As a recruiter, you’re expected to place skilled candidates into roles that match their experience, skill, and background.
Of course, that’s not all that recruiters are responsible for. As a recruiter, you’re also expected to attend meetings and maintain relationships with the company or client you’re hiring for. Plus, you’ll need to spend time calling candidates, following up with potential candidates, checking references, collecting documents, and much more.
All this was before the pandemic upturned the way we live and do business. As a result, the way businesses hire has also undergone a dramatic transformation.
2021 brings a whole range of new challenges that recruiters need to be prepared for in order to remain ahead of the curve. In this article, we discuss the six major challenges that recruiters are likely to face in 2021.
Covid-19 forced most non-essential workers to switch to working from home, and recruiters are no different. Recruiting teams had to quickly adapt, refine processes, and create new ones to make interviewing and hiring work virtually. This will certainly continue into 2021, and possibly beyond, as over 70% of professionals agree that virtual recruiting is becoming the new standard.
With that said, companies who threw together short-term solutions should be working on cleaning up those solutions and optimizing them. Technology must be perfected, and virtual processes refined. Then comes the challenge of humanizing a virtual process, as well as for deciding what should be virtual and what must be in-person. For example, lower-level positions may be completely virtual, while executive roles will require more in-person components.
There are plenty of pros to virtual recruiting. Productivity and connection are made easier by existing tools, like video chat platforms for interviews and applicant tracking systems for online assessments. Communication with your team is simplified via programs like Microsoft Teams and Slack. In fact, technologies like the ones mentioned above are shown to reduce time-to-hire by 50%.
Creating a positive candidate experience is not a new recruitment challenge, but it is made even more difficult now that it must be done virtually. While tech can help with productivity and time-to-hire, it can also lack a human touch. Impersonal recruiting is a quick way to lose candidate interest, as well as their trust.
For candidates, clarity is key. Recruiters must be sure to provide timely and accurate outreach. Provide complete information, so they feel prepared for assessments and interviews. Know the common technical difficulties, so you can offer solutions. Above all else, be personable and understanding – taking the leap to move jobs during times like these is not easy. Your empathy can make all the difference to a candidate.
Another one of the recruitment challenges we’re seeing is an increase in the skills gap. The growing issue of fast-paced technological advancement and slow traditional education has only been worsened by the pandemic. As the cost of education continues to rise, access to learning these skills becomes more limited.
According to Forbes, “The number of jobs for the top 25% of earners is now higher than it was before the pandemic, while for the bottom quarter — especially in low-wage service sector work — jobs are down by more than 20%.” That means there are more jobs for highly skilled positions than there are candidates who possess those skills – meanwhile, meanwhile, folks lacking those skills are out of work and looking for employment.
As a recruiter, you’ll be sifting through candidates who don’t have the necessary skills for the job. You’ll work twice as hard to attract talent that is skilled. One of these desirable skills that aren’t tech related is adaptable leadership, with many employees feeling as though they are not equipped to deal with the current rate of change the last year has brought. Finding a leader who is both technically skilled and adaptable is like hitting gold.
Just as adaptability is one of the most sought-after skills in candidates, this shift is seen in recruiting trends as well. The volatile market has already affected recruitment teams and will continue to do so.
If you’re currently a recruiter, you’ve probably seen the scope of your job shift and change to fit these unprecedented times – and unfortunately, that isn’t going to end anytime soon. To stay profitable and relevant, businesses must be more agile than ever, and that spills over into every department.
As recruiting teams continue to bridge the gaps within their organizations, they’re expected to add more tools to their repertoire. Diversity and inclusion, personal development, talent pipelining, decision-making, and HR strategy were some of the fastest-growing skills in 2020 for recruiters.
Being able to flex between these skills, while still performing previous job expectations and adapting to a virtual hiring process is all part of being an agile, adaptable recruiter.
Diversity and inclusion
With the racial injustice protests of 2020, demand for equity and inclusion in the workplace is louder than ever. Previously, steps have been made in the right direction in the recruitment industry, but progress has been slow. However, companies are finally accepting that this is an issue they must address.
In fact, 77% of talent professionals agree that diversity will be very important to the culture of recruiting. 47% say that hiring managers are currently not held accountable for interviewing a diverse pool of candidates. As a recruiter, you have the opportunity to set an example and be a catalyst for change.
This change does require buy-in from all stakeholders – no social movement has happened with just one person. In order to drive change, companies will need to plan ahead, make a commitment, and educate recruiters and hiring managers. Discrimination can happen at every stage of recruitment – from application review, phone screening, and job descriptions, to the actual interviews.
By educating recruitment teams, committing to an ongoing review of processes, and actively working to add inclusivity at every level, recruiters can overcome this challenge. Rethink existing hiring processes – diverse interview panels will help recruiters hold each other accountable. Data-based reporting can help keep recruiters on track to their diversity goals.
This pushes into the brand image as well. Companies that posted about diversity in June saw a 24% increase in candidate engagement. People are selectively seeking out companies that are outspoken about empathy, inclusion, and diversity.
In the recruitment space, there’s always discussion about whether it’s an employer’s market or a candidate’s market. While most assume that the current recession means that it’s an employer’s market, leaning back on this mindset will cause recruiters to miss out on key talent that will bring in and boost revenue.
This recession looks different than those of the past. Many jobs have gone unfilled due to workers avoiding high-risk roles that could potentially put them in contact with Covid-19, according to the Harvard Business Review. In addition to that, jobs are also bouncing back much faster than we typically see in these scenarios. There’s also been a shift of families moving away from the areas with the biggest hiring needs.
Most notably, unemployment rates are peaking, yet job openings continue to remain at unmatched highs. Despite the economic crash, candidates are carefully shopping for jobs – not just taking the first job that comes their way. This is a recruiting trend that we will continue to see, so recruiters must do everything in their power to attract the right talent and retain them, which is no easy feat.
The challenges of 2020 have created ripple effects all the way into 2021. As a recruiter, you are likely used to facing recruitment challenges, but now your role is changing more rapidly than ever before. Diversity and inclusion will continue to be a main focus, and you should expect changes from your company to address the issue within the hiring process.
Recruiting virtually and ensuring a positive candidate experience is here to stay; you will see companies work on refining the process to ensure it is finetuned for recruiters and candidates alike.
The volatile market and shifting skills of the workforce and of recruiters will be an ongoing challenge. With the need for speed in business comes the need to adapt quickly – and recruiters are at the forefront of that. Just as recruiters are expected to be adaptable, the same skill will be important in candidates. The skill gap will continue to be a challenge, as technology advances at a rate that traditional schooling cannot keep up with.
Finally, the volatile market is showing us that despite unemployment reaching new highs, job openings are still exceedingly high as well. As a recruiter, you must stay vigilant and not fall into an employer’s market mindset.
By actively focusing on attracting the best candidates with diversity in mind, providing a positive hiring process, and remaining agile, recruiters can stay ahead of these recruiting trends.
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