How will recruitment change following COVID‑19?

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At the start of the 2020 pandemic, recruitment wasn’t high on the list of priorities for many businesses. In fact, it was just the opposite – across the globe there were hiring freezes and the large-scale furloughing of staff. However, now that countries are coming out of the lockdown, many organisations are starting to think about recruitment once more. 


Of course, the landscape has changed significantly. Remote working, distributed workforces and a greater demand for flexibility are all factors affecting how businesses and candidates think about work opportunities. So, what lessons have been learnt from the last few months? And how will they shape the future of hiring?

1. Recognising work-from-home (WFH) skills  
 ‘WFH capabilities’ are new differentiators that recruiters must look for in potential candidates, says recruitment guru Dr John Sullivan in a recent paper, How to Hire Remote Workers. These capabilities include being purpose-driven and self-motivated and having both a large professional network and a suitable physical workspace. “In addition to the posted qualifications for any job, our research has revealed that candidates with two or more of the following capabilities have at least a 20% higher probability of excelling at remote work,” explains Dr Sullivan.

2. The appeal of a flexible workforce
Due to COVID-19, organisations will need to focus on hiring candidates for flexible roles. This shift will help companies save money by only paying people for the work needed in the moment. Yet the other benefits of hiring for flexible roles will extend far into the future. Research shows that flexible jobs help diversify teams, which, in turn, boosts a business’s bottom line. This is good news particularly for parents – especially women, BAME employees, and people who live outside cities, who might otherwise be underrepresented in an organisation.

3. Adopting new technologies

“Not only can technology eliminate the need for expensive outsourced services, it helps teams to work quickly and efficiently in a collaborative approach, whether in the office or remotely,” says Caroline Gleeson, CEO and co-founder of Occupop. “We can definitely expect to see much of the interview process moving online… and a greater utilisation of recruitment technology.”

4. Embracing virtual career fairs

Virtual careers fairs will fill the role of their physical counterparts. Candidates are sent a link to join a scheduled online event and can interact remotely with recruiters via their smartphone, tablet or PC to learn more about a specific job or opportunities using live chat or video. “Such events eliminate geographical boundaries for talent, and also remove some of the hefty costs that are associated with attending a bricks-and-mortar event,” explains an article in Recruiter.

5. Conducting interviews via video
 The interview process may continue to happen via video for a long time, so SMBs will want to get better at using it well, with more structure and hiring team coordination. It’s worth exploring more creative ways to use it during hiring, too, including for group interviews, and candidate presentations. 

6. Being flexible as a recruiter
 To be truly flexible, SMBs will need to make smart, fast hires in order to fill short-term roles at the pace of demand. There may also be more instances where they need to assess whether a long-term or short-terms hire is the best call.  There’s a reason many businesses will look to use flexible office space to hold meetings and interviews. A recent poll by North American HR firm Robert Half found that 97% of the international business leaders surveyed agreed that adopting a more flexible approach to recruitment would bring overwhelming benefits. 


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