In a previous post, we discussed the tremendous economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an article for CNN, Anneken Tappe reported on comments made by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at a recent European Central Bank forum, in which Powell suggested that many displaced workers might find that their old jobs are permanently lost in a post-COVID world. He wrote:
“While technological advances are generally positive for societies over the long term, Powell said, on a short-term basis they create disruption, and as the market adjusts to the new normal the pain isn’t shared evenly.
“For example, it’s likely that lower-paid workers, as well as those in jobs requiring face-to-face interactions, such as retail or restaurant workers, will shoulder most of the burden of this shift. These groups, heavily skewed towards women and minorities, have already been among those most affected by pandemic layoffs.”
In our previous post, we noted that this challenge also comes with the possibility that companies and recruiters will see an increase in demand for workers. There are millions of workers out there looking for jobs, and many have great skill sets that can breed success beyond their previous industries. Here are some tips for recruiters and recruiting and training those economically displaced workers.
Catalog the Non-Industry-Specific Skills Your Company Needs
A software development company needs people who can develop software. A law firm needs employees trained and licensed as attorneys. But both businesses also need people with customer service skills, the ability to manage projects, and the ability to manage others. There are many important skills that aren’t specific to any one industry. Companies should catalog those that are particularly important to their hiring needs.
Learn to Identify Quick Learners and Those Open to Being Taught
Despite sayings to the contrary, plenty of old (and young) dogs can be taught new tricks, but some employees are more adaptable than others. Interview questions and aptitude tests can help identify the quick, and eager, learners from a crowd of applicants. Behavioral questions can help identify those open to learning new skills.
Be Flexible with Specific Job Qualifications
Companies can’t be too strict with job qualifications if they want to get true access to millions of displaced workers from industries hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, an out-of-work restaurant manager might have zero office experience but could be great at managing people regardless of the environment he or she is working in.
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been enormous and is likely to be long lasting. There are and will be millions of employees whose former jobs are rendered obsolete by a changed economy. That means companies looking for quality employees have a massive pool to choose from. The trick will be identifying those skills that are broadly beneficial in any industry and supporting new hires in their transition to an unfamiliar new venture.