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How to Source Top Talent for Your Company Amid COVID-19

How to Source Top Talent for Your Company Amid COVID-19

May 18, 2020 | By Asia Ghazi | 0 Comments

Topics: HR, Talent Management

COVID-19 has changed the trajectory of how organizations recruit, source, and hire top talent. Thanks to social distancing, the closure of non-essential business, and high levels of unemployment (not seen since the Great Depression era of the late 1920s), it has become challenging not only to find talented candidates but also figure out how to keep them.

The Challenges of Sourcing Top Talent During the Coronavirus

Usually, in a non-COVID-19 world, companies would look into sourcing top talent through live, in-person job fairs between April and July—when many college students are graduating and looking for work in their preferred fields. Colleges and universities would hold career fairs and job fair summits, inviting companies to look for talent on campus. Other job fairs would help the general public look for work, apply to jobs, and speak to hiring managers directly.

However, during this pandemic, many organizations have had to find new ways to find candidates, and some companies have had to shut down completely, which has caused problems in acquiring talent. Remote work companies are looking online for new talent, virtually interviewing potential candidates through conference applications, such as Skype or Zoom.

How Can You Source Top Talent Amid COVID-19?

Changes must be made in how we source top talent.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) traditionally help hiring managers quickly go through resumes of potential candidates by using keywords found in job descriptions. ATS software comes with enhanced AI (artificial intelligence) tools that help better score resumes, giving hiring managers the chance to look at those resumes or CVs and schedule interviews with those individuals that are most aligned with the job description.

However, post-coronavirus, the use of ATS systems must change. There needs to be more human interaction given that social distancing has caused human-to-human connection to drop significantly. An organization’s recruitment effort must include more humanistic capabilities to source, hire, and retain high-quality candidates, otherwise missed in the ATS scoring and sorting process.

It is important for companies to reevaluate their talent acquisition or talent management programs, and add in ways to find talent virtually. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • “What approach are we using when hiring candidates in our organization?” Knowing what strategies work and what needs to improve is the first step. For example, if the company has never found candidates virtually before, this is the time to research where candidates can be found online, test conferencing software for interviews, and review positions to see if they can be done remotely.
  • “What are the strategies currently used to source and recruit potential candidates?” Evaluate what works and what needs to improve here as well. There is a chance you may need to find new ways or resources to source candidates virtually. This is a great time to speak with HR about how the current strategies are working.
  • “How can we ensure the leaders of the company are building relationships with HR to create an effective HR strategy?” Your organization should be fully integrated and engaged in the entire process: from sourcing the candidate to hiring and then onboarding the new employee. Having this plan in place will allow your company to stay ahead of the curve when building your talent channel.

After asking these questions, it’s time to develop an effective plan to source highly qualified candidates post-COVID-19. The ADDIE model comes into play here.

Sourcing Top Talent Using ADDIE

ADDIE—which stands for Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate—is used to create training and educational curriculum through instructional design. It’s also vital for helping you develop a solid recruitment plan at an organizational level.

Here’s how…

  1. Complete Needs Assessments
  2. Design a Recruiting Plan
  3. Develop a Hiring Program

When using the ADDIE model, recruiters and hiring managers play critical roles in analyzing the needs of the company. They speak with each department to discuss their plans for hiring new employees over the next two years.

  • Are departments hiring, or is there going to be a reduction in the number of employees within the next year?
  • Is the company expanding?
  • Is there a need for a new department to help with the growth of the organization?

It’s absolutely imperative to do a needs assessment to find out what the needs of the company are with regards to recruiting. Needs assessments also help you create lucrative job descriptions, which provides an understanding of what skills and experience levels are necessary for the tasks involved in a vacant or a newly created position. These job descriptions are then posted on various job search sites to find qualified candidates.

Next, ADDIE helps you design and develop a recruiting plan. This is the fun part!

The company’s talent acquisition team will take a deeper look at their go-to-market strategy. For instance, thinking about where to find candidates. They can be found:

  • at virtual job fairs (perfect for the work-from-home situation),
  • via LinkedIn (and other social media),
  • through word-of-mouth referrals (consider monetary bonuses for those who refer people),
  • or through online networking events (get creative here and look for people online at a local Toastmasters club or through associations, such as the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM)).

Now, it’s time to develop your hiring program.

When should the sourcing and hiring of candidates take place? Ideally, it should be done three times in the year: January, April/May, and August/September. Here’s why.

  • January signifies the beginning of the new year. At this time, more people are looking for new jobs, employees are retiring, and more positions are either being created or vacated.
  • April and May signify a mid-point where college students at the bachelors, masters, and doctorate levels are graduating and beginning their journey in the workforce. They are looking for full-time jobs or internships to develop their experiences and/or skills.
  • August and September signify the end of summer. Many people have taken time off to reflect and enjoy the summer. Then, when they come back to work after the summer ends, many are looking for jobs. During this time period, many people decide to transition into a new career just in time before the holidays.

With the coronavirus changing the trajectory of how we look for work, and the number of unemployed, the coming months of June through December will be filled with hiring possibilities. This is the best time to develop a strategic plan for finding and sourcing candidates among the many applicants who will compete for jobs.

This is also a great time to look into which positions can be done remotely, and what new roles will be needed to help the company expand into the new remote-work era.

Final Thoughts

With over 21 million people unemployed and growing, companies are going to see much more competition, but also, many remote work positions. Organizations that have a good talent acquisition program in place will be able to find candidates in this increasingly difficult environment.

The key is to be more human-focused when looking for and hiring candidates. ATS applications are not always accurate in finding the right candidates at an emotional, inclusive, and humanistic level. They look for keywords that match job descriptions.

The reality is that there are many excellent, highly qualified candidates who are lost in the cracks because they don’t match all of the keywords necessary to land on the hiring manager’s desk. This is why evaluating what is or isn’t working in a company-wide talent acquisition program is essential.

Think about the challenges and new approaches that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to hiring. Obviously, one of the most significant challenges facing everyone is this coronavirus pandemic. It has impacted everyone, in many different ways, but organizations can make this a positive experience and bring in more candidates by creating positions that would allow new employees to onboard quickly and work from home.

Ultimately, hiring during COVID-19 will be different. HR’s talent acquisition teams need to be creative and think about adding new ways to find and reach out to candidates. Changes have to be made in how we source top talent. We have the technology, software, and humanistic power necessary to create powerful relationships with company leaders and with candidates.

It’s time for change amid the pandemic era.

The Author

Asia Ghazi

Asia Ghazi, MHRM, has a background in organizational leadership development and human resources. She is in her final year of doctoral studies at Pepperdine University.

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