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Want to Recharge Your Business During the Lockdown? Start Hiring Now. Use this downtime to plan, reboot and get stronger with these hiring strategies.

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While weathering the current storm, recognize that the lockdown the working world is experiencing can lead to opportunity and profitability when economies come back to life. Experts predict that once the economy does reopen, it will rebound quickly with a fast upswing, and small-business owners must be positioned to take advantage of that surge.

This is why it's so important for companies to think about their talent needs not only for today, but also for when this crisis has passed. Here is some practical advice on what companies can do now on the hiring front to prepare for the future.

1. Think ahead.

It may sound counterintuitive to think about hiring in the middle of a pandemic-induced economic crisis; however, while some people are still sorting out details and adjusting to remote work, there are many extremely talented potential candidates that now have privacy and time to consider their next career moves.

In fact, many industries are currently ramping up their hiring activity, particularly those business sectors that are serving people confined to their homes during statewide shelter-in-place policies. With so many people furloughed and/or laid off and unemployment rates soaring, it's a great time to hire — before the best talent is scooped up by competitors and while candidates are less likely to counter for higher pay.

Related: Hiring Remote Workers? Here's What to Consider First.

It takes an average of two to five months to fill a key position in an organization, from the first interview to offer acceptance. This means now is the perfect time to start utilizing remote work resources to establish a virtual process for hiring the talent you will need in the months ahead.

Check out my company's best remote interviewing strategies to position your company for success and enable you to attract the strongest candidates.

2. Create new connections.

It takes time to build a trusted connection, and most people have more time at the moment, making now the optimal opportunity for small businesses to reach out and connect with candidates they might want to hire.

Before reaching out, take this time to complete some due diligence on potential candidates, researching their qualifications and experience as you would in normal circumstances during the early stages of the hiring process.

After vetting is completed, utilize videoconferencing tools to establish a virtual "face-to-face" connection. Keep in mind that personal contact is most impactful, especially when people can't meet face to face.

Related: Can Your Company Benefit From Hiring Remote Workers?

While the hiring process is being prolonged by the coronavirus since final hiring decisions will almost certainly have to wait for in-person meetings to take place, creating connections ahead of time will help put business owners ahead of the game and that much closer to hiring once it's safe to hold personal meetings again. However, we have seen companies hire entry- to mid-level positions by the use of video interviews only.

3. Examine what your company is offering now and where it's heading.

Now is a great time to evaluate your position as an employer and how you might want to improve in the post-pandemic business world.

Start by reviewing your compensation and benefits packages to ensure they are competitive and compelling. An experienced recruitment firm can provide benchmarks on current industry trends in salary, benefits and other perks.

In addition to what you can offer candidates now, look closely at your future plans. As we've noted, an accelerated recovery is anticipated later in the year and business could boom at that time. Ensure that you have the right team in place to leverage that opportunity.

Related: 5 Essentials to Hiring a Successful Remote Team

Life is uncertain for everyone right now, and no one is sure what the world will look like when we emerge from this crisis. While the business environment may be forever changed, small business owners can best prepare for the new normal by thinking ahead to when the economy reopens, reaching out to make new connections, examining their compensation and benefits packages, and being prepared for when new growth opportunities do arise — as they most definitely will when people return to their workplaces.

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