An employee reviews resumes while conducting a video interview.
The COVID-19 pandemic has added additional hurdles to the hiring process, but, with a bit of an update, some tried and true solutions can help. — Getty Images/martin-dm

Just because many offices are operating from home doesn’t mean there’s a hiring stoppage. However, traditional hiring practices are out the window in the COVID era, so companies need to get creative when they're looking for employees. Even though you can’t meet and network with people face-to-face, you can still find highly qualified candidates who will fit your business perfectly while working remotely.

These six innovative staffing solutions for small businesses can help you expand your company by filling any knowledge or skill gaps.

[Read: How to Recruit and Hire During the Coronavirus Outbreak]

Offer unique perks

A company that values a work-life balance is very appealing to candidates who want to know that their personal lives are as valued as their professional skills. In addition to health benefits, paid time off and retirement packages, your company should offer unique perks that encourage wellness. When a normal office routine returns, offer services such as laundry, free food, access to a fitness center and paid time off for voting and volunteering. It’s important that your employees feel fulfilled outside of the office so they can bring that positive energy back to work.

Even in the era of COVID-19, you can still offer unique perks for your stay-at-home workers. Offer to reimburse the cost of child care or a babysitter, give your employees a stipend for office supplies and furniture and offer them a meal allowance. Since your employees have to work from home, the least you can do is offer to make it more inviting.

Host open houses to provide an inside look at your company

While it might not be safe to host an in-person event, host a virtual open house where prospective candidates can meet your staff and learn about your company and the job opening. Schedule a Zoom call where prospects can ask questions and meet the people they could work with and for. This gives them a more casual look at your business in a setting that is less pressure than a job interview.

Set up employee referral programs

If you trust your employees, you’ll trust who they can bring to work for you. If your employees value their reputation, they won’t want to ruin it by recommending someone for a job they aren’t right for. Create an employee referral program, where employees can submit people they know to apply for internal jobs. Up to 48% of new hires come from referrals and they often work out better than hiring someone fresh, as the referrer will look out for them and their success. Show your employees that you’re listening to them and you value their opinion by giving them a say in the hiring process.

Watch our full CO— Blueprint discussion on how to hire and onboard employees in a remote work environment.

If you trust your employees, you’ll trust who they can bring to work for you.

Utilize social media

Social media is often overlooked as a recruitment tool, but it is one of the most valuable places to find both active and passive job seekers. Most businesses use social media as a branding and marketing tool, but maintaining an active, engaging presence on social channels can result in recruiting highly skilled professionals.

LinkedIn is the most widely used recruiting tool in the social media sphere,but it’s not the only worthwhile place to find potential candidates. To effectively staff your business from social networks, make sure you and your social team engage with users who comment on, like or share your content. If your business is looking to fill a specific role, create organic or paid social posts to attract applicants. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest are all excellent resources and platforms to find the next right hire for your business.

[Read: 5 Tips for Using Social Media to Recruit Employees]

Write your posting towards your culture

If you log on to Indeed or Monster right now and read all the descriptions for the job you’re hiring for, they all read the same. If you want to stand out from the cookie-cutter job listings, add some personality to yours. Share your mission and company culture with the reader, encouraging them to visit your website or watch a video to learn more. Write your job post not in a stuffy, formal voice but in a tone that reflects your company and its values.

Persuade fewer applicants

Create a smaller but better qualified pool of applicants by having a more robust online application. If you’re just asking for a resume, less-qualified people are going to apply for your job even though they may not be a good fit. Shifting through those applications wastes your time and money. Ask prospects to write a cover letter and respond to a series of short-answer questions to get a sense of their writing skills and personality. Alternatively, give them a sense of what it’s like to work at the job by having them take an aptitude or skills test.

Finding the right person for business in this climate can seem daunting. But instead of kicking the can down the road or hiring someone who is “good enough,” take your time to get it right and follow these solutions to find the perfect person for your small business.

[Read: Recruiting Tech Tools for Building More Diverse Teams]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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