How to Recruit Top Talent in the COVID-19 Economy: 5 Tips for Ecommerce Business Owners

Considering the state of the current United States economy, every single business decision you make will be more important now than ever before. Companies large and small find themselves clinging onto the edge of a cliff, determined not to fall, during the COVID-19 crisis.

Unfortunately, many businesses don’t stand a chance against the government-mandated closures; they’ve been forced to scale back operations and downsize staff, resulting in millions of displaced workers across the U.S.

However, there are several industries that present an exception to this trend. Rather than laying employees off due to business slowing down, they’re finding themselves in need of more staff to support a surge in demand. Some examples of in-demand jobs during the coronavirus pandemic—apart from the health care workers—are grocers, cleaning crews, manufacturers, customer service representatives, and delivery drivers.

If you’re an owner of a business that’s deemed “essential” to the economy and open for operation, you can likely attest to this spike in demand firsthand. For those with a line out the door and around the corner, each person separated by a six-foot distance, the pressure can be dizzying. Chances are that you have barely enough hands to keep the shelves stocked, let alone eyes to supervise adherence to public safety measures or time to manage the supply chain.

You might feel tempted to put a rush on hiring efforts in order to bulk up staff, but it’s important that you maintain recruitment standards for top talent—even amidst the frenzy. Making a bad hire now could prove all the more devastating if your employee were to jeopardize the (already rocky) fate of your company.

Below are the top five tips employers are wise to remember when it comes to recruiting the best pool of job applicants, especially during this economic shift.

1. Enlist Digital Assistance

In recent years, business owners have quickly embraced virtual recruiting methods, but now, the online conversion will no longer be a matter of choice. New safety precautions that call for social distancing and ban large gatherings to stop the spread of coronavirus will require hiring initiatives to take place over the digital domain. For example, in just this last week, several large companies announced thousands of jobs they plan to fill:

  • Amazon – 100,000 new employees
  • Walmart – 150,000 new employees
  • CVS – 50,000 new employees

Even without the current shelter-in-place mandates, there’s no feasible way for these organizations to quickly recruit, screen, interview, hire, and onboard without using online tools to speed up the process.

There are many job posting sites that employers can use as a starting point. They provide great, cost-effective ways to advertise an open position and maximize the exposure it receives, increasing your odds of more applicants to choose from. Some of the most popular choices include,, and; although Craigslist may be free of charge, the platform lacks many helpful features that simplify sorting through qualified applications.

2. Leverage Employment Branding

Gone are the days of in-person recruitment at job fairs across college campuses—at least for several months to come. Many HR professionals have grown accustomed to meeting seniors during their final Spring semester as they approach graduation and prepare to enter the job market, using the opportunity to attract potential talent with a charismatic company pitch and persuasive perks that come with the job.

Now, employers are tasked with building a brand that candidates can relate to and establishing a persona that people want to work for. Although 300,000 jobs were created by three companies alone, this massive push is happening at a time when there’s also an unprecedented amount of people who are suddenly out of work by no fault of their own.

Your organization may have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to recruit top talent in search of work, but you need to frame your recruitment process as if you were influencing a purchasing decision. In other words, why should they choose you?

Leverage your website and social media accounts to sell yourself as an employer who’s driven by passion and purpose rather than profit. You should also boost your rating on Glassdoor and Yelp since 86% of people search company reviews when deciding where to apply for a job to ensure a good fit.

3. Speed Up Screening & Onboarding Processes

If you want to capitalize on the business boom, you’ll need to do it quickly or your competitors may beat you to the punch. Similarly, the 22 million people who filed unemployment and are looking for jobs want to start working as soon as possible in order to fill their income gap. That said, speeding up your employee screening and onboarding processes will benefit both your company and the candidates you hope to recruit.

Don’t cut corners, but choose a screening service that can provide employee background checks in a matter of minutes versus days or weeks. You can also cut down orientation and training time by providing new hires with digitized onboarding documents to review and sign before their first day of work.

4. Open Multiple Communication Channels

With a larger remote workforce than the economy has ever seen, you’ll need to explore alternative channels of communication beyond phone calls. In addition to social media, connect with job applicants over email and text while face-to-face interactions are under restriction. Video conference calls over software such as Zoom can benefit your hiring process by giving everyone on the interview panel a chance to assess each applicant, increasing the likelihood of hiring the best fit for the role. 

5. Offer Competitive Packages

Ultimately, the best way to attract top talent is with competitive offers because applicants are most likely to accept the job with the highest compensation package—including not only pay but also benefits. If you can’t afford to offer an industry-leading salary or comprehensive health insurance, you can still incentivize candidates to join your team with other perks such as:

  • Flexible work hours
  • Company-sponsored gym memberships and wellness programs
  • Employer-matched retirement contributions
  • Childcare reimbursement

No one can know for certain what the future has in store or how the economy might rebound, but armed with these recruitment tips, your probability for lasting success will be significantly higher.


HR Technologist | Monster | Washington Post

Author Bio

Kaelee Nelson received her Master degree with an emphasis in Digital Humanities and pursues her career as a writer in San Diego, currently writing for She enjoys informing readers about topics spanning industries such as technology, business, finance, culture, wellness, hospitality, and tourism.