Forging Ahead: Hiring During a Crisis

Let’s be real – this is not the first crisis you’ve navigated, and it won’t be the last. However, COVID-19 has presented a unique set of challenges with its impact on the economy and employment that will be felt for years to come. And although many businesses are plotting a return to their offices, plenty of “normal” business practices will need to be reimagined – at least in the short term.

One of those is hiring. Recruiting top talent remains a priority for many organizations, and with an unprecedented number of candidates in the job market, your hiring process must be able to handle the additional stress. Is it time to retool your entire process? Maybe…maybe not, but you’ll need to tweak your approach at the very least.

Begin by digging in with your recruiting firm and utilizing their experience and knowledge of successful solutions being implemented. With their assistance consider the following:

• How critical are your vacant roles? Can you afford to wait on these hires?
• Do key decision makers have the time to devote to hiring right now?
• Do you need to reimagine your process to obtain the information you need to make hiring decisions?
• Are you risking employee morale by openly recruiting during this crisis?

If, after thoughtful discussion, you decide to move forward, use these four best practices that we have implemented ourselves to ensure a successful path ahead.

1. Create a strong candidate engagement plan.
To hire game changers, you need to engage candidates and demonstrate why they should want to work at your company. Realize it will take more effort in this new virtual world – for a few reasons. Distractions are everywhere, personal connections are harder to establish, and culture is difficult to demonstrate over zoom, to name a few. Each step of this engagement plan needs to be carefully orchestrated; email templates should be created, and check-ins scheduled.

2. Weed out and THEN pre-screen candidates.
This may be a great time to introduce psychometric behavioral and cognitive assessment tools to your process. You’ll likely have a very large pool of candidates to sort through, and these tools can really help and will provide greater insights previously provided, in part, by in-person meetings. Come up with matrices for ideal candidates and use them to narrow down your list before you even begin screening.

3. Tee up your interview team and have them ready to go.
Your first and second round of interviews will likely be virtual. Make sure your interview team is well versed in video conferencing and can confidently host a virtual interview. You’ll want to spend extra time prepping this group and confirm they have the time and mind space to devote to this. Utilize your recruiting firm to help with the interview schedule to ensure this is a synchronized and efficient effort. Consider asking for training assistance or tips on interviewing virtually.

4.0Monitor and adjust.
Check in frequently with your interview team, your recruiting firm, and your candidates. How is the process going from their perspective? What kind of impact have these changes had? You must continuously and objectively monitor as you go and then be committed to adjusting accordingly. As restrictions continue to change, be ready to pivot suddenly.

What if it’s NOT the right time for you to recruit? Consider rolling out a drip marketing campaign. Use this time to sketch a strategy and conduct some market research. Differentiate your organization in the marketplace and position yourself as a place people want to work. Use this time to train your team on best practices. Explore all your options, be thoughtful and don’t be afraid to try something new. Remember, there is a great deal of top talent out there and with the right firm supporting you, like The CFO Suite, and a plan in place, they could be your next new hire.

The CFO Suite is a boutique consultative staffing and executive search firm specialized in management and executive level accounting and finance talent. We boost the capabilities and capacity of your accounting and finance department, offering a unique ability to provide an integrated and comprehensive suite of services.

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