Hiring with Intent, Hiring on Purpose
Until the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, talent acquisition was moving at lightning speed. Everywhere you looked, there was another resource or technology designed to help accelerate the process further, deliver results, and put time back in your day.
Then everything came to an abrupt halt. Economies froze and recruiting teams started to look around the proverbial room, unsure of what to do next. Those with lengthy tenures in the space almost immediately interjected and started drawing parallels between the current reality and the Great Recession. You could smell the collective fear, even from the comfort and safety of your home office.
There are few positives to come out of this situation. Millions of people have lost their jobs, including countless talent acquisition pros. And while we hope this is all just temporary, it’s impossible to know how long this slowdown will last. All that said, those able to push forward and continue recruiting have a unique opportunity.
Change is an inevitable part of what we’re experiencing right now. The way the world worked at the beginning of 2020 is unlikely to be the way it works by the end of December. Physical offices will become increasingly passé as higher numbers of workers opt to remain remote.
Recruiting processes will start to mirror this move, as more employers adopt video interviewing and virtual onboarding practices. Digital transformation will no longer seem like some far off intangible dream. Though at some point, the ad hoc solutions put in place to maintain business continuity will get replaced by more permanent infrastructure.
Even though a recruiting resurgence will happen, the associated recovery is going to take some time. In the interim, we can start talking about what needs to take place. No one has a crystal ball. But we do have life experience and industry expertise to help put guideposts in place. Even if we have to rewrite the script once or twice between now and then, these exercises will allow us to identify potential paths and then build the road ahead. There is perhaps no higher value we can offer than developing the next steps.
As part of striving towards a more agile and resilient future, we need to take this moment to reassess how we hire. That means reframing our approach to factors like speed, quality, and cost. In many instances, speed remains critical, especially when it comes to healthcare and frontline hiring. Quality is evergreen, though what this means may change as new needs arise. Similarly, cost is always a concern, particularly as organizations work on rebounding from lockdown.
In talking about a “Big Recovery,” William Tincup encourages us to reconsider speed, quality, and cost under new auspices. Asking questions like “What did you learn about your organization regarding speed? Meaning, how fast could you mobilize and/or agility to pivot quickly?” As part of this, Tincup reminds us that, “Pre-COVID-19 candidates were faster than most TA teams, how did you make your team faster during COVID-19? Meaning, can you hire (from sourcing to onboarding) within two weeks? If not, why?” Should you already know that answer, great. If not, find it.
Use this moment to dig into the data and get specific about what you can accomplish. Apply intent to each step in your process to prepare for the other side of this experience.
Even if hiring isn’t a top priority within your organization at this time, there are people in need of work. As someone on the inside of talent acquisition, you have a unique understanding of how hiring works. Take this skillset and offer help to someone else. Mark Stelzner, founder and managing principal of IA HR, helped start the Job Angels movement back in 2009. He sounded the call again recently, encouraging those within the industry to use their resources for good. That might mean reaching out to your network, editing someone’s resume, or otherwise making the connections that lead to job offers. If we’re genuinely all in this together, we need to demonstrate that commitment to one another.
Likewise, as a recovery and hopefully, a resurgence takes place, focus on the individual. The job search already stirs up a lot of emotions for candidates. The number of resumes per opening will inevitably spike. When it does, it’s up to recruiters to maintain lines of communication and prioritize the human touch whenever and wherever possible. Our current reality won’t last forever, but even after the storm passes, aim to incorporate intent and purpose into the process.