Tips for making good hiring decisions during Covid-19

Apr 28, 2020 | Selection & assessment

Whether you are continuing to hire, reducing your intake or deferring offers ISE CEO, Stephen Isherwood, offers advice to support student and graduate recruiters during this difficult time.

As the economic impact of coronavirus has become apparent, employers are reviewing their full-time student hiring needs.

Hiring students and graduates during Covid-19

Many employers are still hiring. In fact, a number of employers are now making offers to candidates who they have only interviewed and assessed online.

  • It is possible for you to recruit candidates when office-based interviews and assessment centres are no longer feasible. You could:
  • Increase your use of web-based interviews, either in real time or via video interview
  • Use web tools to deliver modified assessment centre exercises
  • Increase the range of online assessment tools included in your recruitment processes.

A key area of student development has been the management of online group activities. Many employers are now using Zoom and similar tools to conduct group activities online. This requires careful management e.g. it needs two recruiters with one focused on technical issues and the other on running the group. The ground rules have to be carefully set and candidates may need encouragement to share video. Some student employers are offering a practice call in advance. At the moment most are working with breakout groups of around six.

For help selecting and working with the most effective recruitment technology for your needs, talk to your existing suppliers about the solutions they offer or visit the ISE ‘Directory of Supplier Services’.

Once you’ve hired, keep communicating. Students are understandably concerned and seeking reassurance that they still have a job offer. Use ‘keep warm’ activities to keep in touch with your candidates, e.g. send newsletters, establish online communities or assign onboarding buddies.

Deferring or reducing your intake

Some organisations are either suspending additional recruitment or considering delaying or rescinding existing offers.

If you are to suspend candidates already in your pipeline, treat them as you would your existing employees. You’ll find advice on communication strategies in our Student Employer’s Guide to Covid-19

If it is necessary to defer start dates or rescind offers, the impact on your candidates and employer brand could be significant. Some questions to ask the business:

  • Are there other areas of the business where candidates can be offered roles?
  • Can you offer candidates due to join this autumn the option to start in 2021?
  • Can you offer an incentive or compensation to candidates affected?

Key in the decisions you take is the buy-in from your organisation’s leadership. They can help by supporting and reinforcing decisions made:

  • Ensure that other business units take candidates no longer needed in others.
  • Take the lead on difficult conversations internally and ensure decisions taken are fully supported at the top of the organisation.
  • Agree communication strategies.
  • Approve relevant financial decisions.

As an example, here are the steps some graduate recruiters took when they had to reduce hiring numbers during the last financial crash.

  1. Identified business areas that no longer needed all of the students due to join in the short term whilst factoring in long-term resource needs.
  2. Reviewed all other recruitment activities in the business for opportunities to move surplus candidates.
  3. Formulated a plan across all business units affected and secured leadership agreement that ensured the approach was fully adhered to.
  4. If only a proportion of hires needed to be deferred, determined a ranking system to decide who would be affected – e.g. assessment centre scores or timing of offer.
  5. Offered deferral compensation – e.g. one payment when the candidate accepted a deferred role and a subsequent payment when joining at a later date.
  6. Created scripts to be used when communicating with students and ensured managers made personal calls to those affected.

This is an excerpt from ISE’s Student Employer’s Guide to Covid-19

You can find more insight on how employers are dealing with the current situation in ISE’s research report: how student recruitment and development teams are responding to coronavirus

Was this article helpful?


Share This