Virtual Recruiting Strategy During COVID-19 Shutdown

As people continue working from home and adapting to a new normal, WEC is striving to think long-term. How can we turn this unfortunate circumstance into something positive? At first glance, all the unknown that comes with a global pandemic looks like trouble for a recruiting team, but it doesn’t have to be! As a recruiter, if you can shift your perspective and the way you currently think of recruiting, there is plenty of opportunity to adapt your recruiting strategy for the longer term.

At WEC, we know the key to successful remote employees is through constant communication. That is no different in recruiting. Communicating honestly and often is the foundation of each of WEC’s recruiting practices listed below.

To give you some ideas on how to recruit virtually, during a time with rising unemployment rates and slowed hiring, here are a few communication tips all industries can use to make the most out of this time.

You may not be hiring today, but that shouldn’t stop you from preparing for hiring in the future.

Think About Your Current Pipeline and Engage Regularly

You may find your company isn’t currently hiring and you’re uncertain of when you will be inviting new talent to join your team. This doesn’t mean you should stop engaging with the candidates already in your pipeline. Now more than ever, you have the time to engage in thoughtful conversations with your active and passive candidates.

WEC is doing this by regularly checking in with professional connections on LinkedIn and via email. Your message doesn’t have to be overly complicated or full of new information on roles you’re filling or when you’re hiring. A simple “hello” and “we’re thinking about you” with an invite to a virtual 1:1 coffee date will keep you on your candidate’s radar and feeling connected during a time where we are all subject to feeling a little isolated.

You can also use this as an opportunity to share with the candidate how your company is responding to hiring during COVID-19 but keep it light! We are at a point where we are starting to feel bombarded with daily COVID-19 updates. While it’s important to share pertinent information with people, it’s equally as important to be mindful of the message we are sending. The purpose of engaging candidates during this time is to spark positivity and opportunity in your outreach and, ultimately, motivate your candidates to follow up with you.

Use Last Year’s Recruiting Efforts to Your Advantage and Reconnect with Past Offers

Remember those candidates you interviewed months ago? You can use this time to reconnect with individuals those whom you’ve made offers to in the past, that did not accept, but you would still like on your team. Many of these people may find themselves ready to change employers. It’s possible the candidate has found their current employer isn’t the right fit or may be concerned with job security. You really won’t know, until you reach out! That candidate may not have been ready to join your team when you interviewed them last year, but there is always the chance their circumstances have since changed and, if that’s the case, you will want to be at the fore-front of their mind.

Invite them to an informational interview discussion through a virtual coffee meet and remind them how much you want them on your team and all the wonderful things your firm has to offer!

Don’t Forget to Keep Building Your Pipeline from The Ground Up

You’re probably aware there are plenty of college students preparing for their careers and feeling a little uncertain of how they are going to secure a job in this economic climate. College campuses are closed, leaving you unable to visit eager students in their classroom. This doesn’t mean you can’t continue to connect with students and teach them about your company. Hosting a virtual recruiting event or attending a school sponsored virtual career fair are two ways you can connect with students today.

WEC will be hosting its annual externship event online this year. The event will feature information panels on careers at our firm and the industry as well a professional development activity. The key difference between this year’s event and events in the past, is this year we will be leveraging the use of technology to reach students at home. Instead of mock interviews in the office, we will be hosting mock interviews online. The experience is still valuable for the student and we get to show off our ability to adapt!

If you find you already have a group of students working with your company who you want on your team full-time, think long-term. You’ve taught these students everything you know and they’re ready to become full-time staff. Don’t let them go just because you aren’t equipped to offer them a position today. Think about negotiating start dates for a few months in the future. Clearly communicate what today’s reality looks like for your company. Even if you find you do not have a specific start date in the future, you should still have this conversation. Eventually you will need new hires on your team, and these are the perfect people for it.

Each of these communication strategies mentioned here are centered around being engaged, open and honest with your candidates and recruiting pipeline.

Staying connected is so important right now and they will appreciate your efforts and honesty and will be more likely to join your team when you’re back in the swing of things.