Without any shadow of a doubt, COVID-19 has changed how we both work and recruit. In ways we could never have predicted, recruitment strategies across the board are pivoting, as the need for businesses to be adaptable and flexible whilst still being productive, is quickly accelerating.
Today, employment models across various sectors, in several different industries no longer look like they once did in a pre-covid world. With many businesses seeing little to no drop in both productivity and profits, many even experiencing an increased surge in demand, the hiring process has altered significantly. Naturally, this has had a profound effect on recruitment agencies and HR professionals specialising in talent acquisition.
COVID-19 could be blamed for many things, such as an impacting lack of social interaction and community involvement but whilst the job sector has suffered in parts, particularly across hospitality and tourism, other industries have boomed, with many companies and organisations reaping the benefits of a new workplace advantage.
What has changed for talent acquisition?
There's never been a better time for talent acquisition. Digitisation, smart internet and technology now carry more momentum than they ever have, and the virtual advances brought forward by the pandemic have enabled CEO's and key decision-makers to tap into talent they would have previously bypassed. Suddenly, for many businesses and recruiters both nationally and globally, talent no longer comes strapped to a location. The reality is, with enough innovation, foresight and planning, talent can often be sourced and utilised entirely remotely. Ever turned someone down for a position at your company because they lived too far away? This is fast becoming a trend of the past, as businesses begin to take advantage of talent, they once wouldn't have had access to.
Connectivity and collaboration offered through online meetings and virtual conferencing means productivity can continue to peak at maximum levels by hiring candidates from further afield. Companies that intend to keep some of their departments and employees working remotely will be able to acquire a wider range of skills, talent and expertise that aren't necessarily confined to candidates within a commutable distance to their business office.
Christina Allen, Director, Work Wales, says: "We're almost certainly seeing an uptake in employers who are keen to explore non-local talent. Providing the candidate has the demonstrated skills and expertise required for a vacant role, ultimately, location becomes a smaller piece of the bigger picture puzzle."
It's not just location that's had an impact on the recruitment sector, either, but with the demand to work the standard 9-5 becoming less a priority for business owners, skilled candidates can now be selected for perfect-fit roles and careers that can be worked flexibly. This shift has created an exciting home/work-life balance for many and is a trend we're likely to see continue.
What does this mean for recruiters?
Well, like several other industries, the recruitment hemisphere will pivot to adapt to this new way of hiring. In fact, the recruitment industry is predominantly ahead of other sectors yet to follow as they were first on the scene to meet the demand for flexibility. COVID-19 caused a wave of career disruption we've never before seen, with some industries requiring a quick supply of staff and others reducing numbers just as urgently.
Virtual conferencing will be the biggest and most useful tool for recruiters, as they become confident in interviewing and screening online. Of course, one of the biggest assets of virtual interviewing is that candidates can have these conversations with potential new employers and recruiters, quickly and easily outside of their general working hours.
Databases and portfolios of potential candidates and employees are also bolstered for recruiters as they can now whittle down talent to core competencies and suitability for roles independent of location and fixed hour working contracts. Recruitment agencies can now adapt the recruitment process to highlight potential candidates who would excel based solely on company culture fits, skills, talent and experience.
How does the future look?
It is in the hands of recruiters to change and shape the success of forward-thinking, innovative companies through reliable talent acquisition. Recruiters will need to pivot themselves as trustworthy and productive, offering opportunities for exciting and rewarding careers for those searching whilst bringing top talent to the table for potential employers.
Sophie Benyamin, Director, Work Wales says "We understand that trust is important in a careers focused industry. As a recruitment agency specialising in talent acquisition for a range of different sectors, we have needed to adapt our recruitment processes to not only assess for core competencies pre-covid, but that our candidates are also prepared and primed for remote working."
While this seems like quite the challenge, it's a task made easier now that recruiters have gained prominence in workplace sector. They were the ones to pick up the phone and have difficult conversations where required. They were also the ones to offer support, guidance and advice throughout an incredibly turbulent time for employment and career hunting. Much more than talent acquisition, recruiters have been recognised for the personal efforts they contribute to both employing businesses and potential candidates. They have been the hand-holders and go-getters, the force-drivers and talent-seekers at a time it's been needed most, and the time taken to support employment through a global crisis, will be remembered and appreciated for years to come.