How to Resume Recruiting After a Disaster

When a natural disaster like a hurricane hits, it may take days or even weeks for people to pick up their lives. When homes and offices are damaged or destroyed, power and Internet access is out, and buses, subways, trains, and planes are delayed, all these difficulties can halt your company’s recruitment efforts, too.

For companies who need to keep recruiting and hiring workers, those delays can impact your productivity and the ability to serve your clients.

We asked Libby Anderson, president of consulting firm Human Resources Now, based in Naples, Fla., which is on the state’s gulf coast, to share some tips for how human resource professionals can reach out to job candidates after a disaster and resume recruitment efforts.

• Volunteer to help out – Supporting recovery efforts shows your staff — and potential job candidates — that you care about the community. While serving food to those who lost their homes or distributing care packages, your employees may be meeting disaster victims who need a job and have skills that your company could use. “This is their opportunity to do great things and to attract great people through their efforts,” says Anderson, adding, “Of course, it has to be genuine and heartfelt.”

• Start a referral program – Your employees may know folks who are unemployed, so give existing employees an incentive, such as a bonus, if they refer potential job candidates. They may be intimately aware of friends and family members who lost their jobs as a result of the disaster but want to get back into the workforce.

• Get out to meet potential job candidates – While industry expos and career fairs may be a key way that you promote job openings and connect with job seekers, consider filling immediate workforce needs by heading to shelters and centers run by nonprofit organizations. Folks who were left homeless in the disaster will be there, and those who are jobless may be interested in getting back to work. But don’t expect to conduct the typical interview. “They are not going to be dressed in interview clothes,” Anderson says.

If you’re been talking to a job candidate and done initial interviews, be flexible and arrange to go to them, if the disaster is keeping them from coming to you. For example, if a tree fell on their car, offer to meet them at a coffee shop or restaurant in their town (if they can walk there or get brief transportation). Or instead of flying them into town, travel to their town so that you can continue the interview process.

A natural disaster doesn’t have to turn your recruitment efforts into a disaster. By being flexible and getting involved in the community, you could potentially connect with job seekers who would fit into your company.

(Photo by MISHELLA / Shutterstock.com)

 

 

About Lori Johnston

Lori Johnston is a Georgia-based freelance writer and former Associated Press reporter. She has contributed to many publications, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and People magazine. A 1995 graduate of the University of Georgia, Johnson also has served as adjunct professor in the school's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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