How to Effectively Hire During A Crisis

A crisis can be an opportunity to onboard great talent, or optimize your process. Here’s how to make the most of hiring during a crisis.

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Hiring during a crisis is always tricky. You may need to replace positions you eliminated when disaster struck, or perhaps you’re pivoting your business in a new direction, which requires new expertise. Or perhaps you’re in an essential industry and your current staff can’t keep up with the demand. Regardless of your reasons for onboarding new staff, hiring in the midst of an economic crisis or a pandemic can make the process seem hectic.

Assess your process and needs

Before you start the hiring process, it’s critical that you assess your needs and forecast. After all, the last thing you want to do is onboard a new employee and have to lay them off three months down the line.

It can be helpful to draw up a list of your priorities, your current workflow, and what your new hire would be doing. Do you need a long-term employee? Or can you hire on a contractual basis and perhaps move to a long-term contract once things stabilize?

And remember, you just won’t be offering a salary if you hire a full-time employee. You’ll also need to take into account healthcare costs, onboarding costs, and vacation and sick days. 

And remember, you just won’t be offering a salary if you hire a full-time employee. You’ll also need to take into account healthcare costs, onboarding costs, and vacation and sick days.

Make sure you have a clear view of your cash flow before determining what kind of hire you need.

Change internal processes before taking on anyone new

Next, you’ll want to take stock of your internal processes. Is there anything you can further optimize? What about your current employees — is anyone underutilized?

Considering that the cost per hire averages at about $4,000, it’s critical that you decide whether a new hire is necessary and if they are, how you can streamline the process.

And while you may have a larger pool to choose from during a crisis, you need to be more precise about your needs and hiring packages than before. Make sure your job description is as clear as possible, and that your package is designed to narrow down your applicant pool.

Considering the new remote work environment, you may want to consider interviewing applicants from home using software like Zoom or Skype. Online interviews may take less time, and allow you to respond to applicants more quickly.

Take a look at your past employees

The Harvard Business Review estimates that 80% of employee turnover is due to hiring mistakes. But while there is a lot at stake, if you took a serious look at your internal hiring process, you’ve already taken some steps so decision-making will be easier.

Before you go looking for new talent, did you have to let someone go at the beginning of the crisis? Or do you have former employees looking to return? This is the place to start. Since your former employees already know your business and their responsibilities, the process of hiring and onboarding will be faster and you’ll cut down on expenses.

The Harvard Business Review estimates that 80% of employee turnover is due to hiring mistakes.

Similarly, you may want to prioritize referrals in the interview process. While a referral does not indicate talent or company compatibility, new hires already familiar with your team will be more open to communication and will likely integrate into the company culture a bit quicker.

Focus on employee retention

Your effort should be spent on retaining both your new hires and your long-time employees. Employee turnover is costly and even if you have more options during a downturn — do you really want to spend time hiring and onboarding when you could be stabilizing and expanding your business?

Not only is consistently rehiring a time-consuming process, but employee turnover is expensive. According to SHRM, you could be spending up to 9 months of your employee’s salary to replace them.The good news is that you don’t need to invest in fancy and costly perks to keep your employees happy. Simple solutions like in-depth training — even if offered remotely through video conferencing – can be extremely valuable to your new employee. A report by go2HR found that 40% of employees who do not receive quality training leave within a year. Quality job training can also boost your bottom-line by up to 24%.

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