What happens when we all start hiring again?

Most of us have been through economic crises before. We know that things will adapt and that hiring will eventually bounce back. Even so, the shock ripping through the recruitment world is scary and the exit path from this recession is a lot less obvious.

  • In the US, 110 successive months of job growth has been replaced by 36 million jobless claims in a matter of weeks.
  • In Europe, over a million companies have rushed to claim state subsidies for reimbursement of wages to cover lost revenues.
  • The vast majority of in-house recruiters and talent acquisition teams are currently furloughed or unemployed.

But what happens when we start hiring again?

I’ve taken this question to high volume recruitment leaders over the past few weeks and here are the most commonly predicted effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the recruitment market

  1. Applicant volumes will increase to record levels
  2. Role profiles will need recalibrating
  3. The CV will finally die for volume hiring
  4. More companies will experiment with ‘Open Hiring’
  5. More free job boards
  6. Employer reputation will replace employer brand
  7. Increased adoption of new technologies

1. Applicant volumes will increase to record levels

Hiring in the context of near full employment is a very different game than hiring in the context of 20% or even 30% unemployment. This monumental shift will cause a massive eruption in the number of job applications. We’ve already seen it with Tesco’s attracting over half a million job applications in just a few days. As some industries recover more quickly than others, it’s reasonable to expect applicants to attempt to cross-skill into jobs in thriving sectors. Assessment screening tools and technologies will become essential tools to help get applications down to a manageable number for recruitment teams to handle.

Source: https://www.tribepad.com/research-and-data/covid-19-drives-surge-in-job-applications-to-retailers/

This image from ATS provider Tribepad shows a 3,900% increase in applicant volumes for retail jobs since March 19th 2020.

2. Role profiles will need recalibrating

Many of the jobs we recruited for before this crisis will not be the same afterwards. Changes in work flexibility, health protocols and business priorities will require that existing models of what to look for in new hires will need to be re-designed. Job specs will need assessing against the backdrop of the ‘new normal’, from a capability, commitment and work culture perspective. Recruiters have a great opportunity to involve managers and get their buy-in and involvement at this stage to avoid misalignment down the road.

3. The CV will finally die for volume hiring

The CV has always been a poor predictor of performance but as the fear of long term unemployment kicks in, recruiters will find themselves overwhelmed with applications from candidates looking to switch industries. Candidates will be skilled, ready and able but recruiters won’t be able to distinguish who to progress based on the CV alone. CV parsing tools that use keywords will be ineffective so recruiters will need to adjust to new, more reliable and more efficient ways of screening particularly for lower level, high-volume roles.

4. More companies will experiment with ‘Open Hiring’

We’ve known for a while that interviews are broken. Open hiring is the concept of hiring with no questions asked. That means no interviews, no background checks, less bias. Instead, companies invest the money spent on recruitment into training and onboarding. It was pioneered by Greyston bakeries and companies including the Body Shop had adopted it and seen a decrease in staff turnover by 60% for their distribution centre jobs before the Coronavirus crisis hit. Open hiring is also a highly efficient way to recruit, taking just a few days to go from applicant to new starter. Expect a more moderate, blended version of open hiring to emerge; where companies combine a robust pre-hire assessment to filter candidates with extensive onboarding and training as we quickly look to refill jobs post-recession.

Here’s an intro to Open Hiring: https://youtu.be/zkMpuyHxj50

5. More free job boards

Many free-to-post job boards have sprung up overnight to help connect affected workers with companies still hiring. They won’t disappear overnight. Some of these job boards are owned by recruiters who want to grow their candidate databases, of course, but interestingly, many have been launched by companies concerned about their customers losing their jobs. Anyone displaced will look favourably upon the brand that helped them land a new job and take their product or service to their new employer. Customer job boards may become an essential part of a recruiter’s attraction toolkit and a valuable source of relevant applicant traffic.

6. Employer reputation will replace employer brand

Dyson is making ventilators. LVMH is distilling hand sanitiser. Barbour is making surgical gowns. Every company wants to come out of this crisis with a stronger brand reputation. What you do now for your customers, your employees and wider society will be scrutinised for years to come. No more so, by your future employees who will want to know how a company acts when the chips are down. The stories from this time will become folklore and used by recruitment marketing for years to come. In today’s world though “condemning bad” has largely replaced “doing good” as to how we gauge morality. If your company ends up on a rolling list of businesses accused of bad labour practices during COVID-19, expect that to hang over you for a while.

7. Increased adoption of new technologies

Recruiting from a socially safe distance is temporary, however, the technology we adopt will largely remain permanent fixtures. We’ve all become expert recruiters on Zoom or Microsoft Teams overnight. Interestingly, the abandonment of things like assessment centres doesn’t necessarily mean we should see them replicated online. A virtual assessment centre still has the same issues as a physical one; they’re highly subjective, prone to bias and unreliable. New technology needs to be carefully thought out and built to last beyond the current crisis.

Change is inevitable, but the pace of change is unprecedented. Almost all the leaders we surveyed expect increases in applicant volumes, in candidates looking to transition into new industries and in role profiles requiring recalibration. These 3 challenges have created an unprecedented amount of work for in-house recruiters to do and yet no recruiters we spoke with are expecting an increase in available resources to handle this extra work. Getting the right processes in place ahead of hiring again is going to be critical to successfully hire again.

The right HR tech solutions can help you

High volume recruitment experts predict that new tools and technologies will be essential to effective hiring in the near future. Choosing the right pre-hire assessment tools for your business can be difficult, but this free guide can help. Every recruitment team is different, and it could be a combination of these tools that helps you execute your strategy efficiently to drive ROI.

This was originally posted on Medium.