Recruiting in the age of COVID-19

21 April 2020 00:00 by Rudi Kruger

Recruiting in the age of COVID-19

[Durban, 21 April 2020] COVID-19 has forced all sectors of business and society to re-evaluate tried and trusted systems. Recruitment procedures are no different.

While there is a lot of uncertainty during this lockdown period, one factor remains consistent – business cannot come to a complete stop. Therefore, it is imperative that procedures – including that of recruitment – evolve to adapt to the new global reality.

COVID-19 has unfortunately had an effect on employment worldwide and an influx of candidates are likely to be looking for new positions in the aftermath of the pandemic, turning the job market into an even more competitive space.

How does your business now balance this outcome in a time where social distancing is a life-saving necessity?

“Traditional hiring programmes are fashioned to incorporate face-to-face interaction, which is now and in the near future, out of the question. COVID-19 has forced many industries to adopt a new normal which requires working remotely and utilising technology to stay on track, all while adhering to company policy. The same can and should be done within the recruitment sector,” says Rudi Kruger, General Manager of LexisNexis Data Services.

Here are some tips on how to ensure your business remains at the front of the recruitment herd, without compromising the health and safety of existing staff or the integrity of your company’s reputation.


Video calling and virtual meeting services are excellent tools to bridge the distance. This is an inexpensive way to operate as anyone with a smartphone and access to the Internet can be interviewed, limiting person-to-person contact. This also provides the candidate with the freedom to conduct an interview at their convenience without having to apply for extra leave or having to travel. A secondary upshot for the recruiter, is that working in this manner gives employers the opportunity to evaluate how comfortable candidates are in the digital space.

Consent is key

Legal compliance obligations remain paramount – digital interviews do not absolve your business of this. Utilise electronic consent forms to obtain permission before conducting background searches on potential employees. These forms can be turned into hard copies once the lockdown is lifted but soft copies should also be stored online for future audit processes.

Biometric fingerprints

While the lockdown may prevent employers from capturing fingerprints in real-time, there are other methods available to conduct vital checks to ensure your candidate does not have a criminal history.

Shared Fingerprint Databases are great tools which give recruiters access to fingerprints that were previously captured and often require only the name and ID number of the candidate to provide verification. Processes are put in place before fingerprints are added to the database, ensuring trustworthy results. However, it is once again important to note that consent from the candidate must be received before your company utilises this system to access a potential employee’s details.

Prepare to go paperless

The time is now. Establish electronic signing solutions within your business. This further eliminates the need for face to face interaction, while still allowing processes to go ahead unencumbered by waiting times. Many of these solutions already exist and have been developed in line with signature legislation, ensuring employment contracts remain well-organised and up to date.

Don’t let lockdown slow down verification

The 21-day lockdown has forced the closure of a number of verification bodies within the country. To ensure your company does not fall behind, break down the verification process into two stages:

Real-Time Identity Checks

Conduct ID verifications, as well as credit and fraud listing searches – which are mandatory for candidates looking to join industries where trust is a key characteristic of the role.

Academic Qualification Verifications

Academic qualifications can still be processed through electronic databases. Like much of South Africa, many of these organisations are working digitally during lockdown and are still able to provide results. For those that are completely shut, process your application as per usual to ensure you make it into the queue for verification as soon as the lockdown is lifted.

For more information and to access the LexisNexis COVID-19 Resource Centre, visit:

The COVID-19 Free Resource Centre is aimed at informing the public of its rights and responsibilities during this period, as well as the rights and obligations of employers, employees and businesses. It provides free access to a convenient online platform housing resources and information that cover a variety of general public themes such as Labour Law, Immigration, Property and Planning, as well as Notices, Court Directives and Regulations pertaining to COVID-19.

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