Recruiting During Times of High Unemployment

As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly eases and businesses look to hire again, many of the millions of unemployed Americans will be knocking on employer’s doors 

This is creating a situation in which employers who are in a position to recruit—either now or when we fully emerge on the other side of this crisis—will do so in an environment of much higher unemployment than has historically been the case. 

Recruiting in a time of high unemployment can have unique challenges, especially compared with our more recent problem: recruiting in a low unemployment environment. Due to the unprecedented effects of the pandemic on the workforce – and the changes that have occurred – how companies recruit, and onboard talent must reflect this new world.   

Here are 4 areas that hiring managers and HR professionals should be aware of as they ratchet up their recruiting efforts:  

1. Be Careful What You Ask Candidates 

While it’s important to find out as much as possible about the person during an interview, don’t ask if the candidate has had COVID-19 unless you’ve made an offer. In fact an employer may not ask a prospective employee about symptoms or take their temperature until a conditional offer of employment is offered.  

2. …ButDoAsk the Right Questions 

Be sure to ask interview questions that are specific, pertinent, and revealingMany managers aren’t prepared and ask the same standard questions that candidates have probably memorized. Remember, you and your co-workers will be working with the chosen candidate – hopefully for a long time – so ask questions that will show if they’re going to be productive and compatible with the team.  

Open-ended questions that call for creativity and quick thinking work well. Competition for openings will be fierce, so challenge candidates who have been laid off due to the pandemic to describe what they’ve done in recent months. Consider if they’ve used their time productively or enhanced their job skills in some way.  

3. Be a Good Listener 

An obvious statement, right? But some hiring managers may be so anxious to land a candidate — or eliminate them from the running — that they don’t pay attention to what a job seeker is saying – or not. Sometimes what a person elects to omit from a question such as, “Tell me about your responsibilities at your last job,” or “How have you used your time during the quarantine” can reveal a lot about them. Pay attention. And don’t feel you have to speak if you want the candidate to reveal more. Theyll probably start talking again to break the uncomfortable silence. You’ll learn more about them and how they handle stress. 

4. Gaps in Employment? Trust but Verify 

Many applicants may have extended periods of unemployment – and this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not great candidates for the job. But if an applicant sounds like they may be exaggerating the work they produced or claiming credit for someone else’s work, request proof. Simply ask them to follow up by sending you samples of their work in the original format. And to make sure it’s really theirs – you can find the originator of most documents by opening the “Info” tab in a Word document.  

Lanmark Staffing provides over 40 years of combined human resources, recruiting, temporary placement, remote hiring, sales and management, and temp-to-hire services. Visit our website and learn how our team of local, experienced professionals can help you find the right employee for the job. 



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