How to Hire Staff During a Pandemic to Meet Business Demand

Erin Salada
2 Apr 2020

Some businesses are not booming during this time of crisis: A recent poll conducted by NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist found that nearly 20% of the 835 Americans surveyed lost their jobs or had their hours reduced since the outbreak. Still, other businesses—especially those that provide essential goods or delivery services—are experiencing spikes in demand that require a larger workforce capacity. This need is intensified by the fact that absenteeism may also rise when existing employees are symptomatic, ordered to quarantine or caring for others due to coronavirus. If you are able to create jobs during the pandemic, consider the following strategies for staff hiring.

Advertise Temporary Positions in Online Marketing

Many employees who have been furloughed or laid off, like those in the restaurant and hospitality industry, need another source of income during this time. Temporary jobs can provide interim income, but job seekers need to know how to find them. Make sure your website reflects the staff hiring goals held by your company. For instance, Amazon announced the number of workers they are seeking on their blog, and they include a banner advertising the number and types of new positions available near the top of their jobs page

In addition, many employers are choosing to focus on the local community rather than national or global contenders, partly because travel is discouraged. Ensure that all social media platforms are updated to reflect the hiring initiative. This way, local workers are likely to learn about your opportunities regardless of their method of approach.

You might also reach out to online newsletters within a desired industry. For example, if you need health care professionals for COVID-19 response, you could reach out to your district’s schools to advertise your openings to school Nurses via e-mailed newsletters.

Post on

Tried and true, a job board will extend your reach to many employees from a variety of industries. There are flexible features on job boards that allow ease of access for job seekers as well. SimplyHired, for instance, allows users to search for a desired skill, job title or company within a geographical limitation. A filter for “Job Type” gives users the ability to limit job descriptions to “Part-Time” or “Temporary,” and keywords like “Remote” in the search bar will offer roles for the seeker who also wants to practice social distancing.

The downside to job boards is cost—although there may be a free trial, they usually require a monthly fee dependent on the number of jobs posted. For small businesses, this can be prohibitive. However, if the need is large enough, a fee is easy to justify.

Host an Indeed Hiring Event

Employment-related search engines like Indeed offer virtual hiring events that can reach even more potential employees. Companies like Spectrum, Macy’s and CVS use this feature to share the event with millions, screen applicants with questions, schedule interviews and make on-the-spot offers after interviewing online. Along with amplified attendance, Indeed cites faster hiring and lower costs per hire as key benefits.

Adjust Interviewing and Onboarding Processes

Following the Center of Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to limit in-person interactions to essential functions, most interviews are now conducted remotely. First, decide which video interview platform you prefer for the virtual process. While Zoom soared in popularity this month, it has suffered from well-publicized privacy issues before the pandemic. Common alternatives include Google Hangouts or Skype. Regardless of your video conferencing choice, Fast Company points out that the way you adapt your interview process gives employees insight into your adaptable workplace culture.

If the position is largely remote, the same adaptations apply for onboarding: How can you promote both bonding and conveying essential information virtually? Schedule videoconferencing into a new hire’s routine if it makes sense for the position, but be sure they can also access resources autonomously in a centralized online location. Empower them to ask questions even if they can’t do so face to face.

Introduce Hardship Funds and Flexible Shifts

Take a tip from the supermarket Morrisons and implement supportive policies and practices for employees. In addition to guaranteeing paid sick leave as mandated by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Morrisons is offering staff more choice in their shifts and launching a hardship fund for staff especially strained for reasons related to COVID-19. Non-punitive measures like these are helpful because they allow workers the ability to make safer decisions without sacrificing their livelihood. Business decisions that prioritize employee health help companies follow CDC guidelines during the pandemic with greater integrity.

Train Employees in Healthy Workplace Routines

Pandemic onboarding should include training that helps new (and existing) employees use the CDC’s suggestions to make informed decisions that reduce the spread of infection. To promote a healthy work environment, support respiratory etiquette and perform routine cleaning and disinfecting. The CDC provides a list of products that are effective against the virus that causes COVID-19 here. Employees should learn how to use these disinfectants to clean frequently touched surfaces at regular intervals.

In addition, they should follow protocols for social distancing in business operations whenever possible. To reduce the exposure between employees and customers, for example, workers should comply with any partitions, drive throughs or curbside pick-up strategies. Employees should also know how to increase space between each other by working remotely and postponing non-essential meetings.

Erin Salada

Erin Salada is a writer and educator based in Austin, TX. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University, where she was a Rose Fellow. Visit her at or on Twitter @saladacious.