Pandemic Brings Recruitment Industry Evolution

Recruiters do more than simply source and place candidates. They play an integral role in powering businesses and economies and helping people build their careers and livelihoods. This is a message I’ve heard time and time again in my conversations with recruitment leaders over the past few months as we’ve spoken about the opportunities that lie ahead for the industry following the challenges brought on by Covid-19.

As the industry prepares to play a crucial role in restarting the economy, here are some of the exciting opportunities we’re likely to see in the months ahead:

An industry with a renewed purpose. With approximately 9.4 million people in the UK on furlough, and ONS data showing that there are around 2.6 million people claiming unemployment benefit, recruiters will be critical in helping people get back to work. The industry clearly has the opportunity to make a difference, and I’m hopeful that this motivating factor will do a lot to elevate the position of recruiters and galvanize firms around a shared goal which will ultimately help them to be more successful.

A more flexible future. Moving to 100% virtual working has had its challenges, particularly for tight teams that are used to operating in office environments. But recruiters have proved that they can maintain productivity levels. Digital transformation accelerated by Covid-19 means that recruitment firms are able to offer their people more options around where they work. Greater flexibility means that employees can spend time doing more of the things they love, whether it’s spending time with family or pursuing personal interests, and less time doing things they don’t, such as commuting. This can also help enable greater diversity in the industry, creating more options for working parents and people with dependents in particular. It comes down to trust, but a material shift from presenteeism is underway and firms now have an opportunity to build supportive cultures that give people the flexibility they want.

Upskilling opportunity. The industry has long relied on data to advise clients on their workforce needs. But now with greater uncertainty brought on by Covid-19, there is a clear impetus for the industry to become more data literate — for recruiters to analyse and interpret an array of inputs to understand how global industries are responding, where demand patterns are, and the emerging roles and skills available. Proactively investing in the development of staff helps to up-level the industry and solidify the position of recruiters as trusted advisors to their clients. Proactively encouraging workforce development demonstrates commitment to employees’ professional growth and investment in their future.

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Interviewing and onboarding innovation. With clients considering their future working policies and their physical office footprint, we’re seeing the entire recruitment, screening and onboarding process being completely disrupted. Recruitment firms have moved quickly to enable the whole process to be done remotely which has been advantageous to clients. LinkedIn has also introduced some new product features — such as Video Intro which helps recruiters evaluate a candidate’s communication and soft skills prior to the first interview – to help firms adapt to virtual recruiting and find quality candidates faster. There is inevitably more innovation to come as recruiters look to deliver excellent candidate experiences and quickly find the best talent for their clients.

A strategic advisor to businesses. With talent needs changing as every company adapts to a new way of working, recruiters will become trusted advisors to their clients, helping them to understand their immediate and future hiring needs, and the skills needed to help their businesses grow. While the global pandemic is likely to create a swell of available talent, competition for the best people will be fierce and companies will need to adapt their policies, benefits and perks accordingly. Recruiters will advise businesses not only on new talent pools, but also help shape their employer brand to ensure they remain relevant and attractive to the best talent.

These are just some of the ways the recruitment industry is likely to evolve. With so much opportunity ahead for the industry to innovate and make a positive difference in how we work, there’s never been a more exciting time to be in recruitment.

Adam Hawkins

Adam Hawkins
Adam Hawkins is head of search & staffing at LinkedIn.

Adam Hawkins

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