Excerpted from an SHRM Blog by Roxi Bahar Hewertson

Your budget may have taken a hit, you may have had to change course, but you can—and should—still hire top talent. The business world is still finding its footing as the pandemic continues to impact everyone’s lives. If you’re a leader who has had to cut budgets, scale back, and shift course you know, first-hand, how fast everything keeps changing.

How can you recruit the best when you’re not operating with optimal resources? You still have to compete in the marketplace and talented employees are a must for that. Less is more when we’re talking about top talent. You are looking for talent to come, engage, contribute, and stay—long after we emerge from the pandemic. It’s essential to look long-term as you determine the most important jobs to fill and the talent you need to fill them.

Here are five tips for attracting and retaining talent amid the challenges of the pandemic:

1. Know your ‘Avatar’ candidate. Get VERY clear on exactly who and what you want and need using ALL the A-H Factors as a guide and included below, (Attitude, Brains, Character, Drive, Emotional Intelligence, Fit, Gut, and Heart). Decide how to best describe your position to the candidates you want to attract.

2. Maximize your reputation as an employer. Top talent will look for top employers even during, and certainly after, the pandemic. Evaluate what your brand says about you. If prospective hires were to look at your mission statement, statements of vision and values, what impressions might they have? Ask yourself: why should top talent want to work for you?

3. Be upfront about how you are handling the pandemic. Top talent wants safety, flexibility, growth, and opportunity for themselves and their families. Be straight with your candidates about how the pandemic has impacted your business, what assurances you can offer (e.g., sick leave virtual work space, health benefits, flexible hours, etc.) and what future opportunities may be on the table.

4. It’s about relationships—not transactions. Particularly as we find ourselves in using virtual platforms for searches, the human connection has never been more critical in attracting the best people. Building positive impressions and relationships begins at the job posting and continues through to the job offer and onboarding. You are trying to cultivate a long-term productive relationship with someone who is invested in your organization. Get creative about your virtual searches and create a welcoming atmosphere, demonstrating how much you value the people you are interviewing.

5. Use all channels and “sell” your company to top talent. Utilize online job fairs, leverage digital and social media, tap into personal and professional relationships, and network on the local, regional, and national level. Think about your recruitment efforts, and then be sure to maximize all of your channels to get it in front of the most talented potential employees.

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