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5 Key Recruitment Challenges Caused by Coronavirus

Anja Zojceska | 3/24/2020 | Recruiting

Coronavirus will have a huge impact on hiring. Discover a whole new set of recruiting challenges caused by a coronavirus and learn how to turn them into opportunities! 

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Will the coronavirus pandemic change the way we recruit?

At the moment when I’m writing this, coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to more than 190 countries and claimed nearly 18,000 lives. The number of daily confirmed cases keeps going up and no one knows when this will stop. 😟

This global coronavirus pandemic has completely disrupted people's daily lives. We are instructed to stay at home unless it is absolutely essential to go outside. In most countries, everything is closed except for the stores and pharmacies. 🔒 

What does this mean for the recruitment industry? 🤔

The coronavirus outbreak hindered employers' hiring plans. Many employers are pausing their hiring plans until they see how the situation will evolve. Some of them have no choice but to shut down their business and fire their employees.

On the other hand, some industries, such as health care and logistics, are facing a sudden need for a huge number of new employees. However, those who continue to recruit in a time of coronavirus have to apply different methods and change the way they recruit to stay safe and compliant. 😷

Thus, the coronavirus is already having a significant impact on the job market and the recruitment industry as a whole. Keep reading to discover a whole new set of recruiting challenges caused by a coronavirus, as well as my expert tips for turning them into opportunities! 💪

Recruiting in time of COVID-19: Key challenges 

Here are the 5 key recruitment challenges caused by coronavirus pandemic: 

1. Firing instead of hiring

2. High volume hiring

3. Difficulties filling jobs

4. Digitization of recruitment

5. Hiring budgets cut.

Top 5 recruitment challenges caused by coronavirus

Challenge #1: Companies are firing instead of hiring

The biggest challenge in the recruitment industry right now is quite obvious: Some companies are firing instead of hiring. Instead of hiring new employees, they are forced to fire their existing employees due to the coronavirus crisis. 😟

I said “some companies” because certain industries have been struck down especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Industries that are more susceptible to coronavirus economic impacts than others are:

  1. Travel and tourism

  2. Hotels, bars and restaurants

  3. Entertainment (cinemas, theme park, casinos)

  4. Business conferences and trade shows

  5. Manufacturers (those that haven’t received vital parts from China).

Industries that are more susceptible to coronavirus economic impacts

The first rounds of layoffs have already started in those industries. Companies from other industries have mostly imposed hiring freezes, according to USA Today. They have put hiring on pause and they are waiting to see what will happen and how the situation will evolve in these uncertain times. 

How to turn this challenge into an opportunity?

This is your opportunity to snatch top talent! 🎯

Many people will be laid off due to the coronavirus crisis. Some of the fired employees were A-players and top professionals in their field. This is your chance to get in touch with them and help them find a new position they’ll love. 

💡 PRO ADVICE: 

Even if they haven’t been laid off (yet), employees in the above-mentioned industries are probably worried about the future of their companies, and thus much more open to hearing your offer.

➡️ So don’t waste any time: Discover 5 Secrets of Writing Effective Cold Recruiting Emails and get down to business! 

Challenge #2: You need to deliver a high volume of candidates for certain positions

While the coronavirus crisis is fatal for the above-mentioned industries, it offers a sudden opportunity for certain other industries. Some companies are in need of additional workforce in order to support the growing need for their services. 

For example, job openings for cleaners are shooting through the roof. Coronavirus is causing a 75% spike in demand for new hires in this sector, according to the online jobs marketplace ZipRecruiter. Postings for work at hospitals and other health-care jobs have also risen by 35%, according to LinkedIn's report. 📈

Other industries that are extensively hiring during coronavirus crisis are:

  1. Shipping and delivery companies

  2. Grocery stores and delivery services

  3. Online learning companies

  4. Remote meeting and communication companies

  5. Childcare providers.

Top 5 industries hiring during coronavirus crisis

The world's largest retailer Walmart said that the demand for everyday goods such as food and house essentials had surged to the point that they need to hire 150,000 workers to handle it. Amazon is also raising wages and opening 100,000 new positions to ensure its delivery network can withstand the coronavirus pandemic.

How to turn this challenge into an opportunity?

Hiring a large number of candidates in a short period completely remotely won’t be possible without specialized recruitment software (like TalentLyft, wink-wink 😉).

💡 PRO ADVICE: 

If you’re a recruiter in a company that suddenly has to hire a lot of people, you’ll need some extra help. Leverage both people and tech power. 

Some great recruiters in companies shut down due to the coronavirus crisis may be available to help you. Hire them first!

Challenge #3: You have difficulties getting applications

If you’re working in a company that is continuing working relatively normally and you haven’t imposed a hiring freeze, you’ll probably have difficulties filling your open positions, especially those that were already hard to fill before the coronavirus pandemic. 

In February 2020 there was a 47% reduction of applications on average across all industries compared with February 2019, according to WaveTrackR’s report. This reduction is expected to grow even more over the next few months. 😱

Impact of coronavirus of job market and hiring


Why is that? In the tome of instability and crisis, people are reluctant to make big life changes, such as changing jobs. Similar to companies, candidates are laying low, waiting to see what will happen. They prefer to stay in the security of their current job in uncertain times.

How to turn this challenge into an opportunity?

Yes, people are reluctant to change jobs right now. On the other hand, the coronavirus pandemic may have at least one part of the recruiters’ job simpler - reaching candidates. You may be surprised to find out that it is actually easier to get hold of many candidates in the time of coronavirus pandemic. 

How can this be? Well, before the coronavirus crisis, they were busy all the time: they were in meetings, walking factories or flying somewhere. But now, they are stuck at home, bored and waiting at the end of their mobile phone. Maybe even worried about keeping their job.

💡 PRO ADVICE:

This is perfect timing for some clever employer branding! Take this opportunity to build your employer brand and differentiate your company from your competitors. 

Address both your current employees and your potential candidates’ biggest concerns - reassure them that your company is stable and supportive.

➡️ If you need some inspiration, check out our blog post Employer Branding Ideas from Facebook and Hubspot!

Challenge #4: You need to digitize your recruitment process ASAP

The coronavirus pandemic outbreak has completely changed the way we live and work. Offices are closed and we are all working from home - remotely. HR professionals and recruiters who want to survive this crisis have to adapt - and they have to do it quickly. ⏱️

Start by making an audit of your recruitment practices. Examine your entire hiring process and identify areas that aren't digital. Then find ways to make them work online. Luckily, you have a wide range of recruitment tools to support you.

Take this opportunity to completely digitize your hiring process and update it with some advanced modern recruitment practices. This may seem a bit overwhelming at the moment, but in the long run, it will make your life easier and even lower your recruiting costs!

Recruitment software benefits

How to turn this challenge into an opportunity? 

Many recruitment software are offering free packages for companies struck by the coronavirus crisis. Take advantage of their offer! 

💡 PRO ADVICE:

To help you save time, I have compiled a list of the most important software you’ll need to digitize your entire recruiting process.

➡️ Check out our list of the 10 Free HR Tools to Help You Through the Coronavirus Pandemic!

Challenge #5: You need to cut your hiring costs

“We’re cutting expenses as much as we can to be safe.”

If you heard this from your company’s C-suite, you’re not the only one. Most of the recruiters and HR professionals I talked with in the last few weeks have reported hearing the same for their executives. 

Some of them are saying their recruitment budgets are cut down in half. Some of them even have to switch from agency to in-house recruiting, which is a huge shock for them! Whatever your specific situation is, don’t panic (We seem to hear that a lot these days, huh?😅).

But really - don’t panic. You’ve got this! 💪

You can get through this AND serve as a support for your executives in the time of crisis, proving your immeasurable worth for your company’s growth.

How to turn this challenge into an opportunity?

First of all, cancel all your recruitment tech stack. This is the crisis time, so you can’t afford to pay for different recruitment software.

All you need is one simple, powerful and AFFORDABLE software to help you find, attract, select and hire top candidates. Of course, it has to be easy to adopt and perfect even for complete beginners. And you have to have it up and running in a week.

Seems impossible? Luckily, it isn’t. Introducing TalentLyft! 😁 Yes, you can have it all. For only $49 a month! Come and get it. 😉

💡 PRO ADVICE:

Maybe you can even have it all completely for free! 💰

To help out those who need it the most in time of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re giving away 3-month TalentLyft subscription plans completely for FREE! 

➡️ Check if you’re eligible to get a TalentLyft subscription plan completely for FREE!

Key takeaway: Coronavirus - an opportunity for smart recruiters! 

A new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) appeared suddenly and it spread extremely rapidly all over the world, causing huge changes very fast. 😷

COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work - and hire. Dealing with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic certainly poses some serious challenges. 

On the other hand, it (can) also has its upsides. HR professionals and recruiters who succeed in viewing this crisis as an opportunity will be those who will come out of it as winners. 🏆

However, navigating this crisis will require a different mindset and reframing challenges into opportunities. It will also require flexibility and a lot of “out of the box” thinking. 

So please, keep calm, stay positive and focus your energy on finding alternative ways of working and hiring in the coming months. 

Hopefully, after reading this blog post you gained important insights into the most pressing recruitment challenges you’ll be facing in the time of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a few useful ideas to successfully tackle them. 💪

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