This article was first published in TALiNT International
"At a time of uncertainty, there is even more of a need to manage the expectations of candidates, keeping them continually up to date on the latest information regarding their role to try to make the process as stress-free and easy as possible."
Stuart Bell, CEO and Founder, Robertson Bell
The actions businesses are making now will impact their ability to attract and retain talent as we come out of the COVID-19 crisis. What will your pandemic legacy be?
Whilst hiring may be somewhat muted at the moment, as we come out of the crisis, there will be roles that will need to be filled and candidates will once again look to move. What will be different from the last couple of years is that there will be more candidates on the market looking for work. Many of these workers will be highly skilled, providing recruiters and employers with more choice.
“For the last decade, the industry has been working with a very candidate-driven market – until the COVID-19 crisis hit and transformed the market virtually overnight!” says Wendy McDougall, CEO and founder of Firefish Software.
More candidates, however, doesn’t simply mean more opportunity. With higher numbers of applications comes the potential for poorer recruitment experiences. While there may be more choice for employers, this does not mean that candidates can be treated as a commodity. They still need to be treated as individuals and receive regular communications and updates.
Plus, businesses need to be doing the work now to ensure they’re an employer of choice post-crisis. With more time to review the market, candidates are focusing on how businesses are treating staff and clients now, which will influence decisions later. For those not taking the candidate experience and employee wellbeing seriously, the damage may cause longer lasting hiring effects.
As Resource Solutions’ global marketing director, Adam Shay, highlights, “The pandemic has emphasised the need for organisations to be humanising their brands and connecting with candidates on a personal level. Even in the buyer’s market to come, brands that want to seize the initiative will still need to attract the best talent.”
Shay, however, does highlight that it’s not only companies that need to be working on securing the best talent, candidates also need to be working now to try and secure roles with companies they want to work for. “Candidates will need to engage with employer brands more closely than ever,” he stresses. “To be in the best position for whenever the post-pandemic world begins, candidates need to be developing relationships with the brands they aspire to work with – and doing so right now.”
Most companies have been investing in tech as they moved to work remotely. "Our recent survey found that 74 per cent of the 1,889 organisations surveyed have implemented a virtual interview and recruitment process, with most moving quickly to onboard these virtual hiring tools," reveals Charlotte Schaller, MD of Aon's Assessment Solutions UK.
There is also likely to be a move towards more investment in technology to support hiring and the candidate experience.
“If there is now an increased reliance on tech, then this tech must have much more personality, branding and subtlety,” explains Andy Randall, CEO of eArcu. “Candidates will not have the patience to spend time with clunky, inconsistent and inappropriate tools.”
The technology a company uses will also need to be able to help review applications and sift through candidates. As Wendy McDougall, CEO and founder of Firefish Software, highlights, individuals need to be meeting the technology halfway.
“The focus will be in setting up highly-targeted talent pools that sift out the candidates within your database who boast even the most niche skills and experience that you’re looking for and maximising on any job-matching features available to you,” she says.
“But in order to do this effectively, your recruitment database will need to give a true and up-to-date picture of every candidate on your system. And it goes without saying thatnow is the time to get on top of this! Use any downtime you have now to get your database cleaned up, and you will come out the other side of all this with a serious advantage.”
Keep up Communication
What hasn’t changed during this crisis is candidates’ desire for regular communication.
“The significance of communication to the candidate experience has not lessened. We have noticed that, at a time of uncertainty, there is even more of a need to manage the expectations of candidates, keeping them continually up to date on the latest information regarding their role to try to make the process as stress-free and easy as possible,” reveals Stuart Bell, CEO and founder of Robertson Bell.
“Throughout the past few weeks, our consultants have shown serious empathy and understanding to all involved in the recruitment process. This is hugely important as for many candidates, removing the in-person interaction associated with the traditional recruitment process is a daunting prospect.”
While the future may be uncertain, candidates will, at some point, begin looking for roles again. It may well be a jobs-led, rather than candidate-led market, for the next few years, but that doesn’t detract from the role and responsibilities that hirers have when it comes to looking after candidates and providing them with the best possible experience.
For more insights on how businesses can respond to the current pandemic, including stakeholder communication, health and benefits impacts and business continuity planning, please see Aon’s COVID-19 Response Site here.
Disclaimer: This document has been provided as an informational resource for Aon clients and business partners. It is intended to provide general guidance on potential exposures, and is not intended to provide medical advice or address medical concerns or specific risk circumstances. Due to the dynamic nature of infectious diseases, Aon cannot be held liable for the guidance provided. We strongly encourage visitors to seek additional safety, medical and epidemiological information from credible sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. As regards insurance coverage questions, whether coverage applies or a policy will respond to any risk or circumstance is subject to the specific terms and conditions of the insurance policies and contracts at issue and underwriter determinations.
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