The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected most industries. Currently, even its effects are much stronger in some sectors, and less in others, It is premature to say that we have enough details to know how to make our plans for the restart. The economic downturn of 2020 comes with so many unknowns that any medium- and long-term plan needs analysis and retreats much faster than we could have done some time ago.

Certainly, this new way of working will also be seen in the way we recruit, implicitly bringing innovative selection methods to replace the classic face-to-face interviews.

You will be able to read about how the COVID-19 pandemic affected recruitment and how you can more effectively manage recruitment processes in the following article.

How Pandemic COVID-19 changed the recruitment process

Face-to-face interviews have moved online

Measures taken by organizations around the world have followed the same pattern, and social distancing has come with new best practices: working from home, as well as minimizing unnecessary travel and face-to-face interactions. The interviews also moved from the office to online.

Remote onboarding

An office tour, meetings with new colleagues, shaking hands with others, lunch in the dining room with colleagues… They are all habits of the past.

In this new context, it takes a lot of creativity for HR people to make onboarding a pleasant and efficient experience for both the new employee and the team.

Layoffs, fewer open positions and more applications

Unfortunately, the decline in business has quickly translated into strict measures, with many employers having to make staff reductions. The scales have been reversed, and HR must now quickly retreat from a shortage of candidates to an avalanche of applications. However, filtering the right ones will be done with more effort.

Candidates are less open to change

Even if the number of candidates available on the market increases, talent recruitment will continue to be a challenge for HR. In the context of an unstable market, many valuable candidates will be reluctant to change, preferring to keep their current job even if they are dissatisfied.

How COVID-19 impacted recruitment channels

31% of participants in the COVID Challenges study for HR Departments said they would continue recruiting as planned, while 68% said they would not open new positions in the next period.  

COVID-19 has affected companies in various ways, and recruitment is no exception. Whether the hiring was stopped or maybe it was a time when more hiring was needed than usual, one thing is certain: how companies respond to these unprecedented challenges will define the relationship with future employees, with the employees they currently have, but also with the customers.

As a recruiter you can be in one of the following scenarios:

Increase in recruitment volumes: If you work in retail, pharma, you are a supplier in the medical industry, online distribution, contact center, you have certainly faced an increase in recruitment volumes. The challenge in this regard is that the HR department must act quickly, efficiently and safely.

Recruitment according to plan: If you have kept the recruitment afloat, but it is not yet possible to meet the candidates face to face, the challenge remains online recruitment.

Recruitment stopped: If recruitment has been stopped, the challenge remains to provide coherent feedback to candidates at various stages of the process.

What do these three scenarios have in common?

All of the above situations require rapid retrieval and adaptation of the recruitment funnel to changes generated by COVID-19. What are the aspects to consider in this case?

Table of Contents

Maintaining brand visibility & attracting candidates: Promoting jobs

If your recruitment process has been stopped and you still have online jobs, the first step will be to disable these ads … Or at least you will have to come up with a message that explains the current position of the brand.

On the other hand, if the volume of available positions has increased, it is important to have clarity in promoting them. Given that this period is atypical both in terms of the pool of candidates available on the market and in terms of the roles promoted, it is extremely important to cover the elements that respond to the current turmoil.  We leave below a checklist:

  • Job title
  • Period of employment (For short-term jobs, candidates who are currently on unpaid leave can be a solution to cover recruitment needs. Be sure to make these statements)
  • Required Skills
  • Location
  • What protection measures does the company take to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

The COVID Challenges Study for HR Departments, found Ongoing, indicated that the main concerns of employees are family health, personal health, job security and personal finances. Make sure you respond to these concerns from the recruitment process.

Also, expand your search area. If you recruit candidates for support centers, you may identify valuable resources among candidates with experience in customer service. For example, from pandemic-affected industries such as hospitality or retail.

Given this atypical period, the recruitment process aligned with the new requirements must be accurately described so that all candidates understand the steps to follow.

Capturing interest & applications: Informing candidates, new employees and colleagues


It is a time of uncertainty for all of us. In this context, it is natural for both candidates and employees to expect more security and reinsurance than ever before.

It is therefore important for HR to make additional efforts to communicate clearly and effectively both to candidates and to employees.

Candidates will definitely want to know:

  • How the interview will go
  • When will this take place
  • What to prepare for the interview
  • What to prepare if they are employed
  • When and how they will find out if they have been selected for that position
  • What the onboarding process looks like
  • What are the details related to the job (number of hours, number of days, duration of the contract, payment of medical leave, rest leave, benefits, etc.)

If recruitment processes have been suspended, transparency towards the candidates already involved in the project is essential. Whether you send an email directly to the candidate or upload a message on the site, a short video in which you present the current situation is important to tell candidates when you will resume recruitment or if you hope this will happen soon.

Updating automatic reply messages on recruitment channels should also be considered. It is important that they include up-to-date information.

Don’t forget your colleagues. They are a resource for recruitment and it is important to know the plans of the HR department. Whether we are talking about PR, colleagues in the sales or marketing department and they need to be aware of how HR manages aspects that can impact the brand image.


Pre-selection of candidates

If you are recruiting to cover a temporary increase in volume or a colleague on sick leave, you will need a replacement quickly.

There is no need to compromise on the qualifications required for this position if you approach recruitment correctly.

You can use assessment systems that the candidate can use effectively remotely or use temporary work services. Through them, the supplier managed both the recruitment of the right candidates and, subsequently, all the necessary formalities for hiring and the smooth running of the contract with him. In addition, the temporary work service keeps the organization’s headcount and costs under control.


Whether we recruit more than usual or simply differently, we do not want our recruitment costs to exceed our budget during these periods. In the end, no provision anticipated COVID-19 and all associated costs.

Online interviews are in this sense the right solution to keep costs under control, whether it takes place via Skype, Zoom, Teams or Webex. However, it is important to make sure that you provide the candidates with the necessary details for their proper conduct and to make sure that they know what to do.

If the selection process involves assessing certain skills and competencies, find ways to perform these assessments remotely. For example, a role-play or a quiz Kahoot can be helpful.

Above all, keep in mind that it is a period of maximum load for all of us. It is normal to have candidates at the interview who are worried about their financial security, their own health and that of their family, and that these concerns are more obvious than in the past. All you have to do is be empathetic and make sure that the recruitment process reflects the fact that you understand these concerns.


You have found the right candidates and they have accepted the job offer. There is one more step: obtaining references … A process that can become difficult in the current context in which the employees we contact may be unemployed or, worse, their health may not allow them to respond. Email can be the right alternative to get the referrals you need.

Social distancing changes the rules on bidding, signing bids and contracting. Make sure you have an efficient flow set up.

Onboarding and safety measures

Once the new employees are ready to start working, it is important that they go through the onboarding process as soon as possible. If, however, there is a period between the date of acceptance of the offer and the start date, you can involve them in a pre-boarding process in which to provide them with information about the onboarding process in the current context.

Onboarding materials may include safety measures taken by the organization to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Hand wash instructions
  • Measures on social distancing
  • How we greet each other without shaking hands
  • What we do when we sneeze or cough
  • What to do if these symptoms worsen

Information on the kitchen or bathroom disinfection program is also useful, car-sharing or carpooling vehicles etc.

Also, if the onboarding process takes place remotely, make sure that the employee has at hand all the materials necessary to start his activity with the right.

And, of course, don’t forget to introduce the new employee to the team!


All stages of the process recruitment described above have a common denominator: communication and in order to maintain the good reputation of the employer brand, clarity and consistency are essential.

But we will find the best source of inspiration for our candidates. From their shoes, we can understand the perspective of their fears and we can adapt the recruitment and communication processes.

Stay safe, maintain and promote a positive attitude throughout this period!

Monica Dona

HR Services

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