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A smart guide to hiring during a crisis: tips for SME employers

A smart guide to hiring during a crisis: tips for SME employers

Despite the year’s events, there is good news that is sure to ease all of our mental burdens. According to the Asian Development Bank 2020 Outlook Update, the economy is forecasted to grow by 6.5% albeit a slow and delicate rise beginning in 2021. Coupled with the continuous optimism of the Philippine job market, our August 2020 COVID-19 Job Report states that 65% of hirers were feeling positive about their companies’ initiative to hire, and this increases by 11% when considering future talents to come on board.

With this information in mind, how do you go about looking for the right people? We talk to five SME recruiters who have achieved a peace of mind when it comes to recruitment, and we learn of their hiring journey here.

Hiring challenges in the time of COVID-19

With face-to-face interviews and mass recruitment programs nixed for safety and health reasons, it was difficult to reel in the talent pool and discern who the right fit is for the company.

1. Workarounds you can implement in the hiring process

“The challenges that we, the recruiters, were facing include the following: (a) it was difficult to do a mass interview because we only allow one applicant per hour. (b) Only applicants residing in nearby areas (specifically Manila and Makati area only) have a chance to apply. We refrain from taking in applicants residing in other areas outside the cities I stated to mitigate the spread of the virus,” shares Irish C Banares, Executive Assistant at Sea Pine Shipping Corp.

Limiting the hiring criteria also limits the search process exponentially, and may take a while before you can find an interested party who fits all of the candidate checkpoints.

2. Balancing adherence to safety protocols with candidate convenience

Additionally, Levy Tabiola, Administrative officer at Flowcrete Construction Equipment Phils Inc., says that the hiring process has an added step, and that is to strike a balance between safety protocols and convenience for both the recruiters and the candidates:

“The challenge that our company is facing right now in terms of recruiting is the safety of the staff and the candidates. We have to think of possible ways to conduct interviews safely, but at the same time, convenient, suitable, and efficient.”

Dr John Tan, consultant doctor at MPL Clinic, seconded the insights of Tabiola and Banares, saying, “Of course, health and safety would be primary concerns these days. We have to ensure the health of both parties, along with compliance to the IATF guidelines.”

3. Addressing a shortage of licensed professionals 

On the other hand, Domingo Daza, Partner at R.R. Tan and Associates, CPAs, said that there was a struggle in terms of licensed professionals due to the pandemic. “The lack of duly licensed professionals since the conduct of Board examination has been halted since the pandemic hit the country proved to be a challenge when it comes to looking for the right people.”

Ana Bernabe, Resident Agent at L&E International, Ltd, said that she has experienced setbacks but is thankful her company could withstand them anyway. “We are experiencing setbacks due to the pandemic. But we are blessed that the company can withstand the temporary stumbling blocks in terms of financial position that it can still continue to operate and hire needed people.”

They naturally turned to the digital space to look for their next group of future minds: digging deep through the Free Space and putting up job postings on social media platforms, and also experimented with e-recruitment sites. These were alternative measures to the usual methods these HR personnel were used to, and more importantly, provided the safety and health aspect that they were looking for. But how did the platforms fare?

Free versus Premium: Which one worked out?

Tabiola shared that he started out by utilizing the public space of Facebook and cast the net from there, but he found that his search proved to be of no avail.

“We decided to post on our company Facebook page and other similar industry Facebook groups,” says Tabiola. “But it never helped us to find a candidate that is interested or qualified for our job openings.”

On the other hand, Banares beckoned to the advice of her organization and hire through referral, but that proved to be equally just as arduous. “It was difficult to recruit at this time during the pandemic. At first, our management wanted to recruit only through staff referral. But it was difficult to hire especially with the available positions we were looking for.”

But they found that soon after, their hiring woes were solved when they turned to JobStreet. Bernabe emphasized its easy to use and convenient tools.

“Jobstreet is still the ‘go-to’ platform in recruitment. Very user friendly – very easy to use, very convenient.”

According to them, they found that JobStreet provided them with three essential requirements:

1. The Perfect Match: Attracting quality candidates for #JobsThatMatter

“Through the help of JobStreet, it was easier to sort out applicants,” shared Banares. “We can easily look and sort out applicants that are to our company’s liking.”

Tabiola adds that JobStreet helped his company secure a high quality pool of employees. “JobStreet helped us attract quality candidates by putting more options to introduce our company, recourse for us to be able to tell candidates the advantages of working with us.”

Meanwhile, Tan says that being on JobStreet boosts his company’s credibility in terms of hiring, and says that they have become more legitimate in the eyes of jobseekers. In turn, JobStreet provides him with the quality candidates he is searching for.

“By being affiliated with JobStreet, the applicants are assured that we (the employer) are a reputable company and not some fly-by-night scam.”

2. Smarter search: Allows candidates to find your faster

Tabiola shares that his best JobStreet experience is getting his money’s worth with job postings on the platform.

“Getting to maximize the money we paid for in posting by recruiting and employing the best candidate we found on this job portal. JobStreet is worth the money and makes good use of time.”

Like Tabiola, hirers can find the right talents more efficiently thanks to Smarter Search.

A candidate’s best friend, the Smarter Search allows jobseekers to find more relevant jobs, the more they search--all thanks to AI learning. What does this mean for hirers? You can fulfill your hiring needs faster by getting connected to the right talent for the job. Ultimately, no time is wasted in finding quality talents with the rights skills: both candidates and hirers benefit.

3. Talent sourcing done efficiently 

Recruiters are always looking for the right fit, and Tabiola in particular brought up Talent Search as a tool that has greatly helped him.

“This is where employers can search for a particular preference for candidates who might be looking for a job but may not have seen our job posting.”

Talent Search is a platform that is most convenient for employers who are looking for the best candidates based on the qualities specified by the company.

On the other hand, the SiVa Recruitment Center, JobStreet’s candidate management tool, has helped Daza and Tan with the pre-screening requirements. Questions for Candidates, one of JobStreet’s free collaborative tools, gives you the option to select pre-screening questions, so the system can rank candidates according to your preferred answers.

“We were greatly helped by JobStreet wherein only shortlisted applicants were scheduled for screening including face to face interviews, thereby limiting our exposure to all applicants.”

Tan seconds this by saying, “I like their ability to screen applicants even before it reaches us. In that way, there is no waste of time both for the candidate and the employer.”

How do you hire smart in the pandemic? 

Tabiola talks about transparency, integrity and compassion during the hiring process.

“For hirers like us, I think we should maximize the tools and options on the portal. Process the applications during a specific time, clarify and be detailed about what you are looking for in a candidate. Be truthful about the benefits, salary and other information. For those doing a face-to-face interview [due to certain job positions], be considerate about candidates who fail to show up during their scheduled interview. Commutes are burdensome and unsafe during the pandemic, and they are trying their best to get hired for work during the crisis. If permissible, JobStreet has the option for a phone interview. Take that instead.”

Bernabe agrees with Tabiola’s insights and adds that JobStreet can help out and make the user experience more convenient:

“Hirers should be specific in their requirement to be able to find the right fit. JobStreet also has a feature that can assist them to find resumes that can fit their needs,” she says. “As for jobseekers, JobStreet is still the best platform out there that can assist them in their job hunt. It allows them to filter and narrow their search.”

Daza teaches hirers to maximize the use of the SiVa Recruitment center, saying: “Create a shortlist of applicants and from there, narrow your selection to the best candidate. Preferences were also given for candidates with the proximity to our office address.”

Tan shares this last piece of advice both for hirers and jobseekers alike: “Be honest, be yourself and everything will fall into place.”

The pandemic may have brought about uncertainty to the job market today, but that does not mean the job hiring process stops. But if you find the right partner to go along the journey with you, it makes the search a whole lot easier.

Find the ideal people for your organization. Use Talent Search to find the right fit for the right job. Need more advice? Visit the Jobs and Resources Hub for more expert insights on how to use the recruitment process to help candidates build fulfilling careers while meeting your own hiring needs.

At JobStreet, we believe in bringing you #JobsThatMatter. As a Career Partner, we are committed to helping all jobseekers find passion and purpose in every career choice. And as the number 1 Talent Partner in Asia, we connect employers with the right candidates who truly make a positive and lasting impact on the organization. 

Discover Jobs That Matter. Visit JobStreet today.

About SEEK Asia

SEEK Asia, a combination of two leading brands JobStreet and jobsDB, is the leading job portal and Asia's preferred destination for candidates and hirers. SEEK Asia’s presence span across 7 countries namely Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam. SEEK Asia is part of the Australian Securities Exchange-listed SEEK Limited Company, the world's largest job portal by market capitalization. SEEK Asia attracts over 400 million visits a year.

About SEEK Limited

SEEK is a diverse group of companies, comprising a strong portfolio of online employment, educational, commercial and volunteer businesses. SEEK has a global presence (including Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, South-East Asia, Brazil and Mexico), with exposure to over 2.9 billion people and approximately 27 per cent of global GDP. SEEK makes a positive contribution to people’s lives on a global scale. SEEK is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, where it is a top 100 company and has been listed in the Top 20 Most Innovative Companies by Forbes.

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