How Has Hiring During COVID-19 Changed?

hiring during covid 19

For those of you wondering how COVID changed the hiring game, look no further. Hiring pre-COVID was hard enough. Hiring during COVID-19 presents another set of challenges that we need to be aware of to be successful in the new world we live in related to hiring the right, the best, and the brightest.

Hiring During Covid-19: 3 Ways the Battle for Talent Has Changed

1. Verifying experience has become far more critical

The unemployment rate has skyrocketed, putting a lot of people out of work. We went from being in the best job market of all time to more people being laid off in two months in the United States history.

From the hiring managers’ perspective, you have to be very aware of a more desperate unemployed population’s behaviors. When people are desperate to get a job to survive, they will, unfortunately, say or do anything to find a job. This includes embellishing what they have done in the past or even flat out lying about roles and companies. According to HireRight’s 2017 employment screening benchmark report, 85% of employers caught applicants fibbing on their resumes or applications, up from just 66% five years ago.

This hasn’t been as big of an issue for Y Scouts. We use a covert approach so candidates can’t game the interview. When we reach out to candidates, we never let them know the role or company during our first interview. This allows us to uncover the person behind the resume without the embellishment authentically.

In this market, it is vital you have some strategy around letting people game the interview process. If you don’t have the resources to do covert outreach, consider front-loading the reference-checking process. This could end up saving you a lot of time. More critically, it could end up preventing you from making the wrong hire.

2. Remote work is here to stay

For those of you who think remote work is just a COVID fad, it’s time to believe it’s here to stay. COVID just removed all the geographic barriers to hiring talent. It’s now time to up your game both during COVID and preparing yourself for the world post-COVID.

If you want the best talent, it’s time to learn how to hire and lead a remote workforce. According to a new study by Erik Brynjolfsson at MIT and 5 other economists who conducted 2 major surveys in April and May found that about 50% of the entire American workforce is working remotely.

A virtual office offers a virtually unlimited labor pool for companies from which to recruit. You get to tap into the best talent wherever they are in the country or world. This forces companies and hiring managers to embrace this by focusing on performance and results versus “clocking in” hours.

3. Virtual culture alignment is very important

If we can all agree that remote work is here to stay, then it’s time to pay close attention to how someone presents themself virtually.

Good communication skills require being clear, concise and compelling. I would argue how someone communicates through Zoom or Teams is a good indicator of the type of professional communicator. Is their lighting good? Is their connection good? Do they articulate themselves in a manner that is engaging, inclusive of their technology? Were they on time for the Zoom meeting? All of this, we must begin to translate toward how effective someone is with their communication and presentation skills. Because in this new remote and virtual world, you almost always get what you see.

At Y Scouts, we specialize in senior-level leadership roles, so this is particularly important. But, I would argue as long as the role requires the candidate to communicate virtually, all of these things are now part of their ability to communicate in a clear, concise and compelling way. It’s also important to talk about how you, as a hiring manager, have been running your remote culture and see if it’s an effective way to keep the candidate engaged.

While we are still not completely through the woods with the pandemic, there are enough data points out there. We all need to continue using the new lens of hiring during COVID-19 to our advantage. Skate where the puck is going. The one thing COVID hasn’t changed is that hiring the right talent is still the most important thing we do in business.