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What does Covid-19 mean for recruitment in 2021?

It’s no secret that Covid-19 has made some drastic changes to the job market, and to recruitment practices across the world. Some industries have seen jobs dry up and the prospect of recruitment bleak, whilst others have seen a steep increase in demand and an immediate need to bring more people on board.

The question is, what impact has Covid-19 had on the recruitment process, and what can employers and candidates expect in 2021.

Home Working

As we all know, offices being closed has led to a sharp rise in working from home and more flexible working situations around the globe. Going forward, it is expected that more roles will have at least a part time home working option, if not, be fully home working, and employers are now hiring people they’ve never met in person.

We’ve written a whole blog about whether it’s safe to hire someone you’ve never met, which we recommend you check out if that’s an option for your business.

Home working not only allows workers more flexible working schedules, but allows recruitment to open to a larger, more geographically diverse talent pool. Enabling employers to bag even better talent, this also helps to open the door to a focus on diversity hiring, with remote working experts toggl commenting that 70% of employers will take diversity hiring very seriously in 2021.

Employers should be aware however, that the temporary changes allowing right to work checks to be carried out using scanned copies of original documents from applicants, are ending. After June 21st 2021, new workers are required to send original documents for checking or must share their right to work share code with you. You aren't required to re-check anyone you brought on during the temporary changes; this is just something to keep in mind when hiring virtually going forward.

Different Skills Being Sought After

Due to the remote working situation it is to be expected that digital skills will have risen in importance, with some roles specially requesting experience and skills in particular software or platforms when advertising a role. Aside from that, soft skills have risen in demand, with a recent LinkedIn study finding the following as the top 5 sought-after soft skills in the current job market:

  • Persuasion
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Adaptability
  • Emotional Intelligence

There are a few reasons for the recent rebalancing of soft/hard skills. Firstly, the inability to meet new starters in person means the process of establishing trust has become harder, with verbal communication techniques becoming the only real tool available to do so. It is also crucial to be able to effectively communicate with team members, particularly where communication is limited to virtual channels, and this includes listening and understanding others as much as being able to accurately convey your own ideas.

So, although it of course is crucial for new starters to possess the hard skills required for their role, it is also crucial for them to possess the soft skills to help integrate into the team.

Where to Find A Job Is Changing

To target top talent, employers must go where the talent lives. That means the use of social media in recruitment is growing, with Hire Hive commenting that 70% of recruiters say they’ve successfully used social media to hire new employees. 

Unsurprisingly, LinkedIn is a top option for recruiters, particularly for companies with 500+ employees, and will be a key channel to recruit online post Covid-19. As a platform designed to build professional networks it is the obvious choice and candidates would be well advised to develop and maintain a presence on the platform.

That doesn’t mean recruiters aren’t using other platforms however, with Agency Central reporting that 47% of recruiters who use social media as a recruitment tool use Facebook, and 44% use Twitter.

Due to Covid, we are also seeing a growing lean toward internal recruitment, with the benefits of upskilling current, trusted employees currently outweighing the associated benefits of bringing in someone new. LinkedIn reports that since the onset of Covid, there has been an increase in internal mobility of 20% year-on-year. Companies need someone they can reply on to regain stability, and this makes it a good time to add value to your current workforce, build on those relationships and develop a strong team.

A Faster, Online Process

From sourcing to screening and interviewing, all of the key recruitment stages are moving online. As we just mentioned, the strategy and process of sourcing is adapting to platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and even Twitter.

Once candidates have been sourced, there has been a rise in integrated candidate application screening technologies which is making the process faster by automatically cutting applicants who do not meet requirements. There has been a similar rise in online psychometric testing to assess candidates prior to the interview stage and again, further cut candidates down to the best suited, sooner.

Interviews themselves have moved online to platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, and job offers are being received via phone calls and emails. Due to this move to an entirely online process, toggl report that 60% of candidates now expect quicker outcomes.

Employer Branding and Candidate Experience

In a climate of relationship marketing, recruiters need to focus on online employer branding and creating an online impression of their culture that pulls talent in.

According to Link Human, 72% of recruiters around the world agree that employer brand has a significant impact on hiring, along with a significant impact on your business’s success.

Establishing credibility as an employer and building a perception of your organisational values allows potential talent to establish a connection and alignment with their own values, leading to a building desire to work with you.

Similarly, with the company culture shifting online, it will be crucial for candidates to express their cultural fit for the company during the hiring process, and essential for employers to ascertain a match during the interview stages. Candidates must be able to establish relationships and rapport with colleagues using virtual channels, which can be much harder than interacting in person. Therefore, communication skills and personality matching will play a large part in establishing if a candidate is a cultural fit.

Pre-employment screening

Finally, following a period of uncertainty there is a desire to be secure during the recruitment process, which is where pre-employment screening comes in. Ensuring candidate experience, skills and qualifications are as they claim, background screening ensures your business remains compliant and reduces the risk of harm to your organisation.

How can we help?

At Reed Screening, we are proud to provide the UK’s fastest pre-employment screening service, with 8-day turnaround across over 500,000 checks. Whether your business has 10 or 100 employees, we offer screening solutions that are flexible around you and are designed to deliver excellent candidate experience. Check out our pay-per-candidate screening packages to get started today, or for a more tailored screening solution, get in contact with a member of our friendly team to discuss your needs.

We keep up to date on how Covid-19 is affecting recruitment and pre-employment screening, and work to make sure you remain compliant throughout the pandemic. Click here to find our recent Covid-19 update.