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How to Continue Being an Awesome Recruiter When Your Company Is Not Hiring

Managing a focused Talent Acquisition team during COVID-19 can be challenging but there are several opportunities to create an even better hiring process.

The ongoing pandemic has completely changed the business landscape -- seemingly overnight. And Talent Acquisitions teams, like my own, have been impacted. Many organizations have paused the majority of hiring. Teams of recruiters have experienced loss in their daily work life without the ability to perform their main job function – hiring!  Recruiting for the internal staff at the company is central to our identity. It means that as a team and as a leader, I’ve had to look at opportunities elsewhere in the HR team and wider business to re-imagine that identity. 

The impact on our team has not been just at the tactical, operational level where my team had to support business while working remotely, but at a more strategic level – identifying the new role we will play in the future talent needs to help our business stay ahead in the Post-COVID world. And so we have embraced the ongoing uncertainty as an opportunity to look inwards and rethink our processes, function, and responsibilities to better prepare ourselves for the future.

We performed a detailed analysis of the candidate lifecycle, different touchpoints, and hiring tools to understand the quality and efficiency of our hiring process.

Candidate experience was the first stop as we all are aware that it is a critical element of hiring. 58% of candidates are more likely to accept a role if the experience is enjoyable.

58% of candidates are more likely to accept a role if the experience is enjoyable.

So, we looked at our career site to ensure candidates have insight into our culture, our people, and our purpose. We’ve even drilled down into how we want to communicate with candidates via our ATS, ensuring it is engaging and exciting for our candidates. 

Today’s candidates live in the digital age and expect organizations to provide them with the latest tools to showcase their skills and knowledge during the hiring process.

Being in the business of talent provides us with an added advantage to use the latest talent assessment and interview tools to empower our candidates. We are drinking our own champagne by using our newly launched Technical Hiring Solution to evaluate tech talent. And we’re incorporating virtual interview process using our video interview solution – Video Interviewing and Live Video Interviewing.

Using these new tools has proven to be essential in these difficult times when my team had to keep the lights on even while working remotely. Using the assessments and interview solutions, we have been successful in replicating the in-person experience while comprehensively evaluating the candidate’s competencies.

We have been successful in replicating the in-person experience while comprehensively evaluating the candidate’s competencies.

Our candidates as well as hiring managers have completely enjoyed this virtual hiring experience. I see many of my peers in the industry, are now exploring and moving to assessing and interviewing candidates virtually via video and skills assessments.

SHL has employees across the world and one of the strong themes that have emerged during this pandemic has been the strong community spirit.

As a Leader, I’ve encouraged my team to support the HR family on key initiatives related to COVID. These initiatives had aggressive timelines and wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our talent acquisition team. 

My team has taken this time as an opportunity to grow and learn new skills and get more engaged with business teams. Something that they are not able to do during busier times. So, they have been attending various internal initiatives and enablement sessions to learn more about the solutions and business. And they have been enrolling in our online learning sessions to hone new skills.

During these difficult times, looking at my peers in the industry and being part of some of the Recruiter Roundtables – I see an increase in adoption of virtual assessments and interview tools, a focus on optimizing the on-boarding experience and adjusting to the new normal of reduced internal talent acquisition teams to accommodate the hiring pauses many organizations are undertaking.

I am confident that if we accept the new normal and use it as an opportunity to enhance our hiring process and redefine our roles as a talent acquisition team, we will surely be able to withstand the current crisis and steer our organization for success in the Post-COVID world.

Learn more about how you can use SHL’s Tech Hiring Solution to boost your talent acquisition team.


headshot emma payne


Emma Payne

Emma has 20+ years of recruitment experience within EMEA, APAC, and America regions and across differing cultures focused on delivering the best in class Recruitment strategy within the fast pace technology sector. She has proven experience in direct and virtual global teams, from direct management, projects, and stakeholder relationships. Her skills developed from an internal talent acquisition function to tenure in the executive search market; and she has proven experience of executive stakeholder management, job profiling, coaching for the hiring community, pay and performance management, competency-based modeling, and interviewing, company & team restructuring, talent management, change management, HR processes and leading large disparate teams across the globe.

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