How hiring happens in a pandemic

Written by: Ed Han
Published on: May 26, 2020

how hiring bruce-mars

(Image: Bruce Mars)

We are in a challenging time for hiring on both sides of the hiring desk.

The COVID-19 pandemic and attendant quarantines are reshaping how – and which –  employers hire.

Quarantines and "social distancing" requirements have also eliminated most face-to-face meetings.

Consequently, what job seekers need to do to find their next opportunities under such circumstances has changed, too.

In many jurisdictions, the state government has issued mandatory quarantine instructions, ending most face-to-face meetings.

Finding the jobs

The critical thing is finding out who is still hiring. This is only happening at essential businesses: businesses whose function is deemed necessary to maintain minimal societal function. But how to find out who is actually hiring now?

  • Find employers. This is surprisingly easy: Consult your local guidelines. Go to your favorite search engine and, at least in the U.S., search for "essential business listing" and append your ZIP code. This will bring up a list of those essential businesses and industries.
  • Stay on top of employers who are hiring. On social media, search on the hashtag #hiringnow and you should see a list of such employers. And you should definitely "follow" this hashtag: it will ensure that relevant status updates find their way into your social media feeds.
  • Double-check the employer's environment. Always ask a prospective employer what steps they are taking as an organization to ensure the safety of everyone.

Opportunities exist if you are willing to create a flexible job search that includes developing a great resume, being open-minded about where you work, and dedicating significant time to networking.

You can open doors, create your opportunities, and get a great role despite the current environment.

Impressing the Employer

This is not an easy time for most employers, either. Many businesses and public services have closed, hopefully only temporarily. Others struggle to stay open. Some are doing their best to handle the overwhelming volume of people seeking their help or services. Two things to keep in mind:

  • Are you online? Employers still hiring are invested in making sure they are complying with any government mandate regarding social distancing and maximum group gatherings.

    This means that employers are more interested than previously in jobseekers who already have reliable internet access in their homes and the ability to use the online conferencing tools. Be prepared for this.

    Add appropriate terms to your resumes, applications, and online profiles that indicate you have these skills and experience.
  • They are overwhelmed. So many industries and businesses have had to slow or completely halt their hiring, hopefully temporarily.

    With many fewer employers hiring right now and unemployment skyrocketing, those organizations still hiring are experiencing a much greater volume of applications. When talent is in ample supply, this allows employers to be even more selective.

    Again, include the appropriate terms (keywords) to your resumes, applications, and online profiles to indicate you match the requirements of the job.

The job market has changed, but you can change with it.

Ed Han is a recruiter, a wordsmith, a social media fanatic, and a writer at

This article originally appeared in a slightly different form on

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