The Permanent Changes to Recruitment from the Lockdown

The coronavirus has tipped the jobs market on its head, and factors like the widespread adoption of remote working and furlough programs in many industries have further complicated the work of recruiting. Data from KPMG shows a renewed rise in permanent placements in December and increased demand for staff. This tentative increase in demand and permanent staff appointments may represent the beginning of the end for the coronavirus era – or it may not.

Regardless, as every day brings us closer to a return to “normal,” it’s worth considering how recruiting changed for the better during the coronavirus crisis so that we can carry these positive developments forward. Here are some of the pandemic-era trends that we can expect to continue, even after we’ve all received our vaccines.

Remote work is here to stay. Lockdowns have forced people to work from home, and while the practice is not without downsides, many people will be extremely reluctant to go back to the office. Whether for health reasons, personal reasons, or a simple preference, it’s safe to assume that clients will need to offer flexible working for the foreseeable future. This shouldn’t be a problem since many businesses have managed to shift their tools and infrastructure to support home working in ways that they hadn’t before the coronavirus. These developments won’t be going away.

It’s also safe to assume that recruiters will need to continue working remotely as well. Retaining clients and finding new ones without shaking hands in person can be a challenge, but it’s one that many recruiters have managed to overcome over the past year. While the old way of operating remains unviable, consider new ways of attracting clients that might serve the business after the lockdown ends, such as engaging in thought leadership and producing content that shows off your firm’s industry expertise.

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Video-based interviews using purpose-built software. Hand in hand with remote work, video-based interviews are here to stay. We’re all far more familiar with Zoom and other video calling software than we were this time last year, and remote interviews will remain the default for some time to come. However, Zoom isn’t ideal for recruitment interviews, and recruiters and HR departments are increasingly turning to video software explicitly designed for interviews.

If your agency doesn’t already have a replicable, efficient system for video interviews that creates as much of the atmosphere of a face-to-face interview as possible, now is the time to set one up.

Digital transformation is top of the agenda. Last year, for obvious reasons, record numbers of recruitment businesses engaged in a digital transformation process. Tech evangelists have long touted the benefits of a digitally transformed business, but it took the extreme circumstances caused by Covid-19 to drive the industry to action. Now that many firms have fully reinvigorated their tech stack, they need to remember that a transformation is an ongoing process, not a one-and-done event.

Technology won’t stop moving forward, so neither can tech-driven businesses. Fortunately, companies that have adopted today’s state of the art will have an easy time keeping up to date, as many modern tools emphasize modularity and integrations. This should mean that future upgrades don’t necessitate migration or large-scale overhauls and that businesses can seamlessly replace old systems with newer solutions.

One thing that hasn’t changed: talent is still the top priority. Many recruiters face a very familiar challenge: sourcing the right talent. Recruiters are having a tough time overcoming skills shortages, especially in specialized industries, and this is yet another opportunity for innovative firms to adapt and overtake the competition.

Sourcing the right talent was the top priority of successful firms before the pandemic, which hasn’t changed. Just because there are more candidates available than ever doesn’t necessarily equate to more qualified candidates. Recruiters shouldn’t compromise on finding the right fit, pandemic or otherwise.

The months ahead will undoubtedly reveal new challenges for recruiters, as well as new opportunities, but the industry must remember that it has a hand in its future. The firms that can combine old practices with the new ones that have enabled them to thrive during the pandemic will have the most success as we enter the recovery period.

Andy Ingham

Andy Ingham
Andy Ingham is senior VP, EMEA and APAC, at Bullhorn.

Andy Ingham

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