COVID-19 has had a seismic impact on many sectors of the economy, and recruitment has felt this deeply. The shape and structure of workflows have changed dramatically as a result of measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus. Plus, almost overnight, entire businesses shifted to working from home. So, where are we now in terms of how recruitment has changed and what is the outlook concerning recovery?
How has recruitment changed?
- New perspectives on hiring barriers. The paradigm shift that COVID-19 has forced for many organisations has led to a lifting of barriers to hiring that previously seemed immovable. Whether this relates to internal silos or the need for applicants to have specific skills or experience, a more flexible approach has become the norm for many.
- A greater value placed on relationships. As we have all become physically distanced during the lockdown, the value of relationships is clear. In particular, more emphasis is now placed on more effective communication and facilitating greater collaboration, not just to achieve results but to strengthen teams and employee engagement too. This has filtered through into hiring strategies, priorities and approaches across the board.
- The switch to virtual recruitment. Businesses have been forced to rely more on virtual tools to ensure business continuity, both in terms of daily processes and also for key priorities, such as hiring. In many cases, this has proven more cost-effective and may be a long-term choice for many organisations. Virtual interviews are one of the most significant shifts in the hiring process. While an initial screening interview via a video conferencing platform was becoming a popular choice before lockdown, this was the only option in a socially distanced world. It has meant that finding ways to get more from candidates via video interview has become a priority – and individuals have had to be more focused on communicating their potential digitally.
- Flexible working as a given. Before COVID-19 flexible working had increasingly become a priority but was not viewed as feasible on a widespread basis for many businesses. As a result of the shift of entire workforces to working from home, it could now be more difficult for flexible working requests to be refused and this may change the demands that candidates bring to the table.
What’s the outlook for the recruitment sector?
Change is the only certainty but could potentially be positive. For example, while there may be fewer roles available for candidates in sectors such as corporate support, opportunities in tech – manufacturing, IT support, legal & finance etc. – are likely to soar. The shift to a virtual, tech-driven approach could make hiring more cost-effective and less time-consuming.
Where business closures become a reality, there may be many more candidates competing for the same roles, which will make this an employer’s market. Many of those roles may shift in nature, for example involving a more remote element and more virtual collaboration.
COVID-19 hit recruitment hard but the sector is resilient and already bouncing back, albeit looking different to previous years.
Many companies are rethinking their strategy and creating specialist roles. 2i recruit can help find these candidates and save companies time.