Our work lives have changed significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Recruiters need to understand the dynamics at play in today’s talent market. Here’s what’s changed:
• The Meaning Of Work: Tim Smart of U.S News & World Report suggests that people have been reevaluating the meaning of work for some time, particularly regarding work-life balance. That process has only accelerated during the pandemic.
• The Robust Expansion Of The Economy: According to findings from Indeed’s Hiring Lab, the total number of job postings on Indeed was significantly higher in December 2021 than it was in February 2020, before the pandemic.
• The Flexibility Of Remote Work: Now that people have had a taste of remote work, most don’t want to return to the office full time. In addition, job seekers are no longer limited by geography.
• Job Seekers Have Many Options: CNBC reports that job openings are increasing across disciplines in 2022.
• Increased Retirement Rates Among Baby Boomers: Boomers are over working. Jack Kelly calls it a “silver tsunami” of retirement, noting that the increased retirement rate among Boomers isn’t likely to slow.
• Concerns About Office Safety: Many are reluctant to interact with co-workers who may or may not be vaccinated.
As a result, recruiting and hiring strategies that were effective before the pandemic need adjusting. Here are five ways you can adapt to this new hiring field:
1. Personalize The Candidate Experience
Emphasis on the candidate experience and personalization is not new, but the importance is greater. Research from Gartner suggests that a more human-centered approach to employee engagement is being adopted by progressive organizations. While there is a definite trend toward automation in recruiting, the human touch remains powerful and important. Here are some ways to personalize the candidate experience:
• Develop an employment brand that will appeal to the type of candidates you want.
• Create a profile based on your top performers, including interests outside of work, and use that in targeting candidates. For example, if most of your top people enjoy outdoor sports, leverage that in targeting talent.
• Create messaging specific to each job. Messaging for a software engineering manager should be different from messaging for a UX developer, based on what will appeal to the target audience.
• Leverage social channels and references to connect directly with prospects. Most likely you’ll start with email or text, but aim to get on the phone as soon as possible with top candidates.
• Do your research on individual candidates to find out what is important to them. For example, if their Facebook page shows that they coach their child’s softball team, let them know how your company values flexibility and balance.
Personalize how you engage with prospective candidates — whatever that looks like for your company.
2. Flex On Your Requirements
Why aren’t candidates applying to your job listings? Tara Sophia Mohr of Harvard Business Review conducted a survey to find out. It turns out that people, especially women, aren’t applying because they feel like the job qualifications are too much of a reach. With so many positions available, job seekers gravitate toward “high-percentage” opportunities rather than wasting time with a scattershot approach.
You can fix this problem simply by first casting a wide net and then screening the pool. For example, instead of requiring “seven to 10 years of experience in engineering,” consider writing “solid experience in engineering.” It’s possible that someone with five years’ experience is a great fit.
3. Streamline Your Hiring And Onboarding
If your process stretches too long, you may lose candidates to a competitor who acts faster. Here are some tips:
• Establish a standard hiring process and get all stakeholders on board. The process should emphasize timeliness while also ensuring a focus on quality candidates.
• Set timelines for all stakeholders and communicate regularly to ensure everyone is keeping pace.
• Take advantage of current tools such as interview scheduling programs, automated email reminders and online pre-screen questionnaires.
• Ensure that anyone involved in the interview/selection process is coached well.
• Stay in touch with candidates and keep them informed of their progress. It’s better to explain a delay rather than leave them wondering.
Look for areas in your hiring and onboarding processes that you can innovate.
4. Offer What Candidates Want In Today’s World
Job-seeker desires and expectations have changed, and you should respond accordingly. Here are some of the key changes:
• Candidates are seeking flexibility today. Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey found that most people want the option to work from home at least part of the time.
• Compassion and understanding from supervisors are important. Emotional intelligence from managers is more important than ever as people continue to adjust to the new landscape. Limeade, a company that tracks global employee well-being, found that 40% of employees left jobs in 2021 because of burnout. Other reasons included inflexibility, a lack of appreciation/recognition and discrimination.
• Offering wellness benefits should become a top priority. Ben Laker and Thomas Roulet of MIT Sloan Management Review say that all the changes underway in the work landscape have triggered an “epidemic of burnout.” Many companies are already changing their wellness programs to better respond to pandemic needs, according to findings from SHRM.
5. Build A Talent Community
The more common term for this strategy is “pipelining,” or building a pool of potential candidates before a need opens. However, a résumé database is just the beginning. An effective talent community should resemble a social media platform that will attract and engage prospects — it’s an ongoing conversation. Here are some key steps in building a talent community:
• Forecast hiring needs and target prospects accordingly.
• Take a proactive approach and reach out to targeted prospects, including sending follow-up invitations.
• Give prospects a good reason to join your community, such as posting engaging content or offering discounts on your company’s products or services.
• Keep the platform fresh with regular updates, whether it’s company news, talent market trends, employee spotlights or other relevant information.
Focus on cultivating talent with intention.
Change Is The New Normal
Old dogs who can’t learn new tricks will not flourish in this environment. The better you understand and adapt to the changing dynamics in the talent market, the more likely you will attract, engage and hire top candidates.