We are inundated daily with instructions and guidance on how to interact with people during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Practice social distancing”, “wear a mask”, and “stay at home” are now common phrases which were unimagined in 2019. These directives work well from a health perspective, but as we know from the economic shutdown, they’re terrible for operating a staffing and recruiting business. We need directions on how to adapt our processes to NOT interact with people and at the same time become a more successful enterprise.
Processes that force people to come into offices for interviews, deliver paperwork, and other types of interactions simply cannot take place while most people are working from home. Some companies have made incremental changes to existing processes and tools, and, as long as people are getting hired, they hope to “weather the COVID storm” until things return to “normal”.
“Normal” is not coming back.
Many staffing and recruiting companies are not merely adapting, but strategically transforming to thrive in these new, “never-in-person” recruiting and staffing environments. Companies that are built on a solely digital presence (which requires fewer/zero in-person interactions) have a significant operational advantage right now. And, as the hiring landscape permanently changes in response to COVID-19, those companies will continue to leverage the insights from the data they’ve collected from their digital processes to further improve their strategic advantages.
The question now changes from “How do I respond quickly to meet existing needs for my organization?” to “How do I strategically grow my organization now and position our products for the future?”
The answer is this: All interactions that previously required in-person activities to take place must be replaced with a digitalized version to keep processes, and your business, moving forward.
Let’s look at some of those major touch points that may require some form of digitalization in the recruiting process:
- Avoid in-person application processes and face-to-face interviews – online meeting tools dominate, and combined with online whiteboard tools, allow plenty of methods for candidate evaluations
- Develop online applications and secure collection of a candidate’s I-9, driver’s license, Social Security Card, and other sensitive documents to improve efficiency and move up start dates
- The opportunity to record interviews and share them with other hiring managers is a capability that is much easier with online meetings
- For direct employers, link interview processes with specific job postings/orders in key operational systems to improve data quality
Testing and training curriculum
- All tests to confirm a candidate’s proficiency in some skill must be taken online
- Use a proficient digital-testing platform to properly test people and collect the results for easy tracking in key systems and communication to prospective employers; collect data for research and insights later
- Post-hire training curriculum also needs to be moved to online platforms and completion results communicated to employers
- Set priorities to develop onboarding programs and systems to conduct and track key onboarding activities
- Enable onboarding workflow and reporting capabilities to improve visibility of status to stakeholders
Progress tracking and reporting:
- Recruiters and staffing companies require an ability to track the progress of these important processes on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis
- Additionally, client employers will want access to progress of job postings at all times
- Make sure that reporting and analysis is digitalized to keep them in the loop at all times
Digitalization of these processes not only help to remediate the challenges of COVID and people home sheltering, but it also provides some future “big-bet” opportunities. By digitalizing information, a company can begin to execute its data strategy and improve the maturity that leads to effectively using data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in order to identify and pursue better candidates faster, enable job search automation, and enable self-service offerings. Digital-centric leaders in the staffing and recruiting industry have already embarked on this path, and now COVID has forced everyone to focus on digitalization and the transformative benefits it brings.