6 things to be aware of when hiring during COVID-19

Now more than ever it pays to be strategic in your recruitment process.

Words by The Monday Group

The harsh reality is that more than one million Australians are currently out of work as unemployment edges up to 7.5 per cent, the highest it’s been in two decades.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has estimated without the government’s JobKeeper scheme, the true rate of unemployment is closer to 13.3 per cent. Ouch!

The events and hospitality industries were some of the hardest hit, results from The Monday Group’s survey of over 200 hospitality and events industry executives revealed nine in 10 businesses reduced headcount and/or salaries due to the coronavirus.

Thousands of qualified, experienced and successful event and hospitality professionals at all levels are out there looking for work, with more to join them when JobKeeper eases back this month and again in January 2021.

Unfortunately, the number of job openings (including contract roles) in the events, hospitality and hotel space, are as scarce as taxis at Christmas time.

You’d think a crowded job market would provide some much-needed positive news for events and hospitality business owners. A silver lining, that when they’re ready and able to start rebuilding their businesses, they’ll have a glut of talent to choose from.

“In fact, a flooded job market brings its own set of problems and it’s best to be prepared before recruiting your new role, or you’ll be completely overwhelmed,” said Jonathan Lamm, managing director of The Monday Group.

Now more than ever you’ll need to be strategic in your recruitment process, otherwise it’ll be a highly stressful, expensive and time-consuming exercise. Here are some key issues you need to be aware of:

1//Volume of applications

You can guarantee that you will be inundated with applicants. We’re talking about hundreds, in some cases thousands, of emails and resumes to sort through. Where do you even start tackling a task like that? Do you have the staff, the time, the technology and the systems in place to go through every application and screen them into an effective shortlist? In amongst such a large volume, it’s easy to accidentally pass by the perfect candidate when everything becomes a blur.

2//Correct skill set

Traditionally a detailed job description along with minimum education/experience requirements or job board filters would ensure you attract the right type of candidate for your job. However, with job openings so scarce, people are looking outside their industries and applying for any role they hear about. Many people have genuine transferrable skills, but I’m talking about applicants who know they don’t have the right experience or credentials but cross their fingers and apply anyway. You’ll use valuable time and resources sorting out these unsuitable candidates.

3//Desperate candidates

Unfortunately, these are desperate times. People have financial responsibilities, families to support, and some are genuinely struggling with the enforced down-time- everyone is desperate to get back to work. You’ll be spending more time with unsuccessful applicants explaining the reasons why they didn’t get the role and standing firm in your decision. We recommend treating every applicant with genuine care and kindness, because we’re all human but also because this will reflect on your company’s brand and reputation.

4//Resume fudging

While “stretching the truth” in CVs is nothing new, COVID-19 will cause many candidates to blur the details of their employment history and skills to appear more experienced or suitable. Extending their dates of employment, using only their most senior work title at an organisation instead of showing their role progression, or claiming skills that other teammates demonstrated. None of this is illegal, but it doesn’t give the employer an accurate view of the applicant. It takes time, experience, and a trained eye to be able to spot these inconsistencies quickly.

5//Career alignment

One thing to be careful of when recruiting in a flooded job market is to make sure that the candidate’s long-term career aspirations align with the role and your company’s mission. With jobs few and far between, candidates will settle for job security and a steady wage, but you want to make sure that when things start to pick up you won’t lose your new employee to greener pastures. The time and money you invest in a new hire are significant and you certainly don’t want to end up back at square one in 6-12 months.

6//Best path forward

While many business owners and managers believe it’s more cost-effective to recruit for staff in-house and that it will be an easy process in the current crowded job market, you need to be aware of the extensive time and resources necessary to do the job properly and also understand the cost of not getting it right the first time around. COVID-19 has thrown up more issues you’ll need to contend with and taking shortcuts can have dire circumstances for your business. A crowded job market is the perfect time to utilise the expertise of a recruitment company – just make sure they’re the right fit for your company.

The Monday Group is a boutique recruitment agency specialising in the events, experiential markerting, hospitality and hotel industries, offering contract/temp and permanent staff, as well as executive search services.

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