3 Big Tips for Recruiting Top Talent in the Pandemic

Employee Experience 4 min read

Welcome to How We Do at Kazoo, our series where we share actionable insider tips to make the workplace awesome. Today, we’re talking with Kazoo Senior Talent Coordinator Robyn Trinkleback about how her recruiting strategy changed in response to the pandemic — and her recruiting tips to make remote recruiting a success.

As a recruiter, Robyn’s role is sourcing the best talent out there. So her job took a turn when Kazoo underwent a hiring freeze at the onset of the coronavirus crisis. Here’s what she learned about bringing value to her company as a recruiter during an uncertain job market:

Recruiting in the pandemic: Tips and takeaways

  1. Hiring may be frozen, but your career isn’t. Find new ways to add value (see below).
  2. Don’t dismiss remote recruiting — video calls are a huge silver lining.
  3. Communicating company culture starts when a candidate first encounters your brand — so think about your language.

Kazoo: So Robyn, what’s your high-level approach to recruiting?

Robyn: My drive is to make the hiring process as painless as possible for both hiring managers and future employees. I think of myself as a liaison between the hiring managers and the candidates. I want to create a great experience on the internal side, while also advocating for the candidate so that they always feel seen and heard.

My goal in recruiting is to have everyone walk away feeling like it was a great experience, even if it wasn’t the right one at the right time.

When I’m interacting with candidates, it feels like a conversation more so than an interview. That’s because one of my top priorities is giving the candidate a glimpse of Kazoo’s company culture. There’s an element of sales in recruiting: I want the candidate to know just how great it is to work here! It really helps both me and the candidate gauge what they’re looking for. And whether or not adding them to our team will be mutually beneficial.

Kazoo: How did the pandemic affect your role as a recruiter? 

Robyn: When the pandemic hit, Kazoo instituted a hiring freeze. I was used to having back-to-back calls with job candidates and hiring managers all day, every day. So I had to figure out how to make myself useful!

Kazoo: What can a recruiter do during a hiring freeze to keep adding value to their company?

Robyn: I started by sending out surveys to my colleagues to collect feedback on how I was doing as a recruiter. I also took advantage of many, many opportunities to learn from recruiters in other companies and industries by attending webinars and keeping up with industry trends.

Basically, I used the opportunity to learn as much as I could to perfect our whole recruiting process. We’d been so busy before COVID-19 that I didn’t have the bandwidth to streamline what I was doing and improve it. Even though the early days of the pandemic were, of course, incredibly challenging, the extra time gave me the opportunity to figure out what was working and what wasn’t. What did I want to change?

Make their first day great.
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Kazoo: How did you improve recruiting for the company during the pandemic?

Robyn: We implemented a number of simple changes that had a powerful impact. For example, our outbound communication to candidates sounded a little out of date with our current brand. So we took the time to update the language to reflect who we are now. The new language better represents our commitment to diversity, as well as the fun culture we’ve worked so hard to build.

For example, to encourage applicants who are culture adds, we added a small box at the top of our employment application with a paragraph explicitly explaining that we hire for culture first, and skills and experience next. If someone can do the job with passion, we can teach the skills they need to get the work done. We know there’s no perfect applicant and they may not meet 100% of the requirements, but we always want to encourage them to apply!

We’ve also done a lot of work to make sure we’re being as inclusive as possible in our hiring process and avoiding bias. We added more gender options on our application, and a space for preferred pronouns, to better reflect the diversity of the talented people who might apply.

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Kazoo: What does hiring look like now from a day-to-day perspective, 6 months into the pandemic?

Robyn: We’re not quite hiring at the speed we were before yet. But we are starting to get our momentum up and are sourcing for newly open roles.

Before COVID-19, I would start with a phone screen, then move to a phone call with both the hiring manager and the job candidate, then coordinate a final, in-person interview. That process hasn’t changed much, except now each of the three stages takes place via video call. That’s actually been a positive change. Because usually you can get to know someone so much better using video, rather than phone.

Kazoo: Any final thoughts on the war for talent and hiring in a pandemic?

Robyn: The last thing I’ll talk about is the importance of advocating for internal candidates. Providing growth opportunities is incredibly important to employee morale, culture, retention — everything! We guarantee that if a current employee wants to apply for a different position within the company — not necessarily a promotion, just a different position —  they will get an interview. 

I personally experienced the benefits of a lateral move when I transitioned from our Customer Success team to HR. And I gained an entirely new array of skills and experiences in the process. I like to make sure every open position sees a mix of applications from both internal and external candidates.

Keep reading the How We Do at Kazoo series:

Take culture to the next level

We hope these recruiting tips will help you build the best workforce possible.

Because at Kazoo, we’re passionate about bringing together all the tools you need to make work work better for everyone. That’s why the Kazoo Employee Experience Platform brings performance management and recognition and rewards — including Goals, Feedback, Conversations, Recognition, Incentives, and more — into one simple, easy-to-use platform.

If you’re ready to align, connect, and engage your workplace, check out our Kazoo overview. Or, schedule a personalized demo today.

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