Human Resources: Hiring In The New Normal

In many organizations, human resources has played an essential role in response to COVID-19, from adapting policies for a remote workplace to ensuring compliance with new legal requirements. And many of the changes HR professionals pioneered to see their organizations through the crisis may be lasting, like the impact on recruiting practices.

As companies emerge from the pandemic, they’ll likely see talent acquisition evolve in several areas – with technology taking the lead in every one.

Sourcing Candidates

The effect of COVID-19 on unemployment rates means companies have access to more talent than in recent times. To find the right candidates, in-person job fairs are out due to safety concerns. Instead, to reach mass candidates, digital job boards and aggregators, social media and drip campaigns are key. And technology can be used in more novel ways as well. Embedding videos can make your listings stand out. Consider messages from a hiring manager or videos that show off your company’s culture. According to CareerBuilder, there’s a 34% greater application rate when job postings have video.

Applicant Tracking

Technology will be more important than ever to streamline the remote hiring process. Consider applicant tracking systems that centralize all of the steps involved, from sourcing and evaluating through hiring. They also speed response times to applicants, boosting their satisfaction. Integrated or standalone, chatbots can also ease the demands on HR by directing candidates to jobs that fit their interests, screening candidates and answering common questions. But remember that the right balance of human and automation is important. So be sure to keep up communication to keep candidates updated on throughout the process.


Even as businesses open back up, not all staff will be on site. And those who are will be practicing social distancing. So for safety reasons, it may not be wise to bring candidates into the workplace for interviews. Instead, many employers will continue to leverage the technology they relied on during the pandemic like Zoom to conduct virtual interviews. You can arrange these with one person or a group – and even hold sessions for applicant presentations. Just be sure to follow the same formal structure and professionalism you would if you were conducting the conversations in person.


Effective engagement starts with successful onboarding. And with the right planning and tools, virtual onboarding can be seamless. For example, offer letters and new hire paperwork like a Form I-9 can be done digitally. For workers who will be starting their job remotely, ship laptops and devices and have your team configure the systems remotely. Share virtual versions of welcome packets, employee handbooks and presentations that are usually provided in person. Introduce new staff to colleagues, management and other new hires through online meetings. If someone typically sits with and teaches new employees, shift to instructional videos. And schedule frequent check-ins to touch base.


In some cases, more in-depth training of new employees is required – and can’t be delayed. Here’s another area where technology can come to the rescue. Online learning platforms can combine live instructor-led content with videos, articles and projects employees can do on their own to enhance education and engagement for remote employees. To let new workers know how they’re performing during their training, be sure to provide feedback and guidance. Some learning management systems support tests and quizzes for quick checks as well as reporting features that show learner progress that can be shared.

John Stebbins is senior vice president of Benefits for Complete Payroll solutions, For more guidance with talent acquisition, contact Complete Payroll Solutions at 401-332-9325. 

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