2020 was a transformational year across the board, but especially when it comes to job market trends and hiring practices. The pandemic created barriers to in-person interviewing and relocating forcing companies to adapt and implement new practices. There are positives, though, to the new virtual environment. In fact, an Employment BOOST poll of manufacturing, supply chain, and technology recruiters indicates that there has never been a better time to interview for a new job. Why? The control a job seeker has of the interviewing environment in a virtual world.
In addition to the advantages of virtual interview, here are just a few ways that COVID changed recruiting strategies this past year and what’s likely to remain post-pandemic.
Increased WFH and Telecommuting Opportunities
The first major change to the workday with the pandemic was the large switch to working from home (WFH) for most office positions. While there are a lot of positives to come from this change, there are also a lot of struggles. Probably the most difficult aspect of the transition was the blurred lines that formed between personal and professional life. Parents were now having to work will in the same rooms as their children are doing school online. And without the commute boundaries, workers are finding they are less able to distinctly transition between work and home life.
However, there are some benefits as the lack of commute effectively decreases the amount of time during the day dedicated to work. Also, the decrease in office space means less cost on companies and they can use those additional funds elsewhere to promote positive company culture. While this may not last past the pandemic in its entirety, increased remote work options and more flexible office schedules will likely remain for many companies.
Virtual Recruitment and Interviewing
Since office space is dwindling and WFH policies are increasing, recruitment and interviewing processes have also taken a digital turn. In-person interviews are switching to video calls and job fairs at universities have become job fairs on LinkedIn. In-person recruitment and interviews have a lot of benefits including more accurate screening and greater ability to read body language.
However, the change to virtual recruiting allows for greater flexibility that will carry over post-COVID as this allows for easier scheduling of interviews and is less costly, especially for positions that would require relocation. While not all recruitment efforts will remain digital in the future, the pandemic sped up the adaption of technology in the interviewing process which will continue going forward.
Competitive Globalized Job Market
The switch to WFH and virtual recruiting has greatly widened the available candidate pool for recruiters. Now instead of searches being limited to the local area or a specified radius, companies can look to hire individuals from across the country, or even globally. While this won’t be possible for all jobs, positions that are permanently being moved to WFH can look to increase their candidate pool by removing locational barriers for the position. This will allow some markets to become more competitive over time as the applicant pool expands and allow companies to hire more specialized talent.
The added effect of the disparity of unemployment rates across industries will allow companies to adapt better to their hiring needs. For openings in high unemployment markets, this will increase competition for the position and let companies find better suited candidates. However, for industries with low unemployment rates, as these markets are already competitive, increasing the globalization of the candidate pool will let companies fill those harder to hire positions that may not have local applicants.
Increased Internal Hiring and Promotions
While technology has allowed companies to maintain recruiting and hiring while limiting in-person interactions, the process can feel foreign and tedious to begin to implement. These companies will look inward to have greater internal hiring and promotions to fill positions, especially as hiring slows within certain companies. Given these individuals have already had the benefit of interacting with the company, this reduces the uncertainty that not being able to conduct in-person interviews can bring.
Another benefit of increased internal hiring is reduced onboarding costs for the company. As the candidate already understands the business as a whole and standard HR onboarding, training will primarily focus on the specialized tasks for the new position. While hiring may need to occur to fill the position the individual left, the onboarding is likely to still be less than hiring directly at the higher level.