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    Workstream | 4 min read

    How to Rehire in a Post-Coronavirus World

    During the recession of the ‘40s, Hewlett-Packard (HP) was an electronic equipment maker facing strained finances. Instead of cutting back on hiring, they seized the opportunity to hire engineers from closing U.S. military bases. Founders David Packard and Bill Hewlett would later always attribute HP’s success to their willingness to invest in talent no matter the circumstances. Jumping forward to the 21st century, almost 80 years later, we face yet another global crisis. 

    As of May 12 2020, more than half the number of states in the US have either partially reopened their businesses or plan to reopen soon. Only 15 states remain in lockdown mode. As states slowly start to reopen their economies, businesses are working on a tight schedule to bring back employees who were laid off or furloughed. More than 33 million Americans were either laid off or furloughed as a result of the pandemic. This provides a pool of talent larger than any we’ve ever seen before in recent years. How then are you going to filter for the best candidates to join your team?

    Know Your Aid

    It’s clear by now that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been less than adequate in helping businesses survive this crisis. Some of the more concerning requirements for your loans to be forgiven are as follows:

    • At least 75% of the loan must be for payroll costs
    • You can’t decrease your full-time employee headcount
    • You can’t decrease salaries/wages by more than 25%, for employees making less than $100,000

    Here are some questions to think about:

    • What if you still can’t open for business? 
    • Even when quarantine is lifted, businesses will be mandated to reopen at reduced capacity. 
    • So how do you hire back your entire staff to meet the terms of loan forgiveness? 
    • And with reduced capacity, can you afford to pay them even 75% of their previous paycheck? 
    • What if the employees don’t want to come back to work due to safety concerns? 

    It seems like business owners have reached a dead end. Thankfully, other forms of aid in the form of federal tax credits are available. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) grants employers tax credit if they hire individuals from certain targeted groups who traditionally faced a lot of difficulties when seeking employment. The amount of tax credit that can be claimed ranges from $1,200 to $9,600. You can complete the claiming process in just 5 simple steps.

    Adapt Your Hiring Process

    Before you even begin to make hiring decisions, make sure you are well-versed in the new coronavirus-related regulations you need to abide by when it comes to conducting business operations. Your hiring process is no exception.

    With social distancing set as the new norm, ask yourself:

     “Do I really need to have that one candidate come in for an interview?”

    The interview process for many MNCs’ management roles may put several candidates in the same room to have them collaborate and solve a task together. Is the role you are looking to hire for a managerial one that is highly collaborative in nature? Does it require that decisions be made at breakneck speed lest you risk the collapse of the global supply chain of a top international conglomerate? If your answer is no, then it is unlikely that you’ll need to meet the candidate in person. Conducting video interviews via video conferencing software like Zoom or Skype will suffice. This can even provide you with new criteria for selecting candidates.

    According to Jerome Chang, Founder of co-working space BlankSpaces, looking at the way a person dresses for a video interview and how they set up their backgrounds can reveal more about who they are as people.

    Hire the RIGHT Employees

    You don’t want to hire more employees. You want to hire the right ones - those who will stay beyond the crisis and believe in your brand. As our Head of Marketing and Growth Lydia Fayal said, “Nobody wants a temporary accountant,” especially not during a period where manpower is more precious than ever. So how can you filter out those candidates who are simply using your business as a stepping stone?

    In a webinar about thriving in a COVID-19 world, Recruiting Manager at ZeroCater Theresa Morgan said that it is not enough to just ask why the applicant is looking for a job. You also need to ask about what candidates find important in the next steps of their careers. This would not only give you insight on why they're looking but what they want. It helps you pair them up with your opportunity.

    More than ever, it is essential to be clear about your company’s mission and values. Hiring managers can use that to find candidates whose values and modes of thinking and operation are aligned with your own. You can come up with several scenario-based questions to try to obtain insights on the candidates’ way of thinking.

    To Conclude

    Let’s jump right back into the mid-twentieth century when HP was on the brink of collapse - to that very moment when its founders were in the process of making that tough decision on whether or not to recruit new talent in times of recession. Many of you are probably in the same spot now. Should you be taking a less risky path or go all out and get the best to join your team? We know that it is a tough decision to make, and we are here to help. 

    Unlike Hewlett and Packard, you have the luxury of modern technology and an abundance of data to make better business decisions. Knowing which financial resources are up for grabs, adapting your hiring process, and looking for the right talent are some of the ways you can adapt your hiring strategy in this COVID-19 world. 

    Workstream can help you navigate the minefield that is the current hiring landscape. Schedule your demo today to find out how you can leverage our end-to-end contactless hiring platform.

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    Nigel Seah

    Nigel is not just a marketer at Workstream, he is also a graduate of Psychology and Marketing of Singapore Management University. He has multiple experiences in various areas of marketing - advertising, email marketing, and content writing. Fun fact, prior to joining Workstream, he took a semester off school to intern at SAP in Brazil.

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