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Things I Wish I Knew About COVID Hiring in March


Business Insider reports that only 4% of workers want to return to the office full-time after COVID. This number is down from 33% in April. The number of telecommuters has been steadily rising well before COVID. Studies have also shown that workers are more engaged and productive when working from home. Traditional habits die hard, but the economic benefits of the virtual workspace are now too obvious to ignore. Top companies like Uber, LendingTree and Wells Fargo are telling their employees to expect to work remotely for the rest of the year! Some experts think the crackdown period will last even longer for certain areas depending on how many cases are reported.

If you are recruiting now, you are at an advantage — you get to create your team based within this new paradigm rather than reorganizing in response to it. Has your company’s hiring culture evolved to accommodate?

More importantly, have you reconciled with the idea that post-COVID recruitment is new for everyone, and you’re allowed to experiment with the process?

Physical Location: Not as Important

With everyone excited about the possibilities of remote work, employers no longer need to worry if a prospect has the means or the willingness to relocate. Companies can focus on hiring the most talented person for the job instead of limiting that search because of geographic limitations. Training can also take place virtually, saving the company the expense of bringing employees on site to onboard.

Because employees are at home or in the coffee shop, companies no longer have to worry about odds and ends disappearing around the office. Add in your savings for rent, insurance, worker’s comp, utility bills, the busted toilet, the espresso machine, free Friday lunch and getting over the rush hour commute and you have quite a substantial cost savings.

A Wide Open Talent Pool 

Opening geographic borders also opens the door to elite performers with diverse voices from related industries. A wider talent pool adds to the company perspective, which is a quantifiable asset in a diverse globalized economy. More access to wider pools of talent also creates a buyer’s market for talent, which should help a company’s efficiency in the short term.

Over the long term, larger pools of talent ideally lead to better results. Not only can you pick better individual talents, but you have the opportunity to put together full teams that synchronize more closely as well. You will probably find there are many people who fit your technical criteria for a position. Which of these will have the talent to work together in a virtual environment? Use your leverage to find this to gain the edge.

Strategic Thinking for the Future

Many companies are taking advantage of COVID as a chance to rebuild. With the ability to pick and choose your talent from across the world, are you looking into the future for your company? Employee retention is just as important as hiring — estimates say that the average company loses around 1.5X an employee’s salary every time its revolving door swings around. Forget about the loss of energy and synergy.

The virtual hiring process is likely a slower one, but that’s not a bad thing. Make use of online assessments and automated testing to narrow your field by talent and psychology. Once you begin taking in person interviews, you should be checking off your “should haves” because all of your “must haves” are already met. Let these interviews serve as a test of an employee’s virtual communication skills as well. Your teams will correspond in the same environment, so make this part of the assessment a priority in the vetting process.

Your time offline is your time to get the hiring process done so that your business can wake up when the world does. You will also need the time to rethink company culture. How will you keep your employees engaged in the virtual space?

Believe it or not, virtual recruitment and engagement can actually be easier than traditional processes if you commit to the transformation. Telecommuting is an important work benefit for Millennials and Gen Z, and their world is naturally virtual. Let go of the old idea that management needs to keep a physical eye on everyone to improve efficiency — this has been disproved many times. Once you get past these ideas, the hiring process should be much easier even if it is new. Lastly, don’t be afraid to admit to your prospects that you are experimenting with your process. COVID was unprecedented for all of us. Don’t you want to work with people who can empathize with you and see things from multiple perspectives?

Alan Cutter

Alan Cutter founded New York City's premier digital recruiting agency, AC Lion International, and continues to lead the growing company as their fearless CEO. For over 20 years, AC Lion has been the trusted provider of revenue generating talent in the digital and technology landscape. Our reach spans from innovative venture-backed startups to enterprise level organizations. AC Lion is a proud member of the Lionseye Group, a collective of brands furthering talent acquisition through Venture Capital, HR Technology and Thought Leadership.