The pandemic has challenged us in many ways, both personally and professionally. For companies, this has led to an entire reset of how business is done. In what has been dubbed by the media as ‘The Great Reshuffling’, the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns, has forced people to re-evaluate their lives and what the future might look like. Priorities and expectations have changed as people are discovering options they never realised were available to them.
Because of this new thinking companies are having to revise the traditional ways of doing things, including how they attract and recruit employees.
With job seekers in touch with what they want and what they value more than ever before, it is crucial for organisations to ensure they are positioning themselves accordingly so that they do not miss out on top quality candidates. In fact a survey by Gartner revealed that 65% of candidates have cut short the hiring process because they found certain aspects of the job (e.g., work-life balance, development opportunities, company culture) unattractive.
Issues faced by recruiters in a post pandemic world
COVID brought with it many unfortunate events, one being the steep rise in unemployment globally. And, although unemployment rates in most countries are still relatively high, companies are finding it difficult to recruit good candidates to fill roles. The main reason for this is that a lot of people simply don’t want to go back to what they were doing before.
This does not necessarily mean that they don’t want to go back to the job they were doing before, but more the typical working day. Getting up early to face a long commute, getting stuck after hours, having less time with family, etc. Going back to this daily grind has become a more difficult decision for many.
It’s clear that people’s expectations and priorities have changed. Remote working has placed a greater emphasis on work-life balance. Once people stepped off the hamster wheel and slowed down, in some cases perhaps for the first time, it gave people time to breathe and reassess how they have been living. The idea that a business does not necessarily have to be location dependent has opened up the doors for many to look at relocating outside of the big cities where the cost of living is cheaper and the lifestyle more relaxed.
When economies change, people have to change with it. And, with any major crisis, opportunity is also born. This is apparent from the explosion of new businesses since COVID. Rather than just go along with it and see how it pans out, some innovative people have taken matters into their own hands, recognised a space in the market and launched their own business. Whilst this should be greatly applauded, it does pose a dilemma for employers as talented candidates are taken off the market.
Another issue that is still very much apparent is that there are people who still live in fear of COVID. Though the rollout of vaccines is fantastic and we are edging closer to a greater reopening of the country, it is still a far off reality for many. COVID is not gone and with new emerging strains many people, particularly those vulnerable, are wary of stepping back into a “normal” world. This again, can have a severe impact on the recruitment process.
5 ways to attract top candidates post COVID
As we’ve already mentioned, many potential hires are becoming increasingly selective about whom they work for, so it is vital for companies to not only look at their compensation offers, but their employment value proposition as a whole. Here are 5 ways for businesses to ensure they are attracting top talent to your company:
1. Focus on job security
After COVID put many firms out of business and forced a cut in the workforce of others, job security is naturally a big concern when deciding to take on a job.
To combat this, businesses who have survived COVID need to demonstrate their strength and dominance in their field. They need to be clear in how the business survived and perhaps even thrived through COVID.
If it is a new business, then be transparent and passionate about the plans for growth, the company’s vision and where it will be in years to come. This will both encourage, excite and build trust with candidates who will be able to envisage how their expertise can help the company get to where it’s going.
2. Focus on flexibility
As discussed already, this forced shift to remote working has forever changed how we see the working world. Though remote working was not a new concept, the acceptance of this type of working environment was greatly accelerated due to COVID.
A 2021 survey conducted by Whitaker Institute saw an increase from 83% to 95%, in the past twelve months, of people who wanted to remain working remotely to some extent post pandemic.
While there will always be those who prefer to work onsite, the general consensus seems to be that businesses at the very least need to offer some flexibility when it comes to working location or working hours.
3. Focus on diversity and inclusion
2020 brought with it many social justice movements and highlighted a lacking in many companies for competent and completely diverse work practices.
It also saw several high profile people stepped down from their positions due to their view that their particular company was not doing enough in this area.
In order to attract and retain great staff, companies need to look at the culture of their organisation and where it needs improving. Building a diverse workforce is not just a feel good corporate policy. With 67% of job seekers considering workplace diversity as an important factor when contemplating employment opportunities, it’s clear that this can have a significant impact on recruitment efforts.
4. Focus on widening the talent pool
A major benefit in the rise of the remote workforce is that it increases the size of the talent pool. Candidates from further afield who may not apply for an on-site role, may be encouraged to apply for a remote or semi-remote position.
This is yet another reason why it is crucial that businesses embrace the flexibility that comes with remote working. Another factor to consider when looking to increase the talent pool, is stepping away from the traditional requirements of university education.
More and more people are acquiring critical skills informally, whether that be on the job experience or through other means such as online learning. With the eLearning space said to be worth 325billion by 2025, this is a popular option for many to learn and develop new skills and is something that should be taken into account when identifying requirements for a role.
5. Focus on continuous training and development
Filling a role is not just about making that specific role attractive, but making the idea of a role within that company extremely appealing.
Top candidates will want to know that career progression is an option. They will want to see that their potential is valued and won’t be wasted.
Companies who invest in their people and support their career goals through continuous learning and development are more likely to not only attract top candidates but keep them as well.
If the last year has taught us anything it is that we need to always be prepared to adapt. The current job market is unprecedented and the future is uncertain, and in uncertain times, it is vital to have the right people in place. Employers need to think outside the box and be open to casting aside the old way of doing things in favour of the new.