To say that COVID-19 has changed the way we live would be an understatement. Everything that we once deemed as 'normal', has now been completely flipped on its head and changed in ways that some of us could never imagine.

The pandemic has caused unprecedented upheaval across nearly every industry in the world, with only a few laying exceptions, and as a result, has changed the way that most of these industries operate. From logistical issues such as procurement and distribution to more everyday operations such as opening hours and store layouts, every business has in one way or another felt an immediate impact as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

One area in particular that has brought new challenges to many businesses across the world is that of recruitment. With so many people being made redundant and losing their jobs, many businesses that have managed to remain open have experienced an influx of applications as the job hunt between the unemployed intensifies. However, as a result of the ongoing pandemic, typical recruitment processes that have been successful for so many businesses over the years are now having to be adapted in order to meet government guidelines and rules.

Here, we look at some of the ways in which businesses should be operating in order to make their recruitment processes as effective as possible amidst all of the uncertainty that is going on around the world.


Getting word out

A great number of talented candidates who were actively searching for a new role before COVID struck may assume that most organisations aren't looking to being any new recruits into their business, which is why it is imperative that if you are in fact looking to hire new employees, you get the word out in as many ways as you can. Whether that is through job sites or other professional platforms and networks, you need to make it known that you are still operating, still employing and looking to move forward and adapt.

If you have any existing job postings, it may be beneficial to spend some time updating and refreshing these. If they have been posted for a while, some may see them as outdated and skip them. If they have been posted more recently, however, candidates may be more willing to apply.


Dealing with applications

As a result of lockdown, many businesses up and down the country faced an array of extremely tough decisions. Do they stay open? Do they change the way they operate? Do they need to let anyone go? Unfortunately for many employees, the latter became reality as they found themselves out of work with so much unpredictability caused as a result of the pandemic and employers not willing to take any risks. For others, the furlough scheme introduced by the UK government acted as a lifeline, with businesses able to remain open without having the need to make redundancies.

However, not everyone was this lucky and for those who were unfortunately let go by their employers, were now on the hunt for a new job. This meant that many of the organisations that remained open, such as supermarkets and other essential businesses, faced an influx of applications at a level that some may have never experienced. This in some ways, is good news for these businesses but it also introduced new difficulties when it came to recruiting the right people.

With so many new applications being submitted, there will undoubtedly be a pool of individuals that are simply not qualified for the position that they are applying for and are in some ways just trying their luck. This, of course, can be slightly counter-productive for the employer as many of the application will simply be turned away. One way to combat this and avoid timewasting is to provide simple screening questions at the first stage of the recruitment process. These could include:

  • Do you have two or more years' experience working within a particular role?
  • Are you qualified to a certain level?
  • Have you worked within a particular industry for 3 years or more?

Basic screening questions like this imposed at the earliest stage of the recruitment process allows businesses to filter out candidates who do not fulfil the criteria for the job, allowing them to push forward with applications that can be of value to the business. This also saves a lot of time for both the recruiter and applicant, a luxury that not many businesses are able to afford at the moment.



With time becoming more and more precious and many businesses looking at reducing the risk of bringing in an individual into the workplace who may have COVID symptoms, the first steps of the recruitment process are now being conducted within the virtual landscape. This may be in the form of a traditional phone interview that many organisations still carry out or in the form of video interviews, which has seen a sharp rise in popularity for obvious reasons.

Programmes such as Zoom, Google Hangouts and Skype are now being widely integrated into every recruitment procedure as they allow candidates and employers to establish suitability and built that all-important initial rapport, whilst maintaining a high degree of safety through distancing. While face-to-face interviews have proven to be beneficial in the past, they are often an unnecessary step during the recruitment process and add the dilemmas of trying to find appropriate times to meet. By taking on video and phone interviews earlier on in the recruitment phase, employers leave face-to-face visits for the more important latter stages where candidates are more suitable.


Prioritise remote working

With many businesses in the UK and around the world operating remotely for the foreseeable future, it is in your organisation's best interests to place a greater focus on skills that are associated with working remotely. This allows you to take on candidates that can be effective from the get-go within a new way of working. Some of the skills that you should be prioritising include:

  • Being self-motivated
  • Great communication
  • Effective organisation
  • Conscientiousness

Whilst your business may not be operating remotely in the long term, by making an effort to find candidates that possess the above skills, you make the onboarding and transitional process a lot easier for both your company and the candidates as they get familiar with working in a different way. All of these skills promote effective remote working and allow businesses to adapt and push forward during these difficult times.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused issues and challenges that many businesses could never predict, and we're all learning and adapting to rule changes day by day. Recruitment remains a critical process for every organisation, more so now than ever before. By implementing the above points, you will undoubtedly make finding suitable and effective candidates a lot easier.

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