Ready to hire again? Some tips for this new landscape

Premierehire Executive search and leadership strategies

Ready to fill those key roles now? COVID19 has certainly changed the recruiting landscape. You have already made so many changes but the good news is there is a lot of great talent available and looking, the bad news is there is a lot of talent looking. To help you sift through, find your match, and successfully onboard a top person here are some key recruiting strategies and best practices that will help.

Some Key Pre Planning:

1. Prioritise Roles- What was critical a few months ago might not be critical today. Check back in with hiring managers and leadership to ensure your efforts are focused on the top priorities. Determine which roles can start remote and how long they can be productive without regularly coming into the office or worksite. A quick matrix will help you determine which roles you can move forward on.

2. Remote on-boarding– An obvious new planning piece but don’t fumble this one. If not done well you may create some buyer’s remorse on the candidates part or frustrate his/her ability to be productive right away. The whole team needs to be engaged and committed to helping a new hire be successful. Create action items and accountability for each person involved so they know their part in creating a positive experience for the new hire. Avoid the out of sight, out of mind challenge with an already stressed and busy team.

3. Assign a dedicated person as a mentor or host – To ensure the new hire feels welcome and is able to get up to speed quickly a host or mentor is a great idea. This role can facilitate key items like connecting the new hire with people they need to know, making sure they are on track with their training plan and know how to use the company knowledge base, and that their tools are working to connect easily with peers and SMEs. It is a great idea to recognize the host’s role and announce this along with the new hire announcement.

Put together a host/mentor training package or strike a committee to create one. There is a lot of great material online.

Let’s Get Recruiting:

1. Build your pipeline

With many people side-lined, now is a great time to reach out and build connections with known top performers in your industry. Make a genuine connection like congratulating them on an accomplishment you saw in social media, a shared interest or group, shared alumni or acquaintances, or just asking them how they are managing in today’s challenging world. LinkedIn is your best platform for this.

To find high potential people use LinkedIn to find both the companies to draw from and the people.

Ask for referrals. Your employees are the best place to go for these since they already know the type of person who would do well in your culture. Join LI or Facebook groups in your industry and see who is there. Associations are another great place but networking in Zoom meetings is tough unless you know who you are looking to connect with.

2. Focus on top performers to maximize each hire

With all the talent now available or open to a move there is no need to settle. Maximize your future outcomes by focusing on top performers. Top performers are not only good at their daily responsibilities but also great team players that take initiatives to improve things. Top performers are five to eight times as productive as average performers. Your recruitment strategies should focus on finding such candidates and not just sifting through resumes and applicants to determine the best of a pile. The top of the pile may be the best relative to others, but they may not be the star performer who will make a world of difference on your team. Of course, a star performer will cost more compared to average performers, but the cost spent is much less in comparison to the productivity gain you reap and you need people capable of successfully navigating through a downturn and recovery.

But how do you identify a top performer? Do so by thoroughly understanding past accomplishments, dig into the motivations and values that drive them, and talk to associates if you can. Investigate the role they played, their initiative, their problem solving, their resolve and their ability to manage in stressful situations. Then, test this insight and information for consistency across interviewers and references.

To be able to best compare notes and candidates, recruiters and/or hiring managers should develop a systematic approach with structured interview questions and multiple rounds for assessing candidates for their motivation, values, aptitude, work ethic and overall culture fit.

Once a candidate is in the final rounds conduct an in-depth psychometric assessment. This is not for a yes or no decision, but to generate investigative questions to provide deeper insight into the candidate and how they will fit into your team and culture. This also helps to build greater rapport and will be valuable for new hires and their manager and/or teams get to know each other faster. We incorporate this process in all of our recruiting and all of our clients have found it to be very insightful and helpful. This is part of our ACCELERATOR program. It is available to support your own search process.

3. Tips to take your interview process online

We suggest you still conduct initial interviews by telephone. The next step is usually a face-to-face interview, but video interviews are a good substitute. Video is better than a second telephone interview as you can have a more natural conversation and it will help build better rapport between the candidate and the hiring manager. One advantage of video is that you can record a call for sharing, but make sure you obtain a candidate’s permission first and let them know how it will be used.

The key to a good video interview is that you are well prepared with your questions and objectives and have tested out your technology. Choose a quiet, distraction-free environment and avoid multitasking.

Panel interviews are possible on video but, just like in person, are not recommended if you are working to attract top talent. It is better to enable the candidate and each interviewer to build rapport, which is hard to achieve on a panel. A panel can feel too formal, says something about your culture whether accurate or not, and may turn off some candidates.

4. Formalize work from home flexibility to be an ongoing benefit

The ability to work from home even if only a few days is considered a perk to most candidates so begin to formally assess your roles and make it official which roles will have the flexibility of work from home either full or part time, even after the pandemic. You are probably discovering that you have more positions than you realized that can function on a remote basis. It is critical to document the parameters and policy used to asses which roles can work from home so as not to expose the company to discrimination charges or create animosity within the ranks. How you assess a roles ability to work from home must be applied consistently across roles and people.

Hopefully, mandatory remote work is a temporary situation, but no one knows what the reality is, and it might be an ongoing up and down issue. Fortunately, studies have shown that remote workers on average stay in their jobs longer and are more productive than office-bound employees.  Most of the challenges for companies come in compliance, accountability, and potential discrimination all of which can be managed with good policy and management. So do your homework and learn from best practices. There is a plethora of knowledge online including extensive libraries and consultants provided by your insurance providers.

Travel events and budgets can also be reassessed to determine what can be done remote and what is more valuable in person. Keep in mind that travel and in person networking may be highly valued by some so taking it away permanently will be like taking away a perk.

5. Tips to Secure the deal

The process of extending a job offer remains unchanged. Contact the candidate via a telephone or a video to extend an offer and outline the details. Just prior to the call send the offer letter or contract via email. Use an e-signature tool like Adobe or DocuSign which allows the candidate to sign the job offer letter online making the process easy and hassle free for both you and the candidate. Even if they want to sign now, be respectful and give them some time to review and arrange a follow up in the next day or so. This is an important long term decision, not a one time sale, so it is very important the candidates expectations and understandings are accurate.

If the candidate is unsure about making a move during these times make sure you address them. If a hire date needs to be delayed due to current restrictions make sure an offer is agreed to leaving only the start date open. Treat the candidate almost like a new employee by providing regular company updates and make sure someone touches base every week via phone or video.

6. Do your Onboarding exceptionally well

After spending so much time accessing, interviewing, and winning your new hire, do not allow your efforts to go in vein by delivering a below average onboarding experience. Effective onboarding requires careful planning and execution.

The main goal of onboarding is to help the new hire adjust to the goals and inner workings of your company and to get productive and have an impact as quickly as possible. Prioritize your onboarding activities that enable participation like setting up hardware and access to team collaborations tools. As always, ensure you clarify your expectations of the role, organizational protocols and procedures, and provide a timeline. Studies show that excellent employee onboarding consistently results in increased retention rates.

It is especially helpful to have an intentional ‘get to know each other’ process. Since the normal office chats and team lunches are limited or non existent you must find a means for people to build comradery. We use a simple tool called Stop Guessing for Teams. Many of our clients have implemented this and are finding it invaluable. We have access to corporate discounts for our clients at only $129 per person. Give me a call if of interest.

7. Minimizing Candidate risk – One solution with contracting

Until you can effectively recruit and fill roles you may want to balance your team with contract workers. Contact workers don’t require the extent of onboarding and setting up of perks and benefits, and their work can be project limited. This will save budget dollars and can also minimize the risk of a bad hire. If your project extends you can also extend your contracted employees. This approach acts like a try before your buy where you learn the capability of the candidate based on their work. Many good candidates might also prefer a contract, especially in these unpredictable times, so they can check you out and maintain their flexibility for other opportunities if they are not sure about long term fit.

Hopefully, the above tips will help you start planning your recruitment strategy for the new normal. If you need some extra help, Premierehire can provide you with a free consultation on how we can support your search. Book a call with me on my calendar HERE.  Or contact me at (760) 579-0248.

Best of success to you for Q3 and Q4 – it can only get better!

The Author

Leanne Abraham helps leaders and teams reach higher levels of performance. She supports teams as an executive team coach, facilitator, trainer, and advisor.

She and her team also help organizations find and retain the right people through their 4 Phase Executive Search and New Leader Integration Solutions.

Leanne is a certified executive coach and team coach (EMCC, ICF); is a certified coach for Birkman Leadership and Career Assessments, has completed training with the Adizes Institute, Tony Robbins coaching, the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC), and the Global Team Coaching Institute (GTCI).

Leanne serves clients throughout the US and Canada, ranging in size and industry.

If you are looking to elevate your team, your leadership, or your career, please contact or book a no charge consult.

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