Post-pandemic recruitment strategies – time to re-think?

Business 10th May 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused business owners to look afresh at numerous traditional practices … and recruitment is no exception. Pre-pandemic, the talent landscape was already evolving, but the disruptions of the last 14 months have accelerated this evolution. In order to keep up, we all need to be aware of the urgent need to evolve our hiring practices. These are uncertain times, and the need to bring on the right people is more important than ever.

Research and advisory firm, Gartner, have analysed these changes in the workforce landscape and set out a road map for navigating the new one. The researchers highlighted two trends that are rendering conventional recruitment strategies obsolete.

  1. Skills with a short shelf life
    Partly thanks to more frequent technological breakthroughs, skills have an increasingly short shelf life. 3,500 managers surveyed in 2019 found that only 29% of new hires have the skills needed for their current roles, let alone for future ones. The research finds that in key functions such as finance, IT, and sales, positions filled today will require up to 10 new skills within 18 months.
  2. Outmoded talent pools
    The usual sources for successful recruitment are no longer what they were. The traditional talent pools, such as universities and technical colleges, are becoming outmoded. Increasingly people are learning critical skills informally on the job – or even at home. Furlough and redundancies have generated a surge in remote learning. This is proving disruptive, most noticeably in the hospitality sector, where post-lockdown recruitment is proving especially challenging. The kitchen and waiting staff have been laid off the longest and have been re-skilling in other unrelated areas.
  3. Candidates are becoming more picky
    Candidates are increasingly choosy about who they work for. We need to be more aware than ever before about attracting candidates with a compelling employment value proposition. This could involve anything from competitive compensation and benefits to career development opportunities. These days the more switched-on candidates, particularly at higher levels, tend to assess career opportunities differently. They are more likely to take into account factors such as how meaningful the work is or how far they will be expected to travel. Post pandemic, proximity to family has taken on increased importance. Other increasingly important factors include the freedom to work from home and to manage one’s own schedule.

How should this change how we approach recruiting?

Hire, not for experience, but for potential

We need to begin by questioning our assumptions about the types of workers we need and where to find them. Maybe we should be focusing less, when we hire, on CVs and more on skills and attitudes. Traditionally, when an employee leaves, we need to think more strategically. Previously, we might have said, “Right, let’s look for a replacement candidate with the same credentials as the one who’s left”. Instead, shouldn’t we be saying, “Forget the job title. Let’s think about the objectives of the role and the skills required to achieve them.”?

  1. Tailor our recruitment strategy
    We need to carefully tailor our recruitment approach and communications to the position. We need to understand that an engineer cares about different things than a sales manager. We should also discuss with candidates our company ethos. Whether we’re corporate or the smallest of SMEs, it’s equally vital to take on people who understand, share and are prepared to help foster our values.
  2. Take a step back
    We should increasingly look beyond the short-term needs of our business. We need to think of the wider picture. Our first question shouldn’t be ‘Who do we need?’ Better to ask, ‘What do we need?’ We need to get a handle on our long-term talent gaps.

We should think less about looking at academic degrees, certifications, and formal experience. Instead, we should be casting our eye over the ‘total skills market’, including looking at in-house talent with adjacent skills, candidates whose skills are self-taught, and, particularly with the prevalence of remote work, candidates in different geographic locations. These approaches can cut costs and boost diversity.

Taking a fresh view

For more on keeping up to date with effective post-pandemic recruitment strategies, talk to us at Gravitas HR.

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