Quarantine’s Got Talent: How To Recruit During A Crisis

3 min read

The Voice, X Factor, Shark Tank… Just like talent-hunting reality TV shows, recruiting for business also slows down during a crisis.

We can no longer line up our potential hires in front of us and smack big red buzzers when we decide we don’t want to employ them. Apart from being a human resource nightmare, it’s also just not very considerate. Much better to let people do it on television for our collective entertainment.

The bottom line is: recruiting and hiring during a crisis can be tough. But it’s not impossible. The talent is out there. You just have to find it. Nurturing new talent during a lockdown period will result in your agency being primed and ready to go when the world starts up again.

But what are the best ways to achieve it? How do you go about recruiting talent on lockdown? Let’s take a look at some top tips.

lockdown recruitment 2
via Giphy: Recruiting new talent on lockdown: this is the kind of reaction you want.

How To Recruit During A Crisis

The good news is that lots of people have more free time than usual during a lockdown situation. Obviously, you know better than anyone how busy your team is, so if you find that your business has some downtime, why not put it to use by running challenges to find the best creative thinkers within your agency?

Keep it light and fun. It’ll give you the opportunity to observe how people react. Try different combinations of teams; that will help you discover who works well together and who has natural leadership skills.

Soon enough, people’s tendencies will begin to emerge from these fun little exercises. You can keep a note and earmark individuals for new positions once business starts up again.

How to Nurture Prospective Talent

Once you’ve identified this rising talent, take the time to nurture them and develop your relationship, discovering where they want to go within the company so they’re ready to jump straight into a new position when lockdown ends.

Identifying new talent can be done in a combination of ways:

  • Make a list of any company positions you may need in the future, or even create brand-new potential roles you’d like for future services.
  • Organize a couple of Zoom calls to really get to know your prospective talent on a personal level and discover their ambitions.
  • Scout employees who are already in your agency for these roles. If you need to look further afield, now is the perfect time to do that, as there are plenty of furloughed workers out there in dire need of stimulation; distract them with a fun project, or just drop in (virtually) for a chat.

It’s true that there’s not a lot of movement on the hiring front during a crisis. But that doesn’t mean the wheels shouldn’t be turning behind the scenes. Lockdown gives recruiters the opportunity to think long-term while providing the breathing space to consider new approaches and strategies.

Mother, an advertising agency in London, has actually hired people during lockdown, who then started work remotely. So don’t assume that recruiting has ground to a halt just because it isn’t as prominent as it used to be.

lockdown recruitment 1
via Giphy: Interviewing new staff while on lockdown: don’t be this guy.

Potential Struggles with Onboarding People Remotely

Of course, onboarding people in a remote capacity does have its drawbacks. Interviewing new staff during a lockdown is not ideal; so what are some of the issues you might encounter along the way?

You can’t meet in person

Sometimes, the only way to get a true feel for someone is by meeting them face-to-face. Zoom and Skype are useful, but there’s still a barrier there that can stop you from getting the full measure of a person.

The future remains uncertain

An uncertain future leaves you unable to 100% guarantee a position. No one knows what the next 12 months will hold, but it’s a good idea to pencil in people for these potential positions and continue as normally as possible.

Gauging chemistry can be difficult

Part of the effectiveness of a team comes down to the trust and dynamic between its members. When everyone is working remotely and you’re bringing on new people to be part of an existing team or forming a new one, it can be hard to gauge a sense of chemistry. What works well over Zoom might not translate to the real world.

Of course, the opposite can also happen: a team that doesn’t quite connect on a remote level can suddenly burst into life once they meet each other and start working together. But this is definitely something to be aware of from the start.

Being an end-to-end agency management tool, Productive can help you keep track of your staff’s collective skills, interests, and ideas about the future. That means when you’re out the other side of lockdown and in a position to hire, you’re ready to go.

Properly preparing both yourself and your company for post-lockdown workflow can seem like a Herculean challenge. But you can make it so much easier on yourself by hiring the right people at the right time. Quarantine’s definitely got talent – but it’s up to you to go out and find it.

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