Hiring the right person has never been an easy task. In 2021, technology changes and pandemic conditions have created a new hiring environment that employers may find especially challenging to navigate. There are new health and safety guidelines to follow, a game-changing online landscape, and extreme economic conditions that seem to shift on a daily basis.

To help you find the talent you’re looking for this season, we’ve put together a guide of hiring tips with everything you need to know about hiring in 2021. Below, you’ll find in-depth information organized into four sections: 

  1. How to attract workers in 2021,
  2. Health and wellness practices during COVID-19,
  3. An updated interviewing practice, and
  4. Hiring tips and tricks.

We hope you find this guide helpful during your talent search.

I. How to Attract Workers in 2021

We’re in a new age, and the same old methods companies previously used to attract employees don’t always work. Today’s workers have new concerns and sources of information about companies. 

Companies that want to attract the best talent need to be aware of what is most important to job seekers and where they form impressions about potential employers. Here’s what we recommend employers do in 2021 and beyond:

Build Your Brand

Did you know that candidates are twice as likely to accept cold recruiting emails if they have interacted with your brand before?

Building your brand may seem abstract and fluffy, but it has tangible benefits for companies of all sizes. On top of boosting sales, reducing turnover, and improving engagement, a well-built brand allows you to attract new workers with less effort.

The benefit extends beyond unemployed or soon-to-be-unemployed candidates. Many amazing candidates are fully employed elsewhere but open to a new opportunity with the right brand. 

As you build your company image, you will find that you can attract more of the best candidates while spending less time on active recruiting. You might even find yourself flooded with applicants.

Offer Generous Health Benefits

Good health benefits are more important to workers than ever, especially now that we are in the middle of a pandemic. Even before 2021, job seekers valued health, dental, and vision insurance above any other benefit, according to a Harvard Business Review survey.

It’s clear that candidates put a premium on strong health coverage for themselves and their families — no pun intended.

Focus on Your Online Presence

In 2021, job seekers can find just about everything they need on the internet. That includes insider information about your company. 

Many job seekers look to reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to get employee perspectives about the companies they are interested in. These sites often include information about salaries and interview questions, especially for large employers where there are many employees who have similar roles. Users can also find in-depth reviews from current and former employees. 

If your company has a problematic work culture or your benefits are not as good as your competitor’s, job seekers will know with just a few clicks. And don’t think your reputation won’t affect your candidate pool: A Glassdoor survey found that 69% of job seekers would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed.

Make sure someone is checking your company’s online reviews regularly, and be sure to fix any issues that keep coming up in employee complaints.

Revamp Your Job Descriptions

You may be wondering why we’re bothering to mention job descriptions. Don’t employers just make a list of the job duties and qualifications they are looking for, then post it on a job board?

Sure, you can do that… but in 2021, there’s a much better approach.

A study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology found that job ads emphasizing how a company benefits employees receive 3 times as many applications as those emphasizing the company’s needs. What’s more, employee-centered ads attract a higher-quality candidate pool.

This job description style is known as the Demands-Abilities approach. Rather than providing a long list of requirements and job responsibilities, Demands-Abilities job descriptions highlight the mission the employee will be a part of, opportunities for career growth, and the benefits the organization can provide for the candidate.

Focus on what you can do for your new employee, and you’ll attract candidates who can do better for you.

II. Health and Wellness Practices During COVID-19

State and local restrictions related to the virus are changing every week, so it’s important for employers to stay on top of the news. In addition to any changes you have made in your workplace, you may need to implement new procedures during the hiring process to protect everyone’s health.

Remote vs. In-Person Hiring During a Pandemic

If possible, we recommend conducting the hiring process remotely for the duration of the pandemic. Interviews and some aspects of new-hire training can likely be done through platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams

However, we realize there are situations when it is simply not feasible to do everything online. 

For in-person aspects of the hiring process, you will need to set aside a location that allows for adequate physical distancing between everyone present. It is equally important to avoid unnecessary interview rounds and make sure that only the people who absolutely need to be there are present at the interview.

Alternatively, many companies are choosing to work with employment agencies to avoid unnecessary exposure from interviews.  

Best Practices for Remote Onboarding

Remote onboarding usually requires a combination of virtual training and having new employees read a digital copy of the company handbook. However, there’s a bit more to the process if you want a truly successful onboarding session.

Think about how you would handle an in-person onboarding process. In most cases, you would spread out training exercises to give the new employees time to ask questions and absorb the information. Remote onboarding is no different: you need to pace the process out so that new workers are not overwhelmed.

Getting to Know the Team in a Physically Distant Workplace

With employees more spread out than usual, it’s important to create opportunities for interaction. You probably can’t do your traditional team-building exercises, so you’ll have to think a bit outside the box.

To get your creative juices flowing, here are a few ideas to share your company culture during a pandemic:

  • Connect through a daily or weekly standup.
  • Set a time for a virtual happy hour.
  • Sponsor professional development sessions.
  • Create a company book or movie club.
  • Set up a company Slack channel or Facebook page where employees can engage in water cooler banter.
  • Have your company host online events such as fitness classes.

You can use any of these ideas or come up with your own unique plan to boost company morale during the pandemic.

III. An Updated Interviewing Process

Hiring isn’t always about finding the most technically qualified worker. For many jobs, there are plenty of candidates who already have all the skills you need upfront. 

What you really need is a candidate who fits your company’s needs on all levels: someone who is easy to train, works well with your company culture, and has a great attitude.

Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about the interviewing process and common mistakes interviewers make. Below, we’ve summarized some of the most important takeaways for any employer looking to improve their hiring practices.

Think Beyond Technical Skills

Your interviewing process — and resume reviews — should focus on more than just technical skills. Coachability, emotional intelligence, and motivation are equally important for job success.

One of the best ways to learn about candidates’ soft skills is to ask them questions about their experience with situations that require those skills. Many of these types of questions start with phrases like “Tell us about a time when you…” or “How would you handle….” 

For example, if you are looking for someone who has great people skills and can think on their feet, you might ask questions like:

  • “Tell us about a time you were asked to do something you had never done before.”
  • “Have you ever worked with someone who was difficult to get along with? How did you interact with them?”
  • “How would you handle an angry customer? Let’s say they didn’t get exactly what they ordered…”
  • “When was the last time something significant didn’t go according to plan at work? What was your role, and what was the outcome?”

Due to current pandemic conditions, there may be new soft skills that are vital to your company’s success. For jobs that have transitioned to remote work, you will need to ensure candidates are self-motivated, have basic technology skills, and are able to work autonomously. People and communication skills remain important, although there may be a greater focus on written communication and proactive collaboration.

You should also ask the candidate about their career goals. In many jobs, there are opportunities to eventually grow into another role or take on new responsibilities. The best candidates will have goals that line up with these opportunities for growth.

Some workers may be looking to eventually move into a higher-level job position or laterally into another department that suits their interests. If the job allows them to grow in a direction they are interested in over the next few years, they’re more likely to stick around. Other workers may be more motivated by a steady paycheck for their family or work tasks they enjoy.

Match the Personality to the Job

Skills can be acquired, but personalities usually don’t change much. 

Before you hire someone, you should always make sure their personality is compatible with the tasks at hand. You probably don’t want to hire a clerical worker who rarely pays attention to details or a truck driver who thrives on constant social interaction. 

It’s also important to consider how the candidate’s personality will fit in with your company culture and team. If you haven’t already, you may want to ask yourself how you would define that culture:

  • Does your company tend to move at a fast and chaotic pace, or are things pretty steady and predictable?
  • Do team members share a certain brand of humor?
  • Do managers use a more frank or nurturing communication style?

Sometimes the best hire isn’t the rockstar candidate with unmatched skills and experience, but rather the moderately qualified candidate who is easy to train, very compatible with the rest of the team, and brings a positive attitude to the table.

IV. Hiring Tips and Tricks

Finally, we’d like to include a few quick tips to help you improve your hiring experience:

  • If you’re short on time, hire a staffing agency. Staffing agencies can help you save time and energy on hiring, especially if you need workers on short notice. They can provide a large network of talent, complete most of the hiring process for you, and even take care of the paperwork.
  • Communicate regularly with candidates about where you are in the hiring process. Poor or nonexistent communication can deter top candidates who may be considering positions with other companies. On the other hand, frequent communication creates a positive impression on both the candidates you hire now and those you may want to hire later on.
  • Trust your gut. If you think you see a potential problem during the hiring process but aren’t sure, don’t discount it. Interviewers sometimes dismiss red flags that later turn into raging fires because they lack confidence in their instincts.
  • Act quickly when you find top talent. The best candidates tend to be off the market in a matter of days, so you need to act fast if there is a specific applicant you are interested in. Even if you haven’t yet made a decision, you should follow up often to keep them updated and respond right away if they have any questions.
  • Let candidates interview you, too. Prospective employees’ questions can give you insight into what is most important to them. Allowing time for candidates’ questions lets you to see which aspects of the job they are most concerned with and how interested they are in your company.

We hope you found our 2021 hiring guide useful. If you need more information about hiring practices or would like to work with a staffing agency in Utah or Kansas City, reach out to our team at LG Resources today.