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July 15, 2021

Hiring During the Pandemic: How to Attract Top Talent

Samantha Hubay

Written by:

Samantha Hubay

Hiring During the Pandemic: How to Attract Top Talent

If you’re reading this post, chances are yours is one of the thousands of businesses hoping to hire more team members right now. Businesses of all types across the country have found themselves suddenly in need of more staff, as their customers begin to return from the pandemic hiatus.

Key Takeaways You Will Get From This Article

1. The businesses that have found success despite a challenging labor market are the ones who have evolved their hiring practices.

2. To ensure qualified candidates don't pass your business by, advertise a compensation range on your job postings. 

3. If it's feasable and within your budget, consider offering a sign on bonuse to new employees. 

4. Use your website and social media pages to market your company culture, and try to make a lasting impression during the interview process. 

Even though you may need more staff, fast, you shouldn’t resign to just hire the first person to walk in the door. Hiring the wrong person out of necessity will only end up costing you time and money that you can’t afford to lose. Therefore, it’s important to still do your due diligence and conduct thoughtful interviews.

In this post, we’ll share some insight on why it’s difficult to attract job seekers right now, tips on how to reach job candidates, and example questions to help you conduct interviews that get results. Let’s get started!


Table of Contents

  1. Why is it Difficult to Find Top Talent Right Now?
  2. How to Reach Job Candidates
  3. Interview Question Samples



Why is it Difficult to Find Top Talent Right Now?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings in the United States soared to 9.3 million in April of 2021, a record for most openings added in a month since December of 2000. Businesses are bracing for a busy summer as vaccination availability grows and many pandemic restrictions have been lifted. Combine that with the staff cuts most businesses had to make last year, and you get incredibly high demand for workers.

However, despite this demand, many people aren’t ready to come back to work. According to the same study, “American employers hired just 6.1 million people in April, a slight uptick from March, leaving millions of jobs unfilled.”

So, why aren’t people coming back to work? Forbes cites many reasons, including:

  • Parents are still juggling childcare and home responsibilities.
  • Many people remain concerned about the risk of contracting COVID-19 or related illnesses.
  • Workers are concerned about compensation levels and job security.
  • People want greater flexibility, including the option to work remotely when needed.
  • Workers want better working conditions and improved work/life balance.

According to Forbes, “Until the coronavirus pandemic completely upended the economy, few workers were in a position where they could demand the benefits they wanted or choose to leave a job that was treating them so badly. Now, there are more people with not only the bargaining power to get what they want, but also the motivation to ask for it.”

If your business is going to stand out to these candidates, you’ll need to offer some of the workplace benefits they seek.



How to Reach Job Candidates

The businesses that have found success despite a challenging labor market are the ones who have evolved their hiring practices.

For example, the popular burrito chain restaurant Chipotle recently became early adopters of TikTok Resumes, a pilot program that allows candidates to create short videos to apply for jobs. This change comes on the heels of Chipotle increasing hourly wages to an average of $15 per hour. Since January 2021, this popular restaurant has hired more than 82,000 crew members.

Amazon has also announced that they will pay an average of $17 per hour for 75,000 new workers, which is $2 more than their usual starting wage.

Offering incentives like these might be out of reach for your small business. We certainly understand that and the challenges you must continue to navigate as job market expectations shift. Our advice to you is to focus on what you can offer and what you can control.

Here are some tips to help you get started:


1. Advertise a compensation range on job postings.

A 2020 CareerPlug study found that job seekers would prefer to learn about compensation sooner rather than later. They want to know about pay up front, so they don’t waste time following a job that in the end won’t pay what they need. Therefore, we recommend including the starting salary or compensation range on all your job postings. This will help ensure a qualified candidate doesn’t pass your business by just because they don’t know how much you’ll pay.


2. Consider offering a signing bonus.

If it’s feasible within your budget, consider offering a signing bonus. This is another benefit we recommend including on your job postings to incentivize more people to apply. If you get a bit creative, you may be able to justify moving the money you would spend on recruitment marketing and advertisements to these funds. (Try marketing on free platforms, like LinkedIn!) Plus, a signing bonus is a great way to show people outside your business that you value talent and are willing to reward hard work.


3. Prove that your business is a fantastic place to work.

Now more than ever, job seekers are looking for workplaces that are enjoyable, clean, and safe. Before committing to a job, they may want proof that your business treats employees well and protects them from toxic work environments. Use the storytelling tools you have (i.e., your website and social media) to market your company culture. Consider asking current employees to write or record testimonials as social proof of your story.


4. Make sure your company culture shines through in interviews.

Interviews with potential new hires are all about first impressions. And yes, those first impressions go both ways. It is just as important for you to impress the applicant as it is for them to impress you. One of the ways you can do this is by asking thoughtful, creative questions that spark engaging conversation.


Keep reading for ten example questions to inspire you!



10 Thoughtful, Creative Interview Question Examples

Interviews, whether virtual or face-to-face, are all about impacting the person at the other end of the table, phone, or camera. Job seekers know the first impression they make on their interviewer can make or break their chance for the position. Especially in these times, the impression you make on your interviewee is just as important.

Do your best to develop thoughtful, creative questions that start a conversation with the candidate you are interviewing. This can help put both of you at ease and make the process a little less robotic.

Here are ten example questions that may spark inspiration:

  1. Can you tell me something about yourself that isn’t on your resume?

  2. Describe a time when you had to work with someone whose personality or work style was very different from yours. How did you work together to get the job done?

  3. How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?

  4. Tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it.

  5. What challenges do you see impacting the industry? 

  6. Tell me about a time you had to manage a particularly heavy workload. How did you handle it?

  7. What interests you most about this position/company? 

  8. Tell me something about yourself that others may be surprised to know about you. 

  9. Why do you want to work here?

  10. How many jellybeans can fit in a suitcase? (This is a guesstimate question that can give you an idea of the candidate’s problem-solving skills.)

To read more questions like these, view the full lists on Indeed and Glassdoor.


Growing your team is tough in any season but may be especially challenging right now. We hope the information shared in this post will encourage and inspire you as you move forward with the hiring process. For more small business tips and resources, check out these posts:

Why a Strong Communication Strategy is Essential for Your Business

5 Ways to Prepare Your Business for New COVID Guidelines

How to Promote Customer Loyalty & Grow Your Retail Store

Sources: CareerPlug, Indeed, Glassdoor, CNN, Forbes

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