hiring strategy during covid
  • Hiring Strategy for Startups in the Covid19 Crisis

  • Published By:
  • Category: Career Advice
  • Published Date: November 7, 2020
  • Modified Date: April 22, 2023
  • Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Featured Image Caption: Hiring Strategy During Covid

This global pandemic has taken the world by a storm. Companies are becoming more and more concerned about their workers’ health.

Working remotely to avoid human contact is becoming the new norm. The precautionary measures are taken, yet it has disrupted the entire hiring and recruitment process.

Even though corporates are shifting the entire recruitment strategy to virtual platforms, this might hit hard on startups as they are fairly new and have shoestring hiring budgets.

Startups generally don’t have much traction as compared to other established organizations.

This unforeseen disruption has forced startups to resort to intelligent automated systems that allow for virtual screening solutions, instead of having in-person meetings or interviews.

There are certain questions HR and hiring managers need to ask themselves. First, how companies can turn around their recruitment marketing strategies. And second, how to shift processes and use HR technology to stay ahead of the curve.

These will help HR understand what steps to take to avoid losing out on top talents. They will also need to find ways to bolster their employer brands to attract high-quality leads during this crisis.

This is important because it will decide the future of most startups post the COVID 19 outbreak. Let’s discuss some of the hiring strategies for startups that they can use.

Hire for Critical Business Functions

Since the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, more and more companies are either canceling or postponing their interviews to mid-June or later.

However, this might also disrupt the business operations if the opening entails a crucial role in the company. During such a crisis, startups don’t have to bring their entire function to a standstill. Instead, they can focus on onboarding candidates virtually and leverage digital solutions to initiate engagement.

Once hired, work management can be easily optimized through virtual meeting platforms and other feasible working practices.

Calculate the Cost/Benefit Per Hire Before you Recruit

Hiring takes time. Before you hire, calculating the cost and benefit per hire is considered one of the best practices for recruiting employees.

One of the rookie mistakes most startups make is that they don’t consider the potential costs and benefits of hiring a new employee. They need to understand how a person will increase their earnings so that their salaries and benefits are covered.

Of course, employees need to be trained first. But if they don’t start contributing to the ROI, then they shouldn’t be there. Hiring on anticipated growth is a big mistake.

Startups just hire a resource without much thought into the type of role they need for their business. When you hire a person, they should be able to justify the cost of hiring them and start contributing value in a specified period of time.

Hire Freelancers Where You Don’t Need Full-Time Employees

More often, startups hire a full-time employee when they have a function that needs to be filled.

But before jumping to hire full-time employees, there are various factors that need to be considered. The hiring manager needs to know –

  • Can a company afford to pay another hire?
  • Can the job be fulfilled by hiring a freelancer or independent contractor instead?

Knowing these things is important for formulating a hiring strategy for startups.

There are times even if you can afford a regular employee, you can work with a freelancer. Startups need to have clarity (which most of them lack) around what kind of role and work they are looking for.

Besides, even if you can afford a regular employee, you might want to consider freelancers. You will see how many freelancers are ready to join a fast-growing startup in their early stages.

Conduct Online Assessment to Test Their Skills

Even before the COVID-19 situation, the usage of online assessment was there. However, it has now increased as part of the hiring process, especially for roles involved in IT and app development.

These online assessment rounds can help figure out the entire interview process that follows. It can help filter candidates that are not suited for the role, which will help speed up the recruitment process.

Resort to Virtual Platforms

It is the need of the hours to avoid contact with any person and maintain social distancing. The same idea can be implemented in the hiring strategy as well – by moving to telephonic or video calls instead of face-to-face meetings.

Having a video interviewing software has become a must for every organization. Tools like Zoom or GoToMeeting are convenient for conducting video conferences but don’t fulfill the interviewing needs. Startups need to adopt HR technology such as virtual interviewing platforms so that recruiters are able to conduct a quality interview while also enhancing their candidate’s experience.

In fact, it is estimated that video content will make up for 80 percent of the internet traffic in the coming years. That’s why it is required more than ever to make video a critical part of an effective hiring strategy for startups.

Companies can start by creating a video on their work culture and move on to accept video applications as well.

Digital interviewing will continue to expand and grow beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

Use Data to Optimize Your Hiring Strategy

One of the biggest problems with startups is that they tend to hire too fast.

Timing plays an important role in recruitment strategies. If you hire too slow, it might affect the business process and even cost your money. Whereas, when you hire too quickly, you won’t get the best people for the position.

That’s why you need to get the timing right. Use your previous data to start measuring the optimal time frame required to fill up a position. This is necessary to conduct an effective recruitment process.

Have a Strategy to Attract the Best Cultural Fit

When you hire the best, it doesn’t only include their technical skills but whether they will fit into your company culture. This lockdown, don’t let you think otherwise. Even though they might be working from home, they still need to take directions and orders from their seniors.

The best strategy is to stay honest about your company culture. While promoting your employer brand, convey real information about your company work culture. Many candidates won’t apply if they find the culture is not a good fit for them. It saves time and effort for both the applicant and the hiring manager.

When an employee doesn’t fit into the culture, it drains down the energy from the entire department.


Many companies might be in the hiring freeze in this pandemic situation. But they still need to ensure that they have a solid pipeline of talent prospects once the pandemic is over.

That’s why the hiring strategy for startups should include building a powerful employer brand to attract top talents.

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