Hiring in a crisis: 6 strategies for uncertain times

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Hiring during a crisis can be a daunting task. The global pandemic has made it even more challenging for organizations to find and retain the right talent. Many businesses are facing budget constraints and hiring freezes, while others are struggling to keep up with the changing demands of their customers. In such uncertain times, companies must adopt new hiring strategies to navigate these challenging times. 

In this blog, we will explore 6 strategies for hiring during a crisis and provide real-life examples of how these strategies have helped businesses overcome hiring challenges.

How does the crisis impact hiring? 

Reduced job openings: During a crisis, companies may put a hold on hiring, freeze open positions, or reduce the number of job openings. This is often due to budget constraints or uncertainty about the future.

Increased competition for jobs: With fewer job openings available, there may be increased competition for available positions, making it harder for job seekers to secure employment.

Remote hiring: In situations where physical distancing is necessary, hiring may move to a remote or virtual process, including video interviews, virtual job fairs, and online assessments.

Changes in job requirements: During a crisis, companies may prioritise hiring individuals with certain skills or experience that are essential to navigating the crisis. This may mean that some job requirements change, and certain industries may see an increased demand for workers with specific skills.

Delayed hiring: The hiring process may take longer during a crisis due to uncertainty, logistical challenges, or the need to prioritise other business operations.

6 strategies for hiring during a crisis

Create a Hiring Plan


The first step in hiring during a crisis is to create a hiring plan. This plan should outline the roles that need to be filled and the timeline for filling them. It should also take into account the current economic situation and the company’s financial situation. The plan should be reviewed regularly to ensure that it is still relevant and that adjustments can be made as needed.

In 2020, Amazon announced that it would be hiring 100,000 full-time and part-time employees in the U.S. and Canada to meet the surge in demand for online shopping due to the pandemic. The company created a hiring plan that included virtual job fairs, online assessments, and video interviews to ensure that they could fill the positions quickly and safely.

Prioritize Roles

During a crisis, it’s important to prioritise roles that are critical to the business. This means identifying roles that are essential for the company’s survival and filling those positions first.

In the healthcare industry, hospitals and clinics are prioritising the hiring of nurses and doctors to ensure that they can provide the necessary care to patients. They are also prioritising the hiring of administrative staff to handle the increased workload and administrative tasks related to the pandemic.

Use Virtual Interviews and Assessments


Virtual interviews and assessments are becoming more popular in the hiring process, especially during the pandemic. They allow companies to continue the hiring process without the need for in-person contact, reducing the risk of infection.

As per a survey conducted by Gartner, 86% of organizations have switched to virtual interviews to hire candidates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the uncertainties caused by the pandemic, 82% of these organisations anticipate a decline in external hiring over the next three months.

Be Flexible with Job Requirements

During a crisis, it may be necessary to be more flexible with job requirements to find the right talent. This means being open to candidates with transferable skills or those who may not meet all of the job requirements but show potential for growth.

In the hospitality industry, hotels and restaurants have had to be more flexible with job requirements due to the pandemic. For example, a hotel may hire a front desk associate who has experience in customer service but may not have a hospitality background.

Embrace Remote Work

The past two years have had a profound impact on our lives and have led to fundamental changes in how we view work. The collective experience has altered our understanding of the role of work in our lives. 

The Great Reshuffle, where employees are reassessing their priorities and seeking a better work-life balance, is ongoing. As more people experience the benefits of flexible work arrangements, it becomes a significant factor in the decision-making process. 

Embracing remote work has become increasingly important in today’s business world. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the trend towards remote work, and the benefits have become apparent.

 Remote work allows for more flexibility, greater autonomy, and a better work-life balance. 

According to an internal survey by Dropbox, nearly 90% of their employees feel they can be more productive while working from home. Additionally, workers have expressed a preference to move away from the rigid five-day, in-office workweek and instead embrace a more flexible work model.

Focus on Employee Referrals


Employee referrals are an excellent way to find new talent, especially during a crisis. Employees can recommend candidates who are a good fit for the company culture and who may have transferable skills.

According to 2021 study, has revealed a significant finding that only 4% of companies utilising referral programs for recruitment are “power users” and can hire 30% of their employees through referrals, despite 72% of companies using such programs. This indicates a vast untapped potential for many organisations. With the recruiting challenges posed by the pandemic, many enterprises are now turning to referrals, and this percentage is expected to grow in the coming year.

Mistakes you must avoid when hiring in crisis

During times of crisis, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, hiring managers may feel pressure to quickly fill open positions. However, it is important to avoid making certain mistakes in the hiring process, including:


    1. Rushing the hiring process: While there may be a sense of urgency to fill open positions, it is important to take the time to find the right candidate for the job. Rushing the process can lead to poor hiring decisions that can ultimately cost the company time and money.

    1. Ignoring cultural fit: During a crisis, companies may prioritize technical skills over cultural fit. However, it is important to consider how a new hire will fit in with the company culture to ensure a positive work environment.

    1. Focusing too much on experience: While experience is important, it is not the only factor to consider. During a crisis, candidates may have gaps in their resume due to pandemic-related layoffs or other factors. It is important to consider a candidate’s potential and ability to learn on the job.

    1. Neglecting communication: During a crisis, communication is more important than ever. Employers should communicate regularly with candidates throughout the hiring process to ensure transparency and avoid any misunderstandings.

    1. Overlooking diversity and inclusion: While diversity and inclusion should always be a priority, it is especially important during a crisis. Companies should actively seek out candidates from diverse backgrounds and ensure that their hiring process is inclusive and unbiased.

Remember, hiring in a crisis doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By taking the time to avoid common mistakes and prioritizing open communication, companies can find the right candidates who will thrive in their organization’s culture and bring fresh perspectives to the table. And who knows, with the right hire, they might even bring some much-needed fun and positivity to the workplace during these challenging times!

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