Coronavirus ‑ Communicating with prospective employees

By Paula Cerruti

Despite the profound economic impact of Covid-19 for both businesses and individuals, recruitment across many sectors remain strong, with some industries significantly stepping up hiring drives to meet unprecedented demand.

Unsurprisingly, this is perhaps most noticeable when it comes to essential workers, where staffing needs are at an all-time high and application processing is moving at record speeds, with accounts of job seekers being hired at Tesco in a matter of hours after submitting an application.

Safe to say, the current context is drastically changing the way businesses attract, recruit and communicate with talent.

Online assessments, video interviews, virtual meet and greets: from first contact to onboarding, recruitment and hiring processes are undergoing a huge transformation in the context of Covid-19 restrictions.

In the current environment, it is vital for all businesses who are actively looking to attract talent to adapt their recruitment communication style, messaging and strategy quickly and effectively, in order to address the way in which they engage with prospective employees.

Making it personal:

Digital interviews have become the new normal, and businesses should embrace the benefits that come with it: a more personalised, more comfortable process for the prospective candidate, where the horizontality between recruiter and prospective employee is more visible.

These new formats allow job seekers to be more in control of the process, taking a lot of the uncertainty out of a typically nerve-racking situation, with candidates partaking in the interview process from the comfort of their own home. Recruiters and hiring managers should not only adapt their expectations based on the current environment, but also try to mirror this as much as possible. Overly formal and rigid formats won’t work well when translated to the virtual, work-from-home realm, but authentic, personable communications will. In the end, we are all people communicating with people, and brands that get this will go a lot further.

This shift in tone should be echoed across all employer brand and recruitment communication activities: from advertising to job descriptions and even email communications, informal, authentic and personal content will be key.

Putting the focus back on purpose:

Purpose is a determining factor when it comes to communicating with talent. Recent figures published by Glassdoor before the onset of the Coronavirus crisis reflected this strongly, with 79% percent of job seekers considering a company’s mission and purpose before applying for a job. We can imagine these trends will become even more evident in a post Covid-19 world, with the current crisis changing consumer expectations at all levels.

Every day, we are overwhelmed by inspiring stories coming from the sectors directly facing this crisis - doctors and nurses, gardai, couriers and supermarket workers, the word ‘heroic’ often falls short when describing their incredible efforts. In a context where we are all being inspired to help and work for the common good in any way we can, job seekers will look to identify with a brand’s mission, values and purpose more than ever before. A clear mission statement and a grounded, comprehensive strategy to achieve it will go a long way when it comes to inspiring talent looking to make a difference through their work.

Reputation as a key talent recruitment and retention driver:

No matter the sector or industry, the way brands respond to the current situation will become a cornerstone of their reputation going forward. Inspiring brand ambassadors, whether in the form of consumers, prospective or existing employees, has become increasingly important in the current context.

Organisations that support their employees throughout this crisis and put in place a strong set of measures and initiatives to future-proof employee wellness and organisational culture will see the benefits from both a recruitment and retention perspective. Businesses going above and beyond to react in a responsible, socially-conscious, sustainable and people-first way, will be remembered by audiences and job seekers from all demographics and backgrounds once Covid19 has passed.


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