A Bright Forecast for Hiring in the New Normal

Since the world was turned upside down by the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve all been hopeful for a return to normalcy. But what does recruitment look like in the “new normal?” Looking ahead, we need to consider how long we’ll have to follow adjusted hiring practices, how prepared we are for a second wave of stay-at-home orders and how our hiring priorities have shifted amid a global crisis.

As one of the nation’s top staffing firms, Addison Group wanted to dive deeper into these considerations. In April 2020, we surveyed 500 hiring managers across the country about their adjusted hiring practices, new employee policies and future recruitment plans.

Here are some of the top insights from the report that show how recruitment has changed and will continue to evolve in the months ahead.

Recruiters quickly — and successfully — adjusted their hiring practices. Eighty-nine percent of respondents have adjusted their hiring strategies due to the pandemic, affecting every stage of the hiring process, from interviewing to extending a final offer. At the front end of the process, the majority of hiring managers reported hiring freezes, budget cuts and reduced recruiting staff. When it comes to interviewing, video conferencing technologies proved their value during a time when in-person connections were no longer viable. Within weeks of nationwide stay-at-home orders, 51% of respondents interviewed a candidate remotely and 42% extended an offer remotely. Going forward, early stage video interviewing could soon become a best practice, saving both candidates and recruiters time and money.

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The pandemic accelerated workplace culture changes. The pandemic forced organizations to implement cultural changes sooner than planned — and many of the changes have potential to last even after the pandemic. For example, 33% of hiring managers chose fully remote working options as one of the most significant new benefits implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic, while 48% picked virtual interviewing. Going forward, 20% of respondents anticipate these two changes to their workplaces will be permanent. On the applicant side, candidates now expect companies to have employee-centric policies, like remote options, flexible work hours and extensive parental leave — if not, they will quickly go elsewhere to locate an opportunity that offers these benefits.

Hiring priorities are different in the “new normal.” With the possibility of a second wave looming and the economic outlook still uncertain, organizations are considering alternatives to hiring full-time employees: Just under a quarter of respondents are focusing on part-time, contract-to-hire and freelance hires. Others are focusing on new skill sets. Over a quarter say they will now prioritize remote technology skills and 23% will look for new hires that can work in a self-directed (i.e., remote) environment. With this in mind, hiring managers must now use video interviews to assess a candidate’s aptitude presenting over video and how well they have prepared themselves and their surroundings for a virtual meeting.

The process for selecting quality candidates has changed significantly during the pandemic. However, the core purpose of recruitment — providing organizations with top talent — remains the same. While we can’t predict what the future holds for the industry, knowing that other recruitment professionals face similar obstacles, but are continuing to successfully hire top talent during a global crisis, creates an optimistic outlook for the future.

Claudia Johnson

Claudia Johnson
Claudia Johnson is VP of internal recruiting for the Addison Group.

Claudia Johnson

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