The spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has rapidly changed the world we live in. We’re all facing an uncertain future and businesses are doing their best to adapt to an ever-changing situation. In the world of recruitment, this means some companies are pressing pause while others are experiencing a huge surge in hiring activity. For example, Amazon is hiring 100,000 more distribution workers to meet increased shipment demands. 

If your company is about to experience unplanned workforce growth then we are guessing you are probably feeling the pressure right now. Here at Curious Thing, we have quite a bit of experience helping businesses hire large contingent workforces. We know you need to act quickly so we’ve created this guide to help you. First, we discuss how you can plan for success and then we outline the technology that can help make your hiring process quicker and more efficient. 

Planning for success

COVID-19 is changing a lot in our world but recruiting basics have not changed. You need to find talent and ensure they are the right fit for the job. So how do you do this when you have a week to recruit thousands of new employees? 

Be clear about the skills you need 

During a time of rapid hiring, you will need to be more flexible with your candidate skill sets. Identify the skills that are essential and prepare to compromise on the rest. For example, a candidate might not have worked in a call centre before but they may have ample experience in customer service and teamwork. By setting your sights on candidate potential and not an ideal match you will be able to get the right people in the door faster. 

Keep soft skills in mind too, eight out of 10 employers say soft skills are key to their company’s success. While you will also need to compromise in this area, skills like listening will be vital during this time. The world is changing daily and you’ll need employees who will be able to listen to new directives. 

Look beyond traditional sources 

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of skills it’s time to get creative about where to find talent. 

Woolworths made headlines by inviting ex-Qantas staff to apply for jobs. Looking outside your industry for talent can help you find people with the right skills that can be transitioned into new roles. On an altruistic level, this also provides new employment options for those in need! 

Ensure your vacancy posts reach far and wide 

If you usually post jobs on one job site it’s time to broaden the scope by advertising jobs on different job boards and social networks. About 60% of people use job boards to find new roles, 56% use professional social networks and 50% rely on word of mouth. You want to be able to cast a wide net and reach as many people as possible. Facebook and LinkedIn groups are also great places to find potential candidates. For example, contractors and freelancers in the screen industry are finding work put on pause and would be open to alternative sources of income. Posting jobs in groups dedicated to these individuals might therefore attract great talent!  

Choosing the right technology 

The right technology will be essential in helping you recruit the right people quickly and efficiently. Here are our top recommendations for technology that can seamlessly move candidates through the recruitment funnel. 

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Applicant tracking systems organise, track and sort applicants. You can use them to post jobs, capture details and track an applicant’s progress through the recruitment cycle. Applicant tracking systems also allow you to collect a pool of candidates that you can tap into in the future. Applicant tracking systems are especially useful when it comes to large-scale hiring. 

Coles recently received 36,000 applications for 5,000 job openings. Trying to manage this volume of applications in an excel sheet would be a time-consuming nightmare! 

Applicant screening software 

The right technology will help you automatically screen thousands of applicants and create a shortlist of top candidates. The best technology will help you get this done in one weekend. The primary perks of these tools are that scheduling and interviewing is automated and that data is provided allowing for analytical decision making. Candidates are also able to conduct interviews in their own time which makes it easier for them to engage. 

When choosing a solution, think through what will work best for your business now and in the future. Whatever you choose, will enhance your hiring process for years to come! In general, there are three options available to you. 

Video screening tools 

Video recruitment solutions interview candidates and tape their responses. They generally require hiring managers to watch all videos before making a decision. These solutions are convenient as they can automatically interview candidates and provide recruiters with easy access to data.  Some video interview solutions have started adopting computer vision AI technology to analyse a candidate's body language, tone of voice and appearance in order to generate recommendations. 

These solutions can help you get to know the candidate without meeting them but the downside is that this may introduce bias concerns. Making decisions based on how a candidate speaks (voice and body language) instead of what they say could mean certain demographics are disadvantaged.  For time-poor recruiters, watching all videos can also be time consuming, especially with regard to high volume hiring. 

AI phone interviewers 

AI phone interviewers like Curious Thing conduct short phone interviews to screen applicants. Instead of speaking with a person, candidates speak to a digital interviewer that is developed to facilitate a dynamic two-way conversation. This means the digital AI interviewer can lead the conversation in different directions depending on a candidate’s responses. Once answers are received they are analysed based purely on content and presented to hiring managers in real-time making it easy for them to create shortlists. 

Having a blind and accessible AI phone interviewer helps remove bias from the interview process because it analyses what candidates say instead of how they say it. This can be a pro or con depending on your viewpoint and the type of role you are hiring for as body language might be useful input in some roles.

Chatbots 

Recruitment chatbots exchange messages with candidates in order to help hiring managers collect information and make shortlists. They can be very useful for simple screening questions such as residency status and physical ability (“can you lift 5kg?”). They can also answer frequently asked candidate questions. Chatbots can present some limits when it comes to analysing behaviour and asking open ended questions. Using the written format can also be limiting when you consider people send about 15-20 words per message but when they speak use 200-300 words per question or response.  This limits data richness which is a downside of chatbot solutions. On the plus side, they can be a good solution for people who prefer texting rather than speaking. 

Onboarding software 

Once you hire candidates you don’t want to be dealing with mountains of paperwork. People management software can help you manage your new and existing staff. These solutions can send virtual contracts to employees, capture payment information,super details and relay important information to staff like WHS and uniform regulations. These processes are automated so your candidate will be kept informed without excessive manhours on your end. The best solutions will offer employee perks like discounts at various businesses and allow employees to apply for leave, change payment details and connect with staff across the business.