How to prepare for the oncoming wave of applications


The novel coronavirus set off an economic chain reaction, as more than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began. While the restaurant, retail, and hospitality industries were hit hardest in the initial wave of job losses, Bloomberg Economics projects that white-collar support staff could see their jobs at risk in a second wave. A prolonged recession is likely, but many companies that furloughed or laid workers off earlier in the spring are beginning to rehire. As states ease restrictions and allow consumers back into restaurants, malls and salons, the need for hourly workers will rebound and hiring managers need to prepare for a massive influx of new applicants.

Millions more Americans will be seeking work over the next several months than HR teams are prepared to handle. Compounding the problem, many HR teams themselves have experienced a reduction in staff size. Therein lies the challenge: reduced-strength talent acquisition teams must wade through an ocean of applicants to efficiently and effectively identify the best candidates for the job. Ideally, a company will provide a positive candidate experience, even as pressure mounts on the HR team. Below are three easy steps companies can take to ease the hiring process in these tumultuous times.

1. Update your legacy tools

When faced with a tidal wave of applications, one’s first instinct might be to filter candidates through the tried and tested methods of long-form personality assessments coupled with an applicant tracking system (ATS). Traditional assessments can lead to high candidate drop-off rates, so HR teams will need to find the right toolset to process high volumes of applications and ensure that meaningful data is collected from each candidate.

Bear in mind that candidates are applying to multiple jobs every week. Older text-based assessments can take as long as 45 minutes to complete, making for a frustrating candidate experience causing the high drop-off rates. Many hiring teams must also spend additional time leveraging actionable insights from these assessments, and without the proper systems in place they will be ineffective processing the increase in applications as the pandemic slows.

One way to fill the gaps left by long-form assessments is to embrace a visual-based personality assessment.

Candidates can complete a visual-based assessment in under 2 minutes and HR teams gain an equivalent number of useful data points about the applicant. Freshening up assessment tools will help hiring managers meet the present demand while offering myriad benefits in the future.

2. Determine criteria for best-fit candidates

Effectively prioritizing candidates has always been important, but never more than now. As new applications flood inboxes, a company must know whom it is targeting. To determine that criteria, HR teams should build a fit score for each open position. What personality traits should the effective candidate possess? The HR team can set benchmarks for these factors and measure applicants against them to see how closely their strengths align with the job description and their role on the team.

Creating a fit score and using modern assessment tools to measure candidates will help hiring managers quickly identify the best-fit candidates and move forward to interviews. Efficiently winnowing the field to a top tier of potential employees is a necessity when your HR team is processing more applications than normal.

3. Develop your back-to-work plan now

The effects of COVID-19 extend well beyond its economic impact. Depending upon a company’s office space, returning to work might require hiring new employees to handle increased sanitation needs. Duties of various public-facing jobs like those at the front desk will need to change. Look to the world of restaurants and hotels, businesses that have had to adapt on the fly to the pandemic. Take in the development of new methods in remote recruiting as companies shed their legacy HR management solutions.

Companies are returning to work and a majority of people in the United States are ready to do so as well. There are a number of law firms and business consultancies helping companies of all sizes develop a safe, practical back-to-work plan. Take advantage of the opportunity. Now is the time to upgrade legacy tools and create new hiring protocols that can handle the incoming influx of applicants and streamline practices moving forward. You will be thankful you did.

A wave of applications is rising as companies come back to work and consumer confidence increases. Many of the 40 million unemployed Americans will be updating their resumes and sharpening interview skills in the hopes of returning to normalcy, but their candidate experience could be sullied by outdated hiring practices that will not meet the moment. If you begin developing the resources to address that problem today, you will find the right candidates to lead your company into post-pandemic success.

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Dan Sines
Dan is Traitify’s CEO, co-founder, and Chairman of the Board. An entrepreneur to the core, Dan has an extensive background in user experience and graphic design. Having managed design firms and previously started a social media marketing & production firm with Josh Spears.


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