COVID recruitment challenges

updates + insights » COVID recruitment challenges

The number one request from our clients is for insights on the talent market and the types of candidates we’re seeing as we all navigate this new COVID world. 

From a recruitment perspective, the job market reflects the position of many businesses in this strange new normal of economic uncertainty. We’re still waiting to see the next release of unemployment data but there is no denying the direct impact of COVID-19 on hiring plans.   

There are certainly exceptions with some sectors performing well during the lockdown and others predicted to surge with post-COVID economic recovery plans driven by government spending. This is balanced against those sectors hit the hardest including tourism/hospitality and businesses on the periphery who are facing cost saving measures and redundancies at alarming rates.

Whether we are looking at a recovery by the end of this year or a longer term economic impact with more widespread business failure and job losses – the job market is certainly unrecognisable from its position earlier in the year.

Regardless of where your business currently sits and the resulting position you’ve taken on recruitment (freeze, slow or accelerate) there are some key principles to consider to ensure you make the right people decisions and maintain your employer brand.

Apply a different lens on desirable skills 
No doubt you’ve had some mixed experiences in terms of behaviours and actions of your leaders/people managers during the initial crisis period, with some stepping up to the challenge and others struggling to navigate the uncertainty. Those who are adept at problem solving/critical thinking and with high emotional intelligence who can continue to connect with their team/clients remotely, have had a much better chance of succeeding. It’s these types of skills that will become attractive to employers going forward.  

Accessing global talent
Boarder restrictions may continue to impact on your ability to recruit from an internationally located, non-New Zealand resident/citizen pool in the short to medium term. For both technically/specialised roles through to migrant workforces, you will need to adapt your approach to ensure you are finding the right talent in the right places. In saying that, New Zealand is seen as an attractive option for job seekers including for example expat Kiwis who are considering a return home.

On-demand executives
The popularity of the gig economy (short-term contracts or freelance work) combined with businesses facing cost cutting measures who can’t afford full time senior executives, is increasing the push for “on-demand executives”. For companies that need executive level guidance, perspective and leadership - possibly for a very specific challenge on the horizon -  an independent, outside perspective could be extremely beneficial. Your business gets executive experience without the full-time cost and commitment.

Assessing behavioural fit remotely
The early stages of the recruitment process, managed by internal recruitment teams or your external recruitment partner, can easily be completed remotely. There has however been a strong preference for the final stages to be completed in person from both the perspective of appointment committees and the candidate – enabling both parties to interact face-to-face and gain a more thorough understanding not just of the opportunity but also the team environment. We’ve worked with a number of clients in the placement of roles during the lockdown period including onboarding candidates virtually. For some, this new way of working could mean it’s the first time you’ve had to complete interviews remotely. That’s where having a solid relationship with your recruitment partner, where you value and trust their judgement and guidance, can help you navigate this new way of assessing fit.  

The world continues to change and each day we’re all faced with new ways of working – some that where unthinkable a couple of months ago. Regardless of your hiring position today or in the future, you need to think differently and accept new ways of doing things, particularly when it comes to your recruitment decisions.

The Decipher Team     

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