Recruitment during a crisis

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Recruitment during a crisis

The UK’s employment rate was at a record high the month before the coronavirus outbreak started to take hold. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that in the three months to February 2020, employment was at 76.6% which was 0.4% higher than a year earlier. In fact, UK unemployment was at a 40-year low at the start of 2020.
However, the picture is now very different. Scenarios modelled on the Government’s current easing of lockdown restrictions indicate that the unemployment rate in the UK could reach 10% this year.
With these daunting statistics, it is clear that the emphasis is on company restructures and redundancies. Over 12,000 potential job losses have been announced in the first few days of July alone. The number of vacancies has dropped dramatically too, tumbling by more than 340,000 between March and May 2020 – a record quarterly fall.
However, not all sectors are similarly affected and there were more than 475,000 job vacancies during the same period. You have only to look at the media to see how health and social care, logistics and food retailing sectors are needing to recruit, and quickly. In addition, there will continue to be a need to recruit for hard-to-fill vacancies.
But how will recruitment change in the world of social distancing?

The world of work has changed since lockdown

Increased working from home has led to new skills being developed. Employees are becoming more technically proficient and mastering the art of video conferencing – but they also learning how to juggle home and work responsibilities. And, of course, the way we stay in touch with each other in our personal lives has been similarly impacted too.

Employees expectations are changing

Half of all workers expect to be working more flexibly following the ongoing easing of lockdown measures. Even if employees are able to return to the office, there is likely to be a shift towards more home working. We recently penned a post on how to manage flexible working requests, which you can read  
So how do you ensure you recruit effectively in a socially-distanced world?
The pool of talent available will be significantly increased, and you want to ensure you get your recruitment decision right. The need for candidates to live within commuting distance of the office may no longer be relevant and could result in an even wider pool to select from. However, social distancing measures will have significant impact.

  1. Review the skills you need

Will the skills you are looking for be different post-lockdown? As with any recruitment exercise, start by reviewing the skills and competencies required for each role.

  1. Attracting talent

Use social media such as LinkedIn to attract talent. Sourcing applicants directly will have the benefit of lower recruitment costs.
Use blogs and social media posts to sell your brand message – how about a live Q&A video chat by your Managing Director?
For candidates, being able to listen to a broadcast from a potential employer will offer a sense of connectedness that just reading about the job cannot. Of course, this is particularly relevant if the job will involve working from home or with minimal contact with colleagues.

  1. Virtual selection methods

Virtual methods for the assessment and selection of candidates will increasingly become the norm. Interviews, presentations and case studies, for example, can all be carried out using tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
Time taken to hire may also be reduced but it is important to make sure that applicants are not put at a disadvantage, ensuring that selection methods are inclusive, fair and relevant to the role.

  1. Train your recruiting managers

Don’t forget your managers – training may be required to make sure those recruiting have both the technical and assessment skills to ensure a fair and objective recruitment process.
For further help and support, with recruitment (from writing job descriptions to devising and running assessment centres and bespoke training for your managers), Howarths can help. Call Cath or Katie on 01274 864 999 .

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