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How to Recruit Quickly During Business Crisis


In the face of a business crisis, the pressure mounts for UK businesses to swiftly recruit talent to keep operations afloat or pivot to new opportunities. The crises come in many different forms and often unexpectedly, perhaps when a key person leaves or the business wins a new contract and needs additional staff to support.

These periods of urgency often bring a unique set of challenges, from finding the right candidate under tight time constraints to competing in a possibly saturated or disrupted market. This can tempt organisations to expedite processes, risking oversight of crucial steps or compliance measures.

However, the urgency to recruit does not exempt businesses from adhering to employment laws and regulations. It’s imperative for businesses to maintain a balance between the swift acquisition of talent and the legal mandates governing fair hiring practices, right to work checks, and contract provisions. This dual focus ensures not only the immediate bolstering of workforce needs but also the long-term viability and integrity of the organisation. A strategic approach to recruitment that prioritises speed without compromising on legal compliance or the quality of hires sets the stage for resilience and recovery in the wake of a business crisis.

Alongside this, businesses need to remember the importance of finding the right person to fit the business. It can be tempting to succumb to the time pressure of recruiting but the long-term implications of a bad hire greatly outweigh the need for speed.

Streamlining the Recruitment Process

Streamlining the recruitment process is crucial for businesses needing to hire quickly during a crisis. Embracing technology and simplifying application procedures can significantly reduce the time to hire without sacrificing the quality of candidates. Here’s a good example of how to approach recruitment when there are significant time pressures:

  1. Can staff roles be adjusted internally to fill the gap and/or allow a less critical/urgent role to be recruited for instead?
  2. Can temporary contract workers help to buy the business time? Even if your recruitment process is efficient, notice periods may still apply to the new hire.
  3. Are the people within the business’s existing network who could fill the position?

If it’s determined that an external recruit is the way forward, then the following tips can help to improve the efficiency of a recruitment process and should be used as best practice regardless of the urgency of a position. A recruitment process should be constantly monitored to streamline the steps taken.

Utilise Online Job Boards

We now have an array of tools and platforms to accelerate the recruitment process. Online job boards have the virtue of a significantly wide reach and a large number of candidates in the talent pool. Posting job vacancies on these platforms can attract candidates from various sectors and locations, providing a broader pool of talent.

Being able to post to a number of these platforms in one go makes things even quicker; look for technology that makes it easy to do so. The candidates actively searching online platforms such as job boards and LinkedIn are those that are directly looking for a new role and so will be ideal recruits when you’re under time constraints.

Many online job boards offer premium features that can help expedite the hiring process. Premium listings or sponsored job adverts will benefit from appearing at the top of search results. Sometimes the adverts are pushed to an increased number of candidates compared to a free listing. It also sounds like common sense if you’re looking for a quick hire but be sure to put a short closing date on the advert and set out your intended interview date. It can help to influence candidates to apply ASAP and understand that you want to move quickly. 

Additionally, utilising social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook for recruitment allows businesses to reach passive candidates who might not be actively searching for a job but are open to new opportunities. It’s important not to rely on your social media channels in a recruitment crisis situation though, but it can be powerful for a vacant role when you have the luxury of time on your side.

Simplifying Application and Screening Processes

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A streamlined application process is key to encouraging potential candidates to apply, especially when time is of the essence. Reducing the number of steps to apply, such as simplifying form fields or allowing applications through LinkedIn profiles, can increase the number of applications. We are seeing a trend in many employers removing initial application forms from their recruitment process entirely, especially in circumstances when time is of the essence.

Many job boards also have the option to allow candidates to “quick apply”, make sure this option is turned on when you’re posting the job that you need to fill quickly. Utilising Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) or other recruitment software helps in efficiently managing these applications, automating the screening process to filter candidates based on specific criteria. This can quickly identify the most promising candidates for further evaluation, significantly cutting down the time spent on manual screening.

Effective Communication and Decision Making

Effective communication and decision-making are critical components of the rapid recruitment process, ensuring that both candidates are well-informed and that hiring decisions are made swiftly yet judiciously.

Clear communication with candidates about the expedited nature of the process is essential from the outset to help manage expectations and underscore urgency without compromising the candidate’s experience. Ensure you articulate the timeline, including when they can expect a response and any potential for accelerated interviews or assessments. Harness efficient communication by responding to applicants as soon as you can, it isn’t necessary to wait until the job advert has closed. It might take up more of your time initially but it will help to speed up the process further down the line.

When it comes to decision-making, strategies for maintaining speed without sacrificing thoroughness are key; ensure your hiring team are empowered to make decisions quickly. The team should have a clear understanding of the role’s requirements and the attributes of an ideal candidate, so they can assess applicants efficiently.

Utilising structured interviews and standardised evaluation criteria can also streamline decision-making since they allow you to quickly identify candidates who meet the critical requirements. A standardised approach means that you can be flexible in who undertakes the interviews and then compare candidates at the end of the process on a level playing field, regardless of who interviewed them.

This can help when key internal personnel are unavailable for interview dates. Incorporating technology, such as video interviews and online assessments, can further accelerate the process, particularly for evaluating candidates’ capabilities and fit. Using tools such as Calendly or similar to book an online interview can vastly improve efficiencies in the interview process by enabling candidates to choose a time that suits them, saving email chains going back on forth on suitable dates and times.

Onboarding and Integration Strategies

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Fast-tracking the onboarding process, while ensuring new hires feel welcomed and valued, is essential for retaining talent recruited during a business crisis. Streamlining onboarding without sacrificing the quality of the integration experience can be achieved through strategic planning and the use of technology.

Prepare a structured onboarding plan that outlines key milestones and training sessions for the new hire’s first few weeks. This plan should be communicated clearly to the new employee before their start date, setting clear expectations and demonstrating organisational support from day one.

Utilising remote onboarding tools and techniques is particularly effective, especially where in-person interaction is limited. Digital platforms can facilitate virtual introductions, provide access to essential documents and training materials, and enable the completion of administrative tasks. Video conferencing tools can replicate face-to-face interactions, to quickly build a sense of connection and belonging.

Legal Considerations in Rapid Recruitment

During rapid recruitment, it’s crucial to remain vigilant about legal compliance, despite the urgency for your business. This includes adhering to the Equality Act 2010 to prevent discrimination and ensuring all candidates undergo Right to Work checks, as mandated by UK immigration laws, to verify their eligibility for employment. Additionally, providing new hires with a written statement of employment or contract within two months of starting, detailing the job description, salary, working hours, and other terms, is a legal requirement.

These steps ensure that the recruitment process is both swift and legally compliant, safeguarding against potential legal challenges. Templates can be very useful when dealing with the complex documents that are required for your new hire. Contracts, job descriptions, employee handbooks and more can all be pre-templated and then it’s simply a case of amending the relevant information for each employee.

Our Final Thoughts

Rapid recruitment during a business crisis is not just about filling vacancies quickly; it can significantly impact an organisation’s resilience and recovery. By adopting streamlined processes, leveraging technology, and maintaining clear communication, businesses can ensure they attract and onboard the right staff swiftly, without compromising on quality or compliance. However, ensure that this urgency does not overshadow adhering to employment laws, and keep the process fair, legal, and effective.

It’s also important to strive towards a streamlined recruitment process generally, regardless of urgency, to ensure your prospective candidates have a positive experience across all interactions with your business during a job application and beyond.

Get Staffed is committed to supporting UK businesses through these recruitment challenges, offering the tools to make hiring in a crisis faster and more efficient. By working with our platform, businesses can confidently tackle rapid recruitment, ensuring they are well-equipped to thrive, with a strong, compliant, and engaged workforce.