Your COVID-19 Recruiting Strategy Needs to Be Skills-Based and Data-Driven

The unpredictable circumstances we’ve found ourselves in this year have had a significant impact on all areas of business operations. When we consider how COVID-19 has affected the HR vertical, it is evident that traditional hiring and recruiting processes took a serious hit over the last few months. Many believed the high unemployment rate resulting from the pandemic would make hiring talent easier, but in many industries the reverse has proven to be true.
For many employers, top talent is even more difficult to recruit now than it was before the pandemic. Amid the pandemic, many skilled professionals are hesitant to give up their relative job security and take a chance on a new opportunity. This widespread hesitation has created a challenge for organizations with an immediate and desperate need to fill internal gaps.
As the coronavirus continues to affect how businesses operate, HR teams have to seize this opportunity to step out of the same-old-same-old way of recruiting and develop a more effective approach to talent acquisition and management.
Evaluate the Current Roles Within Your Organization
When a team leader or department head feels it’s time to hire, it is all too easy for the company to immediately open up a new job requisition. Press pause instead, and take some time now to evaluate the current roles within the business, how they interact with each other, and which could be restructured to fit the company’s current needs.
It’s likely that your company is operating differently than it was this time last year, or even six months ago. As your business evolves, so should your job roles. Analyzing the positions within your organization on an on-going basis will help you understand how these roles must change to align with your emerging business objectives.
Shift to a Skills-Based Mindset
Once you’ve analyzed your positions and determine which roles really need to be filled, step back and examine your job descriptions from a skills-based perspective.
Let’s be honest: By and large, hiring managers don’t literally need someone with five years of experience or a bachelor’s degree; they need someone with the skill set necessary to get the job done. Years of experience and credentials have served us well in the past as proxies for future performance, but we now have much more information about candidates to draw from.
Instead of aiming for a certain degree or years of experience in the field, consider starting with the specific skills your ideal candidate must have to succeed in the role. Be open to how candidates may have acquired their skills. On-the-job experience plus a coding bootcamp — or a combination of employer-sponsored professional development courses and stackable certifications earned from a local community college — is just as good as a four-year degree program in many cases.
This skills-based approach to hiring helps identify qualified individuals you would have otherwise completely missed in a more traditional approach.
Assess Your Internal Talent Pool
Before starting a fresh external search for new talent, evaluate your team’s competencies. That may seem like an obvious starting point, but it can be easy to forget that the person you hired for one position several years ago has grown and learned new skills, both on the job and on their own. Those skills just might make them perfect for a new role elsewhere in your organization.
Not only is internal mobility a great way to easily cultivate top talent (without enduring a costly recruiting and hiring process), but it also plays a huge part in improving employee retention and satisfaction. Today’s workers want more learning and development opportunities on the job, and helping your employees plot out clear career paths in your organization fosters a greater sense of engagement.
One way to approach internal talent mobility is by allowing employees to take a gig approach to new roles in the company. Let them try something new on a trial basis to see how it works before making any permanent decisions.
Internal mobility is an incredibly valuable human capital management strategy because it helps you retain employees by showing them there are more opportunities within your company than outside of it. Moving employees to new positions offers them growth opportunities while also helping you establish a stronger, more agile workforce.
Follow Through With a Data-Driven Approach
We all know recruiting talent isn’t cheap. Organizations put serious time, effort, and money into attracting the right people, which means your business can’t afford to place a candidate who doesn’t meet expectations. This is why data is so crucial to your process.
Verifiable digital badges and similar credentials can offer an effective way for recruiters to assess the skill sets of candidates who may not have the traditional markers of experience in a field. The number of digital credentials issued on Credly’s network has more than doubled in 2020. Why is that so significant? Because it shows that employees and employers alike are looking for proof that candidates have the skills they say they have. When you have that proof, you have data that can help you make better decisions about where employees should be within your organization.
A hiring process designed for the pre-pandemic days will fall flat in the current climate. If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s that we have to constantly evolve. Taking advantage of your internal talent pool, approaching the process through a skills-based lens, and relying on data to drive your efforts will help you fill internal gaps and alleviate many of the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19.