Getting Back to Work: How Automation Will Help Us Rehire Talent At some point, we will return to business as usual. Make sure you have employees at the ready.

By Aida Fazylova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Over the past few months, COVID-19 has transformed both the global economy and its hiring landscape. The pandemic's rapid emergence has pushed employers to reassess their hiring priorities as they adapt to ever-developing stay-at-home and self-distancing orders.

On one end of the spectrum, companies like Amazon are seeing an intense increase in their need for workers. On the opposite end, companies like Lyft and Boeing are making the hard decision to layoff employees. My company has seen clients on all sides of this spectrum, with most fitting into four main categories -- companies are either hiring more than normal, hiring at the usual rate, have enacted hiring freezes, or have been forced to lay off workers.

For all of these scenarios, there are major ways in which automation can help a company adapt its workforce strategy.

Related: Finding Jobs and Building Careers in the Age of COVID-19 and Beyond

Increased hiring demand

Overwhelmed sectors like pharmacy and grocery are seeing their need for employees skyrocket. They need a large number of new workers as quickly as possible. To enable this quick flow of talent, streamlining the application process is vital for them.

A process we have found successful for quick hiring is to send either text message or live chat job applications. With just a quick few texts, potential candidates can show their interests and apply conversationally, or you can post a link to an application website. By using text messaging, candidates can more quickly respond, which leads to a faster and more successful overall hiring process. This solution provides companies with new employees as rapidly as possible.

Business as usual

Some companies are continuing to hire at their standard rate. These are often businesses that are deemed essential but not in increased demand. Due to the nationwide increase in unemployment, the amount of applicants that these companies receive is overwhelming. They have found it necessary to filter candidates using automation to lower the workload on their hiring teams.

By using 24/7 chatbot screening, candidates who are not qualified for the posted position get redirected to more appropriate job openings, or gently rejected with a personal message. Some chatbots can directly interface with your calendar to show those who do pass your screening when you are available for an interview. Another option is to have candidates record a video interview.

Related: COVID-19 Crisis -- Stress Test for Recruitment and Retention

Stagnant hiring

Many companies like Microsoft have stopped hiring for some positions, but they will potentially want to fill them immediately once they feel the time is right. These groups often want to continue extending their talent community without promising future offers or reaching out about openings now.

Widgets used on company career pages or landing sites can capture applicant info. Automated processes can take the information put into these popups and directly transfer it into an applicant tracking system (ATS). With this information logged, a hiring team could contact any qualified job seekers immediately upon posting a new position.

Temporary layoffs

Heartbreakingly, some companies have had to layoff much of their workforce to weather the uncertain economy. It is being estimated by some that job losses will hit an astounding 47 million people. Many of these companies are lost as to how they will recover their talent once they attempt to get back to normal working capacity.

Hiring previous employees can be ideal, as they require no orientation and are already accustomed to the position. Doing so will also help these companies get back running faster than if they had to retrain all lost positions. Luckily, companies already have information on former employees and can use technology integrated within their ATS to contact them once they are ready to start rehiring.

Related: Why Upskilling Has Become Critical to Prepare Yourself for the Future

Automation allows for large scale text message campaigns to be sent to these previous employees. By using previously gathered information, you can keep in touch with prior workers. These updates can include informing them of your reopening plans, or just notify them when their position is back open. You can send a link to schedule a meeting once your company relaunches their previous role to see if they have an interest in filling it.

We all are encountering unprecedented changes in our lives right now. I hope that by sharing our experiences, you can make your future more steady. In particular, XOR would like to extend extra help during this time to healthcare and essential services businesses by giving access to our HR communication platform at no cost for three months. You can learn more about our COVID-19 employee communication offer here.

Aida Fazylova

Co-founder and CEO,

Aida Fazylova is the co-founder and CEO of, She is a mathematician-programmer and a top recruiter with over six years of experience in IT recruitment and project management. Her areas of expertise include technology, computer science, AI, recruitment and HR management.

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