Many of us may have not realized how much we still rely on face to face, in-person contact in order complete common yet critical tasks such as hiring new employees. In this Astronology® we discuss the challenges COVID-19 has created for recruiters, tips to acquire key talent, and current talent acquisition trends to consider.
In March 2020, thetalentboard.org surveyed HR professionals and recruiters on the impacts of COVID-19 on talent acquisition:
- 38% say the current health pandemic severely influenced their hiring plans.
- An additional 39% say the current health crisis has had a moderate impact on hiring plans.
- 55% of respondents are still hiring. Understandably, of those still hiring, 75% are scheduling more virtual interviews.
- 45% of respondents have frozen their hiring plans.
Without a doubt, all are dealing with some challenges in handling talent acquisition this year. In many consumer-based businesses, panic buying has created a demand for more customer service workers. In the health care industry, there is also a high demand for talent. Meanwhile, because of how highly transmittable the COVID-19 virus is industries such as hospitality, food service / restaurants, and travel have had to freeze hiring practices and/or lay off workers.
Whether you are slowing down, freezing, or ramping up talent acquisition, ensuring your employer brand is strong and inviting to top talent during this crisis is essential. This means recruiters must make sure that candidates have a positive experience, from start to finish.
3 Tips to Hiring High-Quality Talent During Times of Disruption
Kamal Thakarsey (VP of Employer Marketing at Handshake) wrote an article for TLNT.com outlining three ways to keep talent acquisition running during COVID-19 and other challenging times:
- Foster relationships and nurture a qualified early talent pipeline online. Thakarsey notes that during this crisis, candidates are concerned with the way your organization is handling the current crisis. They are concerned with how your business will handle the hiring and onboarding process. Be personable and candid on these issues. As mentioned in the talentboard.org survey, many organizations are addressing this issue by switching to virtual interviews. Also, make sure your email responses are personable. Correspondence that reads like a mass message can be a turn off. Remaining in contact also will build rapport.
- Make use of this time to harness and hone in on your digital employer brand. Everyone has a digital imprint. People spend time crafting their social media accounts to develop their personal brand to onlookers. It is no different for businesses. Says Thakarsey, “Acknowledge the current state we’re in and let candidates know how you’re addressing this new reality. Include information on how you are now recruiting, including virtual interviews and events, through your online profiles, and reference the status of your internship program if you have one.”
- Capture interest from qualified candidates through virtual events and interviews. Key events where recruiters would traditionally have access to a large collection of talent in-person have largely been cancelled this year due to COVID. Others have switched to digital platforms to carry their events. Thakarsey explains that employers can still garner quality candidates during these digital events by following up with attendees in the industry. The follow up can be a simple thank you note, offering to address any additional questions or directly requesting to set up an interview.
Talent Acquisition: Trends to Keep in Mind
Last month, Human Resources Today listed 7 trends in recruitment:
- Focus on Ethics and Culture. According to a 2015 / 2016 LinkedIn report, 75% of candidates research a company’s reputation before applying to a job opening. Again, employer branding is increasingly important in the war for talent. It is important that candidates see that your organization has a good reputation. Equally important is for employers and management to reflect the same organizational ethics and culture that are presented to candidates. This will ensure that high talent is retained.
- Go Niche. “Sometimes, you need to think small to find the perfect candidate for a specific position,” the article mentions. Using a niche recruitment consultant to target talent for your specific needs can help you source quality talent. With your consultant’s help you can cut down the amount of time used in pre-screening to review more qualified talent from the start.
- Understanding Candidates. “Take the time to get to know and understand each candidate instead of generalizing,” the article explains. This means during the interview process you must ask the right questions to get an idea of your candidates’ work ethics, skills, and capabilities.
- Using the Data. HR analytics has become a key piece in talent acquisition. Collecting the right data and analyzing it correctly can help organizations tremendously. Such data can help identify what type of positions are needed, how many of those positions are required, and what skills & education are necessary to be successful in the roles. This information will help recruiters narrow in talent and spend recruitment funds effectively.
- Recruiting Generation Z. 20% of the workforce in 2020 will be made up of the tech savvy Generation Z. The article notes that this generation, “relies mostly on the use of the Internet in giving them access to a wide range of knowledge and information. As such, they are more accustomed to researching things themselves instead of asking someone else for advice.” This trend is another indication that your employer branding – and specifically your digital employer branding – is especially important.
- Use an Applicant Tracking System. With more of the technology-savvy generations joining the workforce, using an applicant tracking system can attract talent and make the onboarding experience more enjoyable. Today’s applicant tracking systems are much more user-friendly, for both candidates and recruiters.
- Mobilize. Smartphones are a way of life for most of the world. 60% of job seekers use their mobile phones to search for jobs. More than 50% of them would use mobile apps to apply for such jobs. Be sure to incorporate mobile app platforms to post job positions. The paperless route of using mobile devices to apply for jobs also leads to quicker turnaround, cost reductions, and an environment-friendly office.
What are your organization’s plans for hiring in the second half of 2020? How have they changed since COVID-19? Share your experiences in the comment box below.
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