Should Companies Continue Recruiting Talent During COVID-19?

My clients are asking whether or not it makes sense for them to keep recruiting staff, especially with so much uncertainty during COVID-19. For one of my manufacturing clients, their challenge was that half of their staff had been furloughed and only essential personnel were working. They were concerned how those who were furloughed would feel if they saw the company continuing to recruit/hire new staff.


I’m sure that other companies are experiencing this same dilemma. Recent data suggests that 60% of companies across the U.S. have a hiring freeze or are waiting to see what happens with COVID-19 before they begin to start recruiting again. I’d like to share some ideas about recruiting talent during this crisis that I provided to my manufacturing client.

1. Follow your company’s core values or principles regardless of the steps you decide to take. These define who you are as a company, why people work for you, and why customers want to do business with you. Our current crisis doesn’t mean you should stop being who and what you are as a company. These times will pass, and you don’t want to harm your reputation in the marketplace.

2. Determine what your long-term plan will be for recruiting staff. Will my organization structure change? Will my staffing levels increase or decrease? Will a different mix of employees, i.e. full-time, part-time, independent contractors, consultants, be needed?

3. Re-evaluate your organization’s job descriptions to match your long-term recruiting plan. Be sure they are updated to match your expected hiring needs and use this time to benchmark base salaries so you are ready to compete when you begin recruiting.

4. Review your hiring process and tweak it where necessary to fit these changing times. Maybe you can use this time to teach hiring managers the best way to interview candidates. Many companies are using video conferencing to communicate with employees; if it works for others, it can work for you.

5. Continue to recruit for mission-critical jobs. As we all know, recruiting takes time especially when your company’s recruiting processes have been tossed up-side down. For most people, you will be conducting interviews in a different way. Remember, all you’re doing differently is turning on a video camera. The end result is the same: you want to hire the best person for the job.

6. Over-communicate. It will be important during these coming weeks to ensure your employees, both active and furloughed, understand what is happening at the company. For furloughed employees, it will be important to explain why you are still recruiting for mission critical jobs, i.e. they will help drive future revenue and keep the company solvent for future challenges. For all employees, they need to understand your plans when the switch gets turn on to return back to their physical work location.

Hopefully, you find this information helpful as you think about recruiting talent—especially now. Recruiting talent now is about supporting the long-term viability of your company, your core values, your customers and most of all your employees.


If I can be of assistance to help you and your company attract and retain talent, please reach out to me, Jim Geier, President & CEO, HCC Partners.

Contact us at 215.244.8110 or jim.geier@hccpartners.com