Undoubtedly, the labor market has changed during a COVID-19 world. There is a fear among employers that potential job applicants will not apply for a position during a time of uncertainty and fear, but the numbers are not supporting this notion. This has not been our experience. Our experience has been and continues to be that those who were actively looking for a job before the pandemic are using this time wisely to seek a better position for which they are very qualified. If an employee was unhappy in their position pre-pandemic, the pandemic has likely not changed that reality for the employee. The employee is likely even more motivated to get a different job.

In addition, the job market is seeing more passive job seekers who have feelers out in case they see a better opportunity for themselves. The reality is that now more than ever, businesses need help finding and keeping quality workers, managing their back office and workers compensation. They need help finding those stand-out candidates who otherwise would not be looking for a new job if it weren’t for the pandemic.

Here are some tips every employer looking to hire employees needs to know.

Be Ready When the Hiring Freeze is Over

There is no denying that many businesses have been forced to enact a hiring freeze due to disruptions caused by COVID-19, but we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The hiring freeze has created some degree of fear and uncertainty for employees and employers. Employees fear they could be facing a layoff soon. Employers can do a lot to ease those fears by instilling open communication with employees.

Soon there will be an influx of recently furloughed or unemployed workers looking for jobs. This is good news because it means an increase in the labor pool, which means more candidates to choose from when hiring. A good staffing firm can help by providing sound sourcing and candidate vetting strategies. Start that conversation now so you have a plan in place when the hiring freeze opens up.

Improve Processes and Leverage Relationships

Use this time to audit your company’s hiring processes and see where improvements can be made and where opportunities can be leveraged. Even if your business and thus your hiring of new employees has stalled, you can still focus your attention on improving existing relationships with candidates in your pipeline now with the hopes of extending offers in the future. Take advantage of any down time now to develop or revamp your recruiting processes so you will hit the ground running when your hiring needs increase. When hiring increases do come, as we know they will, we will likely see another labor shortage. Using this time to prepare is wise. Hiring a staffing firm to help guide you – or better, do all of the work for you – is also wise.

Nurture Your Leads

Whether you are working alone or with a staffing firm, you want to be building a pipeline of potential candidates and reaching out to them regularly to keep their interest in your company high. This is also a great opportunity to communicate with them all of the ways your business is better than the competition. Keep them engaged with helpful articles they can read.

You will want to develop a set of criteria to create a list of candidates who have these minimum qualifications so you have a clear picture of who you are talking to. You may even choose to contact some candidates via the phone to have a one-on-one personal conversation about your business and where you are in the hiring process. During a time that requires physical distancing, a personal call will go a long way toward keeping a potential candidate’s interest.

If you do your job well, when it comes time to move forward in the hiring process, you will have highly motivated and engaged candidates. This will reduce your time to hire. Remember: Your recruiting communications are the first and most influential touchpoints with your potential employees. Make them count.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

The pandemic has caused a major push into a stronger reliance on virtual technologies. For many employers, this move may be intimidating or overwhelming. Some companies cannot afford to purchase webcams and other equipment to meet current needs. We have been seeing a shift toward virtual interviewing before the pandemic hit. We can say with confidence that it is not going away. This is another area where a staffing firm can be a big benefit and a money saver, making use of the technology they already offer and are masters at using. Virtual interviewing is highly efficient, enabling you or your agency to quickly identify the best candidates, weed out candidates who do not meet your qualifications, and move through the recruitment process without incurring any travel costs whatsoever. No booking a conference room and no worrying about candidates running into each other.

Leverage This Time to Create Opportunity

The pandemic has created challenges and opportunities when it comes to hiring. For some employers, this reality has been more difficult than for others. At some point, hopefully very soon, the pandemic will end. Businesses have an opportunity now to use this time to adopt more efficient recruitment strategies.