<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1334192293361106&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

The pandemic has proven to be a challenge for all of us and changed the way we do business. Its repercussions put human resources (HR) professionals at the forefront to help guide us through deploying remote work strategies and technologies that would enable business to continue. It placed new demands and proved to be a historic change agent as recruiting and onboarding processes went virtual, and the remote workforce became the norm for many.

We sat down with two Recruiting Subject Matter Experts, one from AltaFlux and one from VidCruiter, to ask them about the impact of the pandemic on recruiting, how companies have adapted and what trends are here to stay.

How Has the Recruiting & Candidate Experience Changed?

According to CNBC's article, there are currently about 1 million more job openings than there are people looking for work. The pandemic, along with trends like The Great Resignation, has created several challenges for recruiters in what is currently considered a candidate's market. As companies adjust to a remote style of hiring and working, we're seeing the following trends unfold.

Companies Will Emphasize Internal Hiring

While internal hiring is not a new concept or strategy, we can see companies are putting a stronger emphasis on internal hiring for many reasons. From a strategic standpoint, it eliminates many of the hurdles of recruiting an external candidate. The time to get an internal candidate alone makes the case for internal hiring. The cost to hire/promote from within is pennies on the dollar compared to sourcing and hiring externally. On top of all that, filling roles internally first, can have a positive impact on engagement and reduce turnover. Organizations will continue to leverage this and it will become an even bigger initiative post-pandemic.

Recruiters Will (Continue to) Expand Skill Sets

Recruiters have always had to wear many hats and have had a larger responsibility than “just recruiting.” Now more than ever they have had to lean in and be ready to adapt to fill jobs.

Recruiters have become marketing experts. Over the last 18 months, recruiters have navigated virtual events and are exploring new ways of marketing jobs in non-traditional ways, so they’ve had to do things that may not have always been in their wheelhouse, like writing email blasts and sending email campaigns. They have had to design and create materials for the public where in the past this may have been a function of the marketing department.

Recruiters have also become DE&I specialists. Diversity has become even more important post pandemic, as candidates are taking a hard look at organizations’ efforts and commitment before they accept an offer. Recruiters may find themselves talking more about diversity and inclusion with candidates than ever before. They are also taking on more of an advisory role with hiring managers and educating on the importance of a diverse candidate pool and diverse interview panel.

Last, recruiters have become process improvement experts. For those recruiters who found themselves scaling back on their recruitment efforts, many may have begun to look more closely at their processes and the reason for doing certain things. They are potentially looking to eliminate waste in their processes and determine what must change going forward.

Texting in the Interviewing Process

It's all about candidate experience. Meeting candidates where they are and communicating with them in a convenient way will increase the chances of them completing the interview process. Why should your recruiting process differ than any other retail or customer experience? By adding text to the interview process shows you’re committed to providing the best candidate experience and up to date on the latest technology trends (which could be a criterion for some candidates in deciding on where they want to work).

Virtual Hiring/Virtual Career Fairs

It’s no longer necessary for candidates and recruiters alike to attend hiring events in person. Booths for in-person interviews can be replicated by pre-recorded video interviews and live video interviews. Though we don’t believe that virtual hiring fairs will replace in-person events, they will exist as an alternative. Virtual hiring fairs eliminate the need for travel, removing any logistical boundaries and time zone conflicts those prospective candidates may face. In turn, companies can hire for a large number of positions all over the country (and beyond) in a single hiring event.

Video Interviewing

Video interviewing isn’t new – it’s been around for about 20 years – but it’s certainly seen an uptick in usage since the outbreak of COVID-19. In April 2020 (one month into the pandemic), 86% of companies were conducting job interviews via video conference, and many continue to utilize it even though some employees are returning to the office. People are far more inclined to use video platforms for professional purposes, as thanks to COVID-19, everyone and their grandmother knows how to use Zoom. And, unlike their predecessor (the telephone interview), video interviews allow candidates to express themselves through non-verbal cues, such as smiling and eye contact, giving them a better chance of connecting with the recruiter.

Ultimately, video interviews remain popular because of their convenience. They eliminate lengthy travel times, they’re affordable, and they allow recruiters to connect with candidates regardless of their location. Pre-recorded video interviews (or one-way interviews) additionally allow candidates to interview at their convenience – recruiters can then watch their recorded answers around their schedule. There are many benefits of video interviewing for all parties involved, and it’s likely that companies will continue to adopt this form of interviewing within their hiring process.

How Can You Improve Your Chances of Attracting & Hiring the Best Candidates?

Be Upfront with Your Stance on Remote or Hybrid Work

With remote becoming the standard the past 18+ months, it's hard to get employees back in the office. Companies may have to shift their mindset and policies to be more flexible and accommodate a remote or hybrid approach. While certain industries like retail, manufacturing, healthcare, etc. don't always have the flexibility for all positions to be remote, think about the ways you can offer other incentives to attract qualified candidates if remote work is not an option. A few examples include more PTO days, wellness incentives, flexible schedules just to name a few.

Look Beyond the Job Boards

Be proactive in your searching! Leverage referrals, social networks, and networking events (although those may continue to be virtual for a little while longer). Maybe more importantly than these other things, mine your own applicant tracking system (ATS). You may have a treasure trove of candidates who have previously knocked on your door - take advantage of that goldmine! Your perfect candidate could already exist in your own database.

Revamp Your Perks and Benefits

We alluded to this before when we said be upfront with your stance on remote and hybrid work. What does your organization offer employees that is a special benefit? Do you have a relationship with retailers, restaurants, and small businesses in the area that offer your employees discounts? Do you have an on-site fitness center or perhaps an on-site healthcare clinic? If employees must be in the office, what incentives do you have that make the situation easier or more fun for them? A competitive salary and benefits package are table stakes these days. Going beyond that will ensure you’re staying ahead of competitors who may be attracting candidates with various perks.

Share the Intended Career Path for Each Role

Candidates (and existing employees) want to know what potential exists for growth within your organization. Share your commitment to promoting from within and the opportunities that can become available. This shows potential hires that you are committed to their growth and development and will encourage them to stay with your organization when they are ready for the next step.

Improve the Candidate Experience

Due to the employee shortage, candidates can demand more – even within the interviewing process. It’s likely that their initial interactions with your company will determine whether they continue to pursue the job position. Improve your chances by making their experience as seamless and informative as possible. Use convenient tools such as automated scheduling, so candidates can schedule their own meeting (based on your teams’ availability, of course). Utilize automation so the candidate is getting an immediate response at every stage of the interview process. And consider sharing more about your company from a “behind the scenes” viewpoint to give the candidate a better idea of what it’s like to work at your company. With some video platforms, employers can add personalized videos about the role, or even record themselves asking questions during a pre-recorded video interview.

What Role Does Technology Play in the Recruitment Process Moving Forward?

Applicant Tracking System + CRM Capabilities

These days, an applicant tracking system with CRM capabilities is a bare minimum. With so many things being done remotely, a paper-based process will not be effective. So if you are just beginning your technology transformation journey an applicant tracking system is a must-have.

Applicant Empowerment

It’s no longer necessary for recruiters to control the entire hiring process. By empowering an applicant to “choose” their own hiring experience, it demonstrates the candidate’s convenience is important to your company. Virtual hiring options allow a lot more flexibility and choice. For example, a candidate can interview from wherever they’re comfortable. Additionally, tools such as automated scheduling and pre-recorded video interviewing allow candidates to choose when to interview around their schedule. Some companies even allow candidates to choose whether they’d like to interview in-person, via a pre-recorded video interview or a live video interview.

Best Practices in Video Interviewing

A candidate’s video interviewing experience has evolved beyond simply being sent a link to a virtual “meeting room”. Nowadays, recruiting platforms have tools to ensure the candidate is set up for success and the process is personable. It’s now considered best practice to include a pre-interview tech check and information on what the candidate can expect from the interview. As everything is online, it’s expected that communication is extremely prompt, which also helps to keep the candidate engaged. Reminder emails and ‘thank you’ emails can be automated, so they’re sent in a timely manner, every time.

Job Preview Simulation

Part of the interview process can simulate the working environment the candidate would work in. Skills testing style interviews are now much more than a simple multiple-choice test. With a digital skills testing solution, recruiters can test for a variety of different skills, assessing things such as Excel knowledge, typing speeds, RFP simulations, coding, script reading, and much more.

While the pandemic forced many organizations to drastically change their approach to recruiting talent, we would argue the changes were inevitable and necessary to keep up with the ever-evolving and competitive talent landscape. If you've made adjustments to your recruiting processes, pat yourselves on the back and keep up the good work! If you are still contemplating whether these trends will remain post-pandemic, the answer is for the most part, yes. Review your current processes, and if you identify room for improvement, make small and incremental changes that will improve your candidate experience.

Need recommendation on how to better your candidate experience? Schedule a quick call with our Recruiting Solution Experts. We'd be happy to learn about your process and provide guidance on where to start.

SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting Management Demo