Hesitate or Hire? Growing in COVID

California just hit the two month mark since Governor Newsom ordered the shelter in place. These are interesting times for our communities, nation, and world. The economic impact is inevitable and the weight is too much for some businesses. As I was scrolling through my newsfeed the other day I saw a restaurant in a neighboring city featured for having to close their doors with a sign posted saying “Picked the wrong year to open a business, we will try again later”. If you still have employment or a business that is operating, it is hard not to get discouraged and feel for those around you that are struggling. The unemployment rate in the U.S. is soaring, the worst since the Depression era. We are in no shortage of bad news, it seems.

In an effort to spread some positivity, I thought I’d share about an article a colleague forwarded me. The title alone intrigued me, “Now Is an Unprecedented Opportunity to Hire Great Talent”. With layoffs and downsizing seen across the nation the number of people looking for employment are in abundance, but how can businesses afford to take on more personnel? Seems risky and since I’m quite risk averse, this gives me a little bit of anxiety. I guess it’s a good thing I’m not a business owner! As I read the article, I started to understand why it might be worth it for some businesses to live on the wild side and utilize this time to make hiring decisions.

Claudio Fernández-Aráoz shared Hewlett-Packard’s perspective and approach regarding recruiting. “Years later, when asked about the biggest contributor to HP’s success over the years, they routinely cited their willingness to invest in talent no matter the external economic climate.” During the 1940s when many organizations were struggling, a very new electronic equipment company continued to grow their personnel and look where HP is now!

He went on to offer suggestions on how businesses can use this time for their benefit when it comes to hiring new talent*:

  • Ask your top leaders to list three to five great players they would have liked to have hired over the past five years and then check in with those people.
  • Set up a task force to source potential candidates from target sectors and companies who may now be either jobless or open to change.
  • Interview and check references remotely with the same rigor you would in person.
  • Go out of your way to motivate the best candidates.
  • Don’t ignore the sourcing, retaining, and development of in-house talent.

*For more explanation on these tips, please visit Claudio Fernández-Aráoz’s article linked above.

“While most of us become short-sighted and irrational during crises, the best leaders and organizations stay calm and use them to their advantage, sprinting away from their competitors and never looking back.”

There is no doubt the pandemic has added an immense amount of stress to business owners. If hiring is one of those stresses, let us take that burden from you. Executive recruiting is just one of the services our People Solutions team can assist with and we are eager to help. Visit our website for information and don’t hesitate to reach out. Now is the time!

About the Author
Janae Swartz is a consultant with Morrison, working primarily in our People Solutions practice. To get in touch with Janae, please find contact information for Morrison here.


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