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How to Quickly Ramp up Your Team After a Crisis

talent war competition

With businesses in Hawaii resuming operations, employers are faced with the decision of what their future staff will look like.

Just months ago, Hawaii saw record-low unemployment levels, with employers competing for applicants. Now, practically overnight, recruiters are seeing many times the normal interest per job opening.

The good news is, many highly qualified workers that weren’t available a few months ago, are now looking for new opportunities. This is a “once-in-a-century hiring opportunity,” according to Harvard Business Review (HBR) in a recent article that identifies new talent as crucial for “post-crisis recovery and growth.”

The not-so-good news is, you might have to ramp up your hiring process in order to snatch up qualified candidates before your competition does. Efficiently hiring and processing candidates is key, now more than ever.

Below are some tips on how to quickly add new talent to your team to get your business back up to speed.

Define essential tasks and skills

Analyze your company’s staffing needs as you assess business operations and outlook. Some businesses will be able to quickly go back to normal, others may be severely affected by the economic fallout, and still others will have to shift their operations to new services and products. Whatever your situation, the skills needed to support your business going forward might have changed.

Really take the time to understand what tasks need to be completed and what skills your team should possess in order to be successful. After deciding which employees to bring back, what positions are left to be filled with new talent?

Although figuring out what your future staff will look like can be a big task, it’s also a great reset opportunity to create the winning team you’ve always wanted.

When deciding who to bring back to work, be sure to avoid potential discrimination pitfalls such as hiring only young employees who are healthy.

Reach out to qualified candidates

Looking for candidates online via job boards (like HireNet Hawaii which aids UI Claimants search for work), virtual hiring fairs, or social media recruiting, is one of the quickest and most effective ways to find new talent in a competitive market.

“While most of us become short-sighted and irrational during crises, the best leaders and organizations stay calm and use them to their advantage, sprinting away from their competitors,” states HBR, reiterating the importance of being proactive and quick. “They bring in architects to plan the new building even as the firefighters work to save the old one.”

When advertising your open positions, be sure to write a compelling job ad that briefly summarizes the duties and requirements. Since this is a two-way street, don’t just focus on what you want from the candidate but also entice them with what’s in it for them—think job highlights, company culture, and benefits.

Assess qualifications and cultural fit

There are a few ways you can quickly screen candidates to assess their qualifications and cultural fit. Some online job boards, will let you select from multiple assessments (such as Microsoft Office, problem-solving, accounting, etc.) for candidates to complete as part of the application process. Such skill testing will allow you to narrow down candidates by qualifications.

Next, phone interviews are a great way to get to know your candidates better and evaluate who meets the requirements and fits into your team. Common phone screen questions include “Describe your work history”, “Why are you interested in this job?”, “What is your availability?” and “What are your salary expectations?”

The services of a staffing company can be a great help when having to process a high volume of applications. Trained recruiters have the software and skills to quickly evaluate and assess candidates and will send only the best for your hiring team’s consideration.

Narrow down your top candidates

Once you have pre-screened and narrowed down applicants, meeting face-to-face (even if done virtually) can help you decide between qualified candidates.

Interviews are essential to get a feel for how applicants present themselves versus just hearing them over the phone.

“While some on our team were a little apprehensive about video interviewing at first, it turned out to be a big success,” says Lisa Kodama, Corporate Recruiter at ALTRES.

“What sometimes used to take days can now be done within less than an hour—review a resume, phone screen, and set up a video interview on the spot. Usual hold-ups related to candidate availability, such as having to wait for the ideal commute time or childcare arrangements, are minimized.”

For successful video interviews, set a time, chose an online meeting platform (e.g. Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Facetime), and come prepared with the applicants’ resume and questions. And don’t forget to check your equipment before the interview and have a backup plan for when things don’t go as expected.

Get new team members on board

Successful onboarding is critical in retaining and engaging new employees, whether done in-person or virtually. While the idea of onboarding someone virtually—without having them come into the office first—might seem risky to some, it’s a great way to set people up to work quickly, from a safe social distance.

To make onboarding a success:

  • Prepare a detailed welcome email.
  • Provide new employees with all necessary info from HR.
  • Lay out a solid schedule for their first days or weeks.
  • Plan some time to introduce them to the team and assign a contact.

Another idea might be to compile some of that information in a short onboarding video or PowerPoint presentation that can be sent electronically to new team members.

Clients of simplicityHR by ALTRES may benefit from the HR Symphony QuickHire® module to conveniently and effectively get people to work. To learn more on how we can help your business, contact simplicityHR today!


This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should first consult their attorney, accountant or adviser before acting upon any information in this article.

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