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Given the uncertainty of the current climate, some organizations are pressing pause on their recruitment strategy and are more focused on downsizing or restructuring. However, whether it is looking to upskill from your current employees or filling a competency gap on your team with a new hire, there is no better time than now. That being said, it is important to remember that this is a stressful time and organizations must be very cognizant of how these changes are communicated within the organization. Leaders must be clear and transparent in all messaging as to why certain moves/hires are happening to protect your brand and culture (more on this here).
In this post, I hope to bust some of the myths around recruiting in challenging times and demonstrate why right now is a good time to hire.
Myth #1 – There is too much economic uncertainty
While the statement itself is true and not something to take lightly, it should also reinforce the importance of having the right talent in place at the right time in your organization. The entire world is facing an unprecedented event that has put tremendous pressure on leaders. When looking at the data from our assessment tool, SuccessFinder, the competencies of successful leaders that are coming to the forefront are: Thrives in Chaos, Leads Decisively, Overcomes Adversity, Embraces (and Leads) Change, Manages Stress and Communicates Clarity. Not everyone is equipped with these skills and as it stands today, they will be critical for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, as the shift of a more remote workforce becomes reality, leaders must be able to lead in a remote setting. Conducting a search in this environment provides firsthand experience of how the candidate interacts and may provide a good indication as to whether they have this skill. If there is a competency gap within your organization, it is wise to search for the leadership talent that will be able to guide your organization through this uncertainty.
Myth #2 – It is too difficult to manage a search virtually
Although the remote nature of work brought on by COVID-19 has increased the need to recruit from a distance, the process to do so has long been established. We regularly conduct searches for difficult to fill positions that require a skillset that does not exist in the organization’s local market. When recruiting remotely, the same search process still applies with slight modifications for a virtual setting including video rather than in-person interviews. While we always recommend an assessment to support the hiring process, it is particularly helpful when you are conducting a search from a distance. The SuccessFinder assessment allows organizations get a clear, unbiased look at candidate behaviours, competencies and likelihood of success in the role, ultimately helping you select the right talent to meet your needs.
Myth #3 – It is challenging to reach candidates
When looking at this myth, the opposite statement is true. Our ability to reach candidates has never been easier. With work from home arrangements candidates are likely to be sitting at their desks, answering their cell phones, and spending more time on LinkedIn. The turnaround time to connect is happening quicker and the ability for candidates to have private conversations is much easier. Furthermore, scheduling interviews has become simpler. There is no need for candidates to sneak out of the office, get changed on the fly or make excuses as to where they are going. They are more flexible with their time which makes the process smoother for both parties. Given the stresses facing the economy and business world, now is an excellent time for organizations to take advantage of the labour market and go after top talent that they may not be able to attract in a more competitive or stable market.
Myth #4 – You cannot effectively conduct virtual interviews
Over the past few months, many people have gone from doing a few videoconferences a month (or less) to spending countless hours a day on camera. Humans are adaptable and have caught on to this new form of daily communication quite quickly with some finding that they are connecting better and building deeper relationships through this medium. Not only that, in a previous post, we compiled tips to help with virtual interviews including testing your technology, arriving prepared, being aware of lighting and body language, and offering virtual workplace tours. All things that help make the process seamless.
Myth #5 – It is too difficult to onboard and integrate a new hire
While virtual onboarding will be a new practice for many companies, there are several respected organizations like Dell and Marriott that have been doing it for years and have mapped what the road to success looks like. Also, we recently spoke with a client who provided some highlights of their first-hand experience of being onboarded virtually into their new role. They shared that while it takes a bit more intention and commitment to schedule virtual meet and greets, the process allows the new hire to build deeper relationships. When meeting colleagues in their home offices, you immediately get to know more of the personal side of your team members’ lives – something you don’t get by simply being walked down the hall and introduced to everyone. Furthermore, with videoconferencing, you can still get a grasp on the company’s culture simply through tone, body language, team dynamics, banter, and formalities seen in informal and formal meetings. Lastly, most organizations already have several self-driven, online aspects within their onboarding process, so there really isn’t too much change.
Continuing to focus on your recruitment strategy in challenging times may seem daunting and uncommon but there truly are benefits in doing so. While certain elements of the search process may need to be altered, the pros outweigh the cons and you may miss out on a great opportunity to find top talent that will not only strengthen your team but allow you to thrive in uncertainty.