What we are learning and hearing about Recruiting during COVID-19

By:  Christine Nichlos, CEO People Science

By noon EST on Monday, March 16th, just a few short days into the COVID-19 lockdown, I had received three calls from clients concerned because they are hearing from their staff that outside Recruiters are aggressively pursuing them for new positions. In other words, their overall staff including their recruiters are being recruited—and we are just hours into the shutdown.

Update – end of day I heard the same story 3 more times.

Last week our team picked up that many contingent recruiters and their firms were noting how much easier it is to access talent at a time like this when so many will be working remotely.

That enticed us to start probing all of our recruiting markets and have discovered the following:

First and Foremost: Many Contingent Recruiting companies are seeing this as a massive opportunity to source, connect and poach employees.

We are hearing and, even our own staff, are seeing a significant increase in Recruiters approaching working people.  Since working from home makes it easier to connect and converse, Professional Recruiters are telling us, and our own recruiters are seeing, there is a significant uptick in our ability to gain the attention of the most pursued candidates.

We recommend:

  • Taking steps to protect your own staff – Let them know how you are handling the crisis and provide them with as much security in knowing this will pass.
  • Some clients are letting their staff know that Recruiting Poachers will be seeking them at a higher rate.  I suggest you don’t bring this up – but huddle up more frequently to remote workers – daily video meetings are a good way to do this.
  • Capitalize on Recruiting top talent now.  Just as your recruiting competitors are doing, this is a good time to reach the typically hard to reach candidates.  We do this every day and are experiencing an increase in our engagements with candidates.  For now, it is modest but rising.

Second Finding: We are seeing a considerable uptick in candidates applying for positions as a result of seeing a job on a website, or from company branding.  Again, working from home makes it easier for employees thinking of leaving to research and apply for other positions.  This is not a time to let candidates go untouched but rather this is a good time to connect. Even if you are going into a hiring freeze, incoming candidates will appreciate and remember how you treat them especially now.

We recommend:

  • Where it is not already in place, create specific high touch, streamlined processes for candidates in each level of the pipeline from recruiting start through those onboarding.
  • Review your turnaround time for candidates in the process. We highly recommend instituting a 24-hour turn around for all incoming inquiries.
  • Processes that are designed for this unique time will prove very valuable.
  • At People Science, we have done just that for our clients and each recruiting effort.  We know this will keep us in front of the recruiting competition.
  • People remember how you make them feel: Use this time to demonstrate a concerned company culture.  If candidates reach out to your company with interest, this is a great time to show them how you react to critical times and how interested you are in each individual.  This kind of consideration will undoubtably be noted on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor, so if you have reputation concerns, now is a good time to show how much you really do value your market, your prospective employees, and your current staff.

Finally, we are still very much in the middle of a great talent shortage.  When COVID-19 is conquered, companies who keep their recruiting at the forefront will be well-positioned with talent and ahead of the competition.

We will continue exploring what is happening in the markets and send regular updates.

If you have information to share, or a question, we are here.

Let’s all stay well.


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