Hiring in a Pandemic: Lessons Learned and How to Adapt

Here we are… in the new normal. It may be a new normal that is constantly subject to change at a moment’s notice but it’s normal we have been able to familiarise ourselves with over the past few months.

Wheels are back turning, cogs are back whirring, and zoom family quizzes are thankfully a thing of the past. The initial shell shock has subsided and businesses are now getting back on track with previously scuppered plans.

Maybe you’ve put hiring on the back burner or maybe you’ve steadily grown your teams throughout Storm COVID. Either way, you will have noticed that recruitment has been changed permanently.

Growing out high performing teams this year has provided us with an abundance of lessons and tips. From these, we have collated our three most important takeaways from this to help you in your future recruitment endeavors.

Video Interviewing – Setting a precedent for remote working culture

As a recruiter, I have witnessed a number of blunders from candidates using video interview technology. From Tiger King virtual backgrounds being left on from their previous virtual drinks session to unfortunately placed mirrors revealing the reliable shirt and tracksuit bottoms combo.

On the flip side of this, my candidates have made me aware of the downfalls of companies when interviewing and onboarding remotely. The number one thing that has come back as critical feedback from candidates was the overwhelming lack of personal connection that is vital to so many prospective employees. Video Interviewing has taken away large amounts of friendly body language and eye contact which we take for granted when forming a connection.

While 9 out of 10 times this is the fault of technology and not of the interviewers, our clients have been able to use this feedback and take careful care of how they interact with candidates virtually, making an extra effort to allow that personal connection to be established. It is also important to note that in a lot of cases this relationship between you and the new employee will exist through a 14-inch screen for the foreseeable future. So something as simple as looking into the webcam as opposed to at the screen can go a long way to assure candidates of a positive remote working environment.

video interview

Contractors – The Original Remote Workers

With hiring being treated with more caution than ever a lot more time is going into making sure that a new position on the team is justified. A number of our clients have urgent projects but want to make sure that their new hire will have a meaningful and fulfilling role after these key projects have finished. These conversations are leading more and more to temporary hires as a solution.

While traditionally the norm within IT, Contractors have become more appealing in areas like digital marketing, operations, and eCommerce. With so many companies are undergoing digital transformations and eCommerce implementations/revamps it makes complete sense to get these specialists in to complete these projects on a short term basis.

Our clients that have made the move into hiring contractors have found that they have been able to bring on professionals for shorter periods that they wouldn’t have had the budget for to bring on full time and have had entire teams benefit from the training and processes put in place. They also bring with them a career’s worth of remote working experience, making the onboarding process so much easier.

Batman_You Merely adopted remote working

Overqualified Candidates – Potential Pitfalls

Combing through endless irrelevant CVs of people who have clearly not looked at the posted job description (or think that posting pictures of their dogs on Instagram qualifies them for Heads of Social Media roles) has been a constant headache for HR and Hiring Managers. While this annoyance is still very much happening, we are also seeing an increase of CVs on the other end of this spectrum. I am talking about candidates that are far too qualified for the roles they’ve applied for.

Perhaps the role they’re applying for was a position they held four years ago or maybe they were twice the salary in a previous job. Overqualified candidates can seem very appealing at first glance having the necessary experience and beyond for the role at hand. There are some important things to consider with these candidates however.

They are in a position where their career opportunities are more limited than previously so it is important that they are not looking to make a side move or take a step backward in their career out of panic. This can be teased out with a careful line of questioning ensuring their genuine interest in your company and how it fits in with their career plans. They might seem like a bargain for their experience but an effective recruitment process is needed to make sure that they won’t jump ship if they get a better offer a few months down the line.

When faced with these candidates try to remember the reason you decided on the experience level required for the new role in the first place. If there is scope to change the position from executive to manager it may be a good fit but if you need an entry-level candidate it is best to stick to the original job spec.

While that old adage “The only constant is change” rings truer than ever, there is no hiring obstacle that can’t be overcome with an adaptable recruitment strategy. More and more innovations will continue to be made throughout this period to deal with the issues outlined above and with more of your time and energy being freed for you to focus on your team.

For more information on effective remote onboarding, check out my article on 3 Key Tips to Improving your Remote Onboarding Process or for a chat through some of the above insights hop on a call with me on 085 144 8449 or email me on

IMPROVE ONBOARDING, remote onboarding, how to improve onboarding, starting work at home,

stephen_reedAuthor: Stephen Reed

Stephen Reed takes the lead as one of our top performing Digital Recruitment Consultants. Stephen has been an absolute powerhouse since joining TalentHub two years ago in helping candidates achieve their career goals and by helping Clients achieve a winning hiring experience.


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