5 Digital Strategies for Recruiters to Compete for Talent During COVID-19

Published: Nov 06, 2020

 Job Search       MBA       Workplace Issues       
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Traditional recruiting is becoming a thing of the past. In fact, approximately 79% of HR professionals have now replaced traditional recruiting methods with online recruiting tools. With COVID-19, these tools and strategies are required for recruiters to identify, attract, and retain top talent.

By and large, that’s a positive for recruiters, as they can now find, research, and contact a wider pool of potential talent in less time. But it’s not all good news—if it’s easier for recruiters to find potential candidates, it’s also easier for candidates to find potential roles. Things get even more complicated when remote work is added to the equation.

Taken together, these and other challenges boil down to a single question: How can recruiters compete in a digital age that offers talented candidates more choice than ever before?

Present a Positive Image of Your Organization.

Talented candidates with in-demand skills can afford to be more selective when choosing who to work for. So if you want the best, you have to be the best.

What does this mean for employers? For starters, it means you need to offer competitive benefits. These may include:

  • Great health care
  • Generous vacation allowance
  • Generous parental leave (it's not just maternity leave anymore—paternity leave is becoming increasingly popular)
  • A modern, comfortable, and well-equipped workspace
  • Flexible working hours/remote options
  • Profit-sharing
  • Funding for training and equipment, and autonomy for employees to choose how it’s spent

You also need to present your organization—and its benefits—in the right way. Avoid the generic phrases that appear in countless job descriptions, such as, "A fun and creative place to work” or, "Great career development opportunities.” They carry little weight, and most candidates know it.

The best recruiters provide more exhaustive and transparent insights into their organization. Take a look at how digital agency Distilled presents itself to candidates. Photos and employee testimonials are used to openly depict company culture. (Many organizations are using video for this purpose now, too.) If people genuinely value your company and enjoy working there, it will show.

Understand How Candidates Research Roles.

When deciding whether to apply for, or accept, a role, today’s job-hunter typically draws on multiple sources of information. They'll rarely rely solely on the potentially-biased content of a job description and a “Why work for us” page.

Glassdoor reviews and social media profiles (both the company's and its staff's) offer insights candidates are unlikely to glean directly from recruiters. Using these and other resources, they’re able to read first-hand accounts of employees' experiences within the organization and gauge telling metrics such as staff turnover rates for themselves.

While you can’t control these mediums, you can steer the narrative. Ensure your employees are satisfied and ask them to write reviews, in addition to participating in brand activism on social media.

Adapt Your Roles.

One of the biggest barriers to finding the right person for the role is a job description that asks for too much from a single candidate.

If you’re struggling to find the right person for the job, carry out an honest reassessment of the role. Are you being realistic in expecting one person to know X, Y, and Z? Is the salary you’re offering fair for someone with such a diverse skill set?

When skills are in short supply, separating roles into two or more positions or increasing compensation opens up the talent pool and greatly reduces the strain involved in finding and hiring the right talent.

Remember That an Interview Is a Two-Way Street.

Forgetting that interviews go both ways is a common mistake made by recruiters—even when hiring for skilled roles. An interview isn't an interrogation. It’s a discussion. Both the interviewer and the interviewee are there to figure out whether a fit exists for both the role and the organization.

Ask questions. Test candidates’ knowledge. But ultimately, treat them as equals. A “you need us more than we need you” attitude is not going to get you far in a market where roles outnumber talent.

Invest in Talent Acquisition.

Talent acquisition … isn’t that just a dressed-up name for recruitment? Not quite.

Both practices have the same end goal: employing staff. But there’s a difference between the two. Recruitment describes the search for a specific candidate to fulfill a specific role. It begins when a role becomes available and includes day-to-day activities, such as posting jobs and contacting candidates.

On the other hand, talent acquisition is ongoing and strategic. As Josh Spilker, Editor at Recruitment explains, "Recruiting is the act of filling a very specific position, such as calling or emailing specific candidates about a role." Spilker continues, "Talent acquisition is a strategic initiative, such as future planning and assessing your future needs, and making the right moves based on your business objectives and growth projections."

It refers to the process used to identify a company’s talent needs, as well as to ensure search activities remain in alignment with these needs and the broader company culture. An approach led by talent acquisition is essential for recruiters and HR teams in the digital age. If all you’re doing is posting jobs when roles become available, you may well end up short on talent when you need it most.

Recruiting in the digital age is all about being proactive. Unless you know what candidates are looking for and have shaped your benefits and culture accordingly, you won’t be able to lock down the top talent your company needs to succeed in the modern marketplace.


Matt Shealy is the President of ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.