The Future of Recruiting – What Employers Need to Focus on

The Future of Recruiting – What Employers Need to Focus on

    The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted many of our traditional business practices. When it comes to recruitment, we have seen accelerated shifts in the talent landscape that were already under way, leaving many organisations struggling to fill roles with their current hiring practices. As new positions and the demand for talent both continue to rise, competition is fierce and, in these ongoing uncertain times, attracting and retaining the right people is more important than ever.

    Research by HR software firm Personio found that 4 in 10 employees (38%) in the UK and Ireland were planning to change roles in the next 6 to 12 months. This figure was even higher for tech workers (58%), thus highlighting the need for employers to prioritise their people or risk paying the price.

    A study from Gartner identified three key trends that are making it imperative to rethink traditional recruitment tactics.

    1.  Skills requirements are evolving faster than ever before.

    The skills needed in many roles have an increasingly short shelf life, owing in part to fast-moving, disruptive technology. A survey of 3,500 managers found that only 29% of new hires have all the skills required 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. It also highlights rising uncertainty about what skills will be needed in current and future jobs as the surge in remote work sparks the redesign or automation of many tasks.

    2.  Candidate expectations have changed.

    Candidates have become much more selective about who they work for, so companies need a strong employer brand and compelling Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

    Talented candidates, particularly at a senior level, are weighing opportunities differently. Factors such as meaningful work and proximity to family have taken on added importance during the pandemic. The freedom to work remotely and have more flexibility with working hours has increased employees’ expectations that they can have more control over the design of their jobs. Companies must be able to offer employee experiences that candidates truly value.

    3.  Traditional talent pools are becoming obsolete.

    The talent pools recruiters have routinely tapped into are becoming obsolete, and highly skilled candidates can now be found outside these traditional clusters. More people are upskilling informally on the job - or even in their spare time. Furlough and redundancies have led to a rise in virtual learning, giving workers new autonomy in developing skills outside of their day job.

    To adjust to this changing landscape and build the workforces they need, companies should focus on 4 key areas:

    Hire for potential, not experience

    Companies need to move away from seeing hiring as a matter of replacing specific employees. When looking to fill a vacancy, too often managers simply put together a profile mirroring that of the person who has left, perhaps adding in a few new requirements. At best, this brings candidates who are prepared for yesterday’s challenges but probably not ready for tomorrow’s.
    In a skills short market, employers should place more emphasis on personal attributes and transferable skills, interviewing to uncover potential, and thereby paving the way for future success.

    By looking beyond traditional talent pools, they are able to recruit more diversely by targeting the “total skills market” - looking at in-house talent with suitable skills, candidates with self-taught skills, and people in wider geographical locations (with remote and hybrid working options becoming the norm for many).

    Build a strong employer brand and EVP (employee value proposition)

    As business brands help to engage customers, employer brands ensure companies can attract the right talent.

    Recruitment is fast becoming more like marketing, as candidates do detailed research into their potential employer (e.g. the culture, the learning & development opportunities, career progression and stories of other employees within the business and their experiences of working there), as they seek to understand what they will get in return. Employers must therefore give as much thought to their own presentation as applicants give to their CVs and cover letters. Our recent blog on Employer Branding looks at actionable ways to build a strong employer brand.

    Today, you need more than the right salary to attract the best talent; you also need a brand that conveys company culture, specific values and a clear vision for the future.

    The hiring processes that attract talent today are the ones that are streamlined, prioritise honesty, transparency and trust. Companies need a fast-paced, tech-savvy and diverse approach to finding new candidates. Hiring the right recruitment partner to help with this process is often the best way to ensure you're giving your candidates the experience they want.

    Ensure a positive candidate experience

    A slow recruitment process and a failure to communicate will absolutely damage your chances of attracting talent.

    Ask any job seeker if they’ve had a bad recruiting experience at some point and the answer will probably be “yes.” Delivering a poor recruiting experience does far more damage than simply give one candidate a negative impression of your company. It can cause lasting reputational harm and even hurt your chances of hiring those candidates who are hardest to find.

    Give every candidate a great experience, even those who aren’t offered a position. Communicate frequently at all stages of the hiring process. Let them know when they’re no longer in the running and why. Even if you choose not to hire someone, you still want to give them a good impression of your business to help preserve a positive reputation among job seekers.

    Meanwhile, work to address the frustration factor of a lengthy process. Look at ways to streamline and accelerate some administrative parts of the process through automations or AI. Whenever possible, give candidates a clear timeline from the beginning.

    A good candidate experience leaves even rejected candidates with a positive perception of your company. It’s important to make sure current and future candidates view you as a reputable employer with a trustworthy recruitment process.

    Work with a specialist recruiter to identify the candidates you want

    The abundance of roles and lack of candidates sees some companies feel the need to cast the net wide with recruiters. However, this is a false economy. Candidates are becoming increasingly disengaged by multiple contact from different recruiters about the same roles. Therefore, if you want to fill your hard to fill jobs, you need to work with a trusted recruitment partner; one who can help tell your story, positively represent your employer brand, manage the process effectively and who isn’t afraid to be honest with you about your expectations.

    A recruitment company worth their salt should be providing you with regular market intelligence and you shouldn’t only hear from them when you have a requirement to fill.

    Importantly, a specialist recruiter will give you access to ‘passive talent’ which you may otherwise be unable to reach.

    Final thoughts...

    The pandemic has challenged companies to rethink traditional ways of doing business and has provided an opportunity to reform recruiting practices.

    Finding the right talent to join your team is a constant challenge, and the reality is that it won’t get easier any time soon. The evolving skills needed in today’s working environment, shifting employee expectations and a shortage of people with in-demand skills means companies must do more to attract and retain the talent they need to remain competitive and ensure long term success.

    If you would like an external viewpoint on your current hiring practices, or to find out more about how we can support your organisation in recruiting right-fit talent, then we’d love to chat to you. Please contact our friendly team on 0131 524 9623 or email us at