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Re-hiring post COVID and the need to start planning now

by Theo Reilly

Quadrant Design

May 30 2021 - There is no shortage of challenges in the path of small to medium-sized businesses. Those that have survived the last year have done so through prudence, careful planning and determination, and their work is far from over. One of the main trials employers face as we move out of the pandemicís economic stranglehold is re-hiring team members to fill skill gaps.

Businesses are not designed to do nothing. They cannot simply hit pause and wait for the pandemic to be over. They have had to lay off staff, make cutbacks and manage finances tightly to survive the period of stagnation that was 2020. Now that a faint light trickles through the end of this tunnel network, businesses must plan for a return to normality. For many, this means starting the recruitment process and rehiring a brand-new cohort of staff.

When is the right time to do this? A quick peek into any working crystal ball to ascertain the political and economic future of the country should suffice. However, for those without access to any such device, it will be a matter of hard work and careful planning. Businesses need to think about the steps they need to take to improve their recruitment strategy in order to come out on top post pandemic. Outlined below are a few steps which companies need to consider when putting together their recruitment strategy.

Step 1: Identifying the missing links

What are the skill gaps in your business that need filling? Map these out from most important to least, then itís time to assess how to fill the gap. The most economical option is too upscale internally and to expand the skillset of existing employees to encompass the new field. However, employers would need to consider bringing in a new pair of hands if any of the below factors come to light.

  • New skills take over 3 months for existing employees to learn
  • If the new requirements are specialist or niche
  • Are the identified skill gaps temporary or permanent?
  • Can your team and existing employees handle the increase in workload

Step 2: The dreaded interview process

Gauging the value and suitability of an individual in a thirty-minute conversation is no small task. Behavioural techniques are an increasingly popular method of jumping past initial apprehension and addressing the practical. They involve explaining the requirements for success in the new role and then allowing the candidate to describe relevant aptitudes they have and how they used these to handle past situations. One of the main issues that arises during interviewing is that the candidateís temporary anxiety gets in the way of the assessment process.

As an employer, the way to move past this is to eliminate any sense of interrogation, with multiple sets of eyes trained on the interviewee. Rather, an employer that carries out the interview in an informal setting, is friendly and puts the interviewee at ease, so he/she feels less assessed and more relaxed. CEO Alan Jenkins of Quadrant2Design notes, ĎAn employerís ability to predict how well an employee will fare in the long-run can be extremely limited. Setting the candidate at ease as quickly as possible is the best way to get an accurate portrait of their viability for the role.

Psychometric tests are also a good way of dismantling interview anxiety, as the lack of right and wrong answers allows the candidateís natural qualities to manifest and express themselves.

Step 3: Remote work, or group solitary confinement

Even after youíve brought in the new member of your team, the assimilation process is not finished. The new format of remote working can leave many feeling like cloistered hermits, dragging unkempt bodies to and from the kitchen for repeated top-ups of tea and coffee to keep the gnawing threat of madness at bay. Do your best to bring the office into the home (a phrase I never thought I would utter) by paying attention to the new employee, including them in group calls and checking up on their status regularly. Giving the employee the impression that they are thought of and considered within the day-to-day running of the business will give them a valuable sense of involvement.

In times past (oh the golden days of old), employers could afford a certain clunkiness in the recruitment process, fumbling to get acquainted with a new employee and learn about his or her particularities. Given the budget restrictions many are now operating under, such imprudence is no longer an option, and employers will have to be diligent in their selection and onboarding processes. It is certainly not the easiest time to manage a business, but skills learned during these turbulent times could render business owners better equipped to handle whatever troubles present themselves in the future.

About the author

Theo Reilly is an independent writer and multilingual translator whose goal is to counteract stale writing in business blogs. Theo has particular interest in business and marketing-related matters surrounding the online world, web design, exhibitions and events.

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