recruitment reflections

Reflections on recruitment in 2020 – what’s changed, what’s working and what’s needed

Your people are key to the fightback against COVID-19, but the hiring market has never experienced a period like this. But when you need to fill vital roles – it can be difficult to navigate and plan ahead in this new normal. We reflect on what you need to do to ensure you get the right people, in the right roles, in the right timeframes.

The COVID-19 pandemic is quickly changing how organisations are attracting, engaging and recruiting candidates – particularly at middle manager level. It’s these experts in delivery who are manning the front-line of fightback. They’ll be key in responding to the recovery period when we come out of lockdown.

Where some organisations have implemented a hiring freeze for now, we have clients progressing with their recruitment online as they need these vital leaders and specialists through and beyond Covid; and in sectors such as emergency response and retail we have clients with increased and immediate need for staff.   

Recruiting now means working with an unprecedented and volatile employment market. If you’ve got urgent managerial or specialist positions to fill, here’s some tips on how to do so in these unusual circumstances. 

1. It’s a whole new world

The recruitment market has been turned on its head since COVID-19 started dominating headlines. Digital really is the only way forward now, and it’s simply not possible to recruit solely via job sites.

To tempt individuals into a new role in this uncertain time, as well as needing to make your candidate targeting as effective as ever, you need to have a strong job spec and a great employment offer. Your ability to reach high calibre candidates is paramount, your sense of self needs to be strong, your employer brand on point and your values credibly demonstrated to your candidate pool. You’ve also got to have a fantastic online recruitment and on-boarding process. 

2. Make everything digital

Digitalisation and ‘remote’ is the new norm. Nowhere is this truer than in recruitment. From stepping-up approaches on LinkedIn, to using a systematic and technology aided approach to job boards, to building a strong candidate management system, to facilitating online interviews and on-boarding.

The Sourcing approach offers a more digital and remote ‘non face-to-face’ approach, utilising technology to reach and engage candidates for middle management and hard-to-fill roles. It’s important to be well placed to help with navigating the current circumstances and are able to move at speed.

3. Agility is everything right now, and will be later too

It’s likely your current resourcing needs are very pressing but you haven’t the personal or organisational capacity to action them, or they aren’t a high priority right now.  

But when we start returning to normal, speed of response will be critical. Your organisation will likely need to be firing on all cylinders ASAP. And there’s going to be an eager candidate pool with a lot of roles to choose from. You need to do all you can to make sure they choose your role.

Get ready to be agile and digital with your hiring, we’ve seen an increase in clients wanting to secure affordable end-to-end support to help with capacity issues. 

4. Candidates have changed, they want something different from you

Between February and March, employer confidence in the economy plunged by 22 percentage points, according to the specially commissioned COVID-19 REC Jobs outlook survey.

This emergency has forced change, both in the world at large and in recruitment too. Candidates want to see tangible examples of strong employer brands coming out of this period. Are you demonstrably living your company values, culture, and how you have been making a difference.  

Candidates also want to see stress-free, digital and straightforward recruitment processes and a high-touch approach to communication. So, are you making life easy for your candidate pool? Are you staying in touch, even if you’re not hiring? Those that reach out now, will be front of mind later.

5. Strong responders are thinking long as well as short-term

It’s essential to work with your clients to help them get ahead of the game and maintain the delivery of vital services and projects. That means providing resourcing solutions for them quickly.

When normality returns, we’re likely to have a strong pool of candidates in the market. You need to be ready with your roles and employability offer to scoop up the best people. Our advice is to map out what you might need, people-wise, whenever you are able to.  The attractiveness of the public sector will be strong – the time is right to seek transferable skills.


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