In some ways, I’d suggest that great recruitment practices will endure – even in a COVID-19 world. But there are a few things we can do to ensure our resourcing activities are robust enough to maximise our chances of recruiting the best talent.

Before you get started

Yet I’ll begin with a warning. There is much talk that this is a buyer’s market – and that all you have to do is advertise and the best talent will come flocking. This is a flawed outlook. Firstly, not everyone currently (and unfortunately) out of work is talent. Nor are they automatically good fits for your company. Secondly, the current climate is not one to find people leaving an established role – well, not all of them anyway. Not in the way they might if things were stable. And finally, the mind-set of a buyer’s market is that you can pick and choose and get away with paying less than you usually would. People have long memories and might join you for the short-term, but may be prepared to jump ship when the market settles and they remember any sharp-practices in hiring them.

The market today

As a rule, fewer roles are being advertised – which might indicate that previously mentioned state-of-affairs – but I hope by now, you’ll keep away from the pitfalls of such an outlook. Recruiting has not dried up and businesses still need to attract talent, but they now realise they must make every new hire count. Churn is not a sensible option right now.

It’s a remote process

With restrictions impacting most countries (if not all) and remote work gaining both short-term and longer-term favour, it makes sense to turn your recruitment practices 100% digital.

The key here is to differentiate between the high-value and low-value activities. Let a system take care of the latter (and if your HR systems don’t have them as part of the suite, you need to find a SaaS solution).

81% of job seekers say that they want companies to communicate the status of their application more frequently and 51% said that the lack of communication was their number one frustration with the job search

For example, do you still manually schedule interviews? Software can offer one or more time-slots to candidates according to the availability you determine. Use video-calls to short-list and interview. Record them (with the interviewee’s permission of course) and you’ve actually improved the selection process. As well as reviewing responses, additional stakeholders can view the interview.

Choosing the best candidate

Surely nothing new here right? Possibly. Candidate expectations have changed. More and more talent does not want to simply find a job. They want to work for an organisation whose values match their own. So, what does your careers site say about you? Do you even have one? Does it drone on about performance and skip aspects like the candidate’s likely future and the corporate culture? Does it share insights from current employees (and not just one short video shot six years ago).

How does this ensure you choose the best candidate? Well, the rub is, you want to be able to select the best talent available, not just the best that was prepared to apply (and endure the recruitment process).

The forgotten talent pool

It is invariably overlooked when it comes to recruitment, but any organisation worth its salt has a significant talent pool to draw from – its current employees. If not, then you have bigger problems than your recruitment process (although some of the problem will stem from it, I assure you).

Given recruitment is an artificial process, sourcing from known quantities is surely a plus? And if you’re wondering why I refer to resourcing as fake, just think about it. In an hour, you will have made a decision that is supposed to be good enough to invest in a new hire over. In that hour, you will have evaluated the person’s values, integrity, work performance, how they act under pressure, how they’ll fit in with the company, with their team etc. etc.

At best, an interview is like a cup competition. Whoever has the best 90-minutes gets the job. But we’ve seen cup upsets all too often. But how regularly does an underdog win the league (over forty or so games?). Existing hires are known quantities (and you are aware of their flaws) – but never assume the wonderful interviewee comes with zero baggage and had no development needs. Answering an interview question is somewhat different to performing the task.

And I haven’t even touched the subject of lower costs.