During a global crisis such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the world economy tends to slow to a crawl. How does a company go about hiring amidst such a crisis? Surely it would be better to save on costs?

With COVID-19 ravaging the global economy, employers across all industries have been greatly impacted. However, the impact has been uneven on businesses, Katie Birch, Director of Sales at Indeed Singapore said in an interview with HRD. Thereby, the impact on recruitment has varied across sectors.

“Employers have been influenced to consistently assess and qualify business needs in order to adjust their recruitment plans appropriately and effectively in response,” Birch said.

“While some businesses have experienced accelerated growth and demand, for instance SaaS, e-commerce, and online food delivery service, others have been forced to quickly develop and implement business-saving strategies.”

Birch outlined three of the most frequently shared challenges around hiring during this time:

Hiring freezes

One of the most common cost-management business strategies. This unfortunately brings its own set of problems, especially an increase in pressure on current staff while roles remain vacant. This increases the dangers from burnout and attrition.

Budget cuts

Many companies have been cutting back on budgets that were originally allocated to hiring. This can influence HR and the recruitment teams to investigate and adopt alternative sources and tools, which requires time and training, and may have a cost itself.

Oversupply of candidates

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented amount of retrenchments around the world. The result is a huge increase in the number of candidates applying for roles. For those with volume hiring needs, this is a welcome result, but others may be overwhelmed by response rates.

Adaptation of ones recruitment strategy is vital to ensuring a smooth and undisrupted hiring plan during the pandemic.

“Where traditionally many employers have been determined to find candidates whose experience specifically aligns with the job description, candidates with transferable skills are now in high demand,” says Birch.

This kind of strategy can support extended recruitment processing periods that may be required while competition for candidates is peaking.

Business leaders can also consider retaining high-performance employees within the organisation for “hard-to-fill” senior roles and put a greater emphasis on upskilling and succession planning.

“This creates potential for filling important positions with candidates who can make immediate impact,” says Birch.


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