Tags: industry insights, Industry Insights, HR...

COVID-19 has caused a noticeable shift in the landscape of recruitment. What was once a battlefield for the best candidates is now an over-saturated market, having completely shifted due to the sheer number of businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Employers in a multitude of sectors have had to make tough decisions about business continuity and cost control. For less scrupulous recruiters and internal hiring managers, it’s an opportunity to take advantage of the competitive job market by driving salaries down and not bothering to give feedback due to having multiple applicants available.

This approach, aside from being unethical, is very short sighted and can even end up damaging their employer brand going forward. A poorly treated candidate never forgets.

What is an employer-led landscape?

For the first time since the 2008 recession, we are entering an employer-led recruitment landscape. But what does that actually mean?

A employer-led job market exists when there is an abundance of skilled and experienced candidates when compared to the number of roles available at the market rate. For many years the marketplace has lacked experienced workers in certain highly skilled areas, and attracting top candidates was very competitive. Particularly for more senior and experienced staff, there were often a plethora of roles to choose from, and it was down to businesses to entice them with perks, company culture, and bonuses.

But that’s all changed now, and those currently on the market face a highly competitive environment. Many candidates have pivoted sectors altogether in hopes of finding more options outside of the hugely affected hospitality , theatre and travel industries. It’s tough to even secure an interview, with candidates having to go above and beyond to stand out within a mountain of applications, increasing as high as 1300% for some roles.

The recruitment industry has an important part to play in the post-COVID world. It can help turn those numbers around by mobilising the UK workforce, helping candidates adapt to a more agile recruitment process, and supporting workers to enhance transferable skills that can help with an industry pivot.

Tips for internal hiring managers

With social distancing rules making interviewing in person a challenge, and most HR departments operating remotely to coordinate recruitment from home, it’s certainly a step away from the normal hiring procedure for most businesses.

Adapting to new ways of working for hiring managers has quickened the process and made it more agile, not to mention safer in the current climate. Video interviewing and virtual on-boarding has become a necessity, but it’s easy to forget that the face on the other end of the screen is an actual person, most likely stressed from the job hunt, trying their best to impress, and in all honesty, quite desperate for the role.

So what are the top three tips for hiring managers in the current climate? And how can they make sure the process is as pleasant and supportive as it possibly can be?

1) The hiring manager must give feedback

Whether your interview has been undertaken over video or in a socially distanced environment, giving feedback is a common curtesy that is sometimes overlooked in recruitment. It can be time consuming, particularly if there are multiple candidates in the running, but it’s essential for a good candidate experience. A lack of feedback after an interview gives no closure for the candidate, and can make them feel ignored. They’ve most likely put a lot of preparation and effort into the interview, and just because they didn’t get the role doesn’t mean they deserve to be ignored.

2) Patience is key for hiring managers

We are living in difficult times and many people are struggling. Whether your candidate is inundated with childcare responsibilities or is having an issue with their mental health, being patient during the recruitment process is important. Just because there are ten candidates up for the same role, doesn’t mean the best one is the quickest responder. Have a little compassion for the responsibilities and burdens of others – you may just end up with a much better candidate.

3) Don’t drive salaries down

After years of competitive wages, counter offers , and like-for-like benefit packages, some employers see this as an opportunity to drive salary and benefits packages down, to save some much-needed money. Whilst clearly financially attractive on face value, this is a dangerous game to play with a candidate’s career, and not one they will thank you for long term.

Workers may be desperate right now, but if they feel they are being taken advantage of, they will jump at the first opportunity to a business that does appreciate them and compensates them fairly. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

“For the first time in over a decade, we are entering an employer-led market for most markets. It’s more important than ever that business select a reputable recruitment partner, to ensure that candidates are treated fairly so they can attract the best talent for the role and, most importantly, protect their brand. For candidates, yes it’s a tough market out there, but there are opportunities further afield, even if it means pivoting out of your industry. The team here at Search can support you,”

Charlotte Battersby, Senior HR Recruitment Consultant - Search Consultancy

If you’re a business needing support and guidance on how to manage your hiring process during an employer-led landscape, Charlotte or one of our other consultants can help you.

For candidates, if you're looking for your next role, or want to speak to a recruiter about pivoting from an existing industry, get in touch with Search today.

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