyond simply solving problem for customers.  Their experience may lend itself to identify inefficiencies in how your team is assigned to perform certain tasks or how certain customer facing responsibilities are handled and in turn are able to recommend a more efficient solution, saving your business time and money.  So, when you start to think about creating your ideal candidate profile, consider which industries have roles that would lend themselves to help your business succeed.

4. Build a Talent Pool of Quality Candidates.  Your hiring efforts might be limited at the moment, but there will be a time when you are ready to ramp up hiring again.  Building a qualified pool of potential candidates who are interested in working for your company when you are ready to hire is the most effective proactive recruiting strategy.  But this entails more than just having a database of candidate profiles who have previously expressed interest in working for your business; it involves defining what a “top” candidate for your business looks like; determining what the best sourcing methods to use in finding them; and then once established, keeping them engaged with relevant communication so that when you’re ready to tap into that pool, they already have a connection with your business.  Think how much easier it would be to fill future roles if you already had a reserve of qualified candidates already interested in working for your company.


5. Maintain a Strong Employer Brand.  A company’s reputation significantly affects the volume and quality of applicants a company attracts.  How a business treats their employees both during and post-pandemic will likely define their brand for decades to come which ultimately impacts your Company’s ability to attract, recruit and retain talent today and in the future.   In your determination to get your business up and running and recover from the financial losses experienced as a result of the pandemic, make sure to  prioritize the health, safety and well-being of your employees over profit.  Candidates are still sensitive to the health risks associated with physically going back to work, especially when it comes to certain front line roles, and might not consider working for your business if your brand reputation is not representative of a conscientious and empathic Employer. 

Regardless of where your hiring needs currently sits on your list of priorities, a recruitment strategy is a necessary component of rebuilding your business.  At The HR Hotline®, a team of HR professionals is available to help your business with its establish and execute your strategic recruiting needs.  Contact info@thehrhotline or visit to learn more.