Perhaps one of the main areas in HR impacted by COVID 19 has been recruitment. Often one of the most traditional in terms of processes, recruitment teams have had to fast-track re-invention of many of their processes and procedures to facilitate remote recruitment and onboarding. Along with changes in processes, there has also been a significant shift required in recruitment professionals’ skills.
Although many organisations had already embraced online candidate screening using software tools such as Webex, Skype and Zoom, virtually recruiting through the full cycle from identification to onboarding has become the new norm.
Internal mobility and upskilling programs have a greater focus, with accompanying changes in approach from looking outside for new talent to embracing and developing internal talent.
And along with the need to embrace flexibility in worker location, workforce diversity now has the urgency and accountability it always deserved. Workforce demographics have broadened to include freelancers, short-term contractors, and skilled resources supplied via specialised external service companies.
With each change comes a mix of benefits and challenges that have stretched recruitment teams’ abilities in organizations of all sizes and in all sectors.
Given the changes that have taken place, what might the future recruitment look like? The following are just a few changes that are set to last:
1. Workforce Diversity and Internal Talent Development
Diverse workforce demographic mixes will continue to support the agility and flexibility needed in organisations. Recruitment teams will review business requirements and consider more comprehensive options, looking at possible internal talent moves, temporary solutions, and short-term contracts.
A key factor will continue to be cost containment, but this will be balanced by ensuring that the organisation builds the required skill-base to succeed both long and short-term. The increased focus on internal moves will also require that recruitment teams develop a closer partnership with learning and development and talent teams to leverage upskilling and succession planning.
Mapping internal talent to job vacancies will require improved recording and maintenance of employee profiles and the ability to search for critical skills and performance criteria. Data mining and AI systems will be leveraged to make the identification and selection process more robust and accurate.
Online portfolios that demonstrate performance, learning and future workforce skills may become more common and replace traditional development plans.
Recruiters can also leverage the power of existing employees to find quality applicants. Letting them know if you are actively recruiting and setting up a referral reward programme gets employees on board with your recruitment strategy.
In addition to skills diversity and internal talent promotion, the move towards remote working can give recruiters access to a broader talent pool.
Conscious or unconscious bias towards gender or race can be reduced when there is more transparency throughout the recruitment cycle, and by using technology to help promote diversity.
Using AI, data analysis and language learning, for example, software programmes that perform linguistic analysis look for words and word clusters specific to jobs. These programmes add and subtract points for “positive” and “negative” expressions so that the focus remains on the content of what the person is saying, rather than other elements such as their accent.
2. Job Descriptions
Job descriptions will move away from the fixed and siloed approach previously taken and will be based more on skill sets and performance. Recruitment teams themselves have often been the first to be re-located in their organisations during downturns in hiring. So they have experienced at first hand the need for employees to demonstrate flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to learn new skills quickly.
Jobs may also be based at various locations, with combinations of office, workspace hubs and home working becoming common. The increase in remote working demands a different approach to job descriptions. Individuals are required to plan and think for themselves and take accountability for performance and achievement of goals.
The future workplace is also likely to require more project-based and cross-functional working. Recruitment teams will need to prioritise potential and transferable skills, like problem-solving and adaptability, over the work history and technical ability to do specific tasks.
To combat the remote teams’ challenge, a focus on spelling out the details of the role with metrics and tactical goals focuses the new employee on what the organisation wants them to achieve. Employees get a more holistic view of the full value chain, cause, and effect, and how their achievements contribute to the organisation’s success. This knowledge enables autonomous decision making based on the organisation’s goals.
3. Virtual Recruiting
Many organisations were already using video interviewing and remote assessments before the pandemic, but we are now seeing end-to-end virtual recruiting processes.
Some candidates will experience a completely virtual hiring process, not setting foot in the workplace until they are onboarded, or even later. At the same time, executive-level staff will be more likely to experience a hybrid recruitment process with online screening, face to face engagement, and site visits.
Streamlining recruitment online brings cost and time savings but also introduces new challenges for recruitment teams. Key issues include the lack of human interaction and the inherent problems when technology gets in the way of effective communication. We have probably all experienced an online meeting where the system slows to a halt or even disappears altogether in mid-flow. A stilted conversation is difficult enough when you communicate with a known colleague, but much more off-putting when during an already emotive recruitment process.
Another challenge of virtual recruiting is the recruiter’s skill and ability to adapt to this way of working. Trying to run an assessment centre online can be infinitely more challenging than when done face to face. Team dynamics during screening can also be difficult to assess.
Alongside all this is the pressure on the recruiter to create and maintain a positive and engaging candidate experience and ensure that the employer brand is represented in the best possible way.
Recruiters may need to consider using technology such as chatbots to provide an online solution for candidates who have basic queries during the process, leaving themselves free to focus on more substantial engagement. Experiences with recruiters drive a candidate’s first impressions, and recruiters will need to find new ways to provide accessibility, flexibility, and empathy in their interactions.
Recruiters are uniquely positioned to bridge the organisation’s hiring needs and other key HR initiatives. They are adding diversity and inclusion, decision-making, and HR strategy to their skillsets and will bring clarity to talent data, reshaping employer branding, and fine-tuning the virtual hiring process — all in a continuous process of improvement.
Why not contact us at HRBluSky today to learn how we can support your recruitment activities.