After the panic that followed the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic — which forced employers to quickly set up remote work arrangements for employees — some of them recognized this new approach wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Workers were able to maintain appropriate social distancing and still get their work done, sometimes even better than in the office environment.
In fact, some of these arrangements worked so well that many companies decided to keep parts of it post-pandemic. Businesses are closing physical offices, downsizing, or keeping offices but making physical presence optional.
These changes as well as trends that started pre-pandemic and ongoing technology advancements mean recruiters have a different job ahead of them. Here, BairesDev examines 5 ways in which recruiters should start thinking differently about their efforts.
1. Look for Talent Everywhere
Remote work arrangements didn’t start during the pandemic, but they did become more prevalent and accepted. Employees discovered the joys of avoiding long commutes, getting fewer interruptions, and spending more time with family. Employers learned that dispersed teams could be just as productive as physically present ones and that they could save considerable sums on the overhead associated with a brick-and-mortar office.
Not to say there weren’t challenges, but everyone realized the benefits of these non-traditional work arrangements. Another benefit that emerged is the ability to expand talent searches beyond the immediate geographic region. In theory, employers willing to hire remote workers can find them anywhere in the world, as long as they have the relevant skillset for a position.
Some areas of the U.S. are taking advantage of this newfound flexibility in working arrangements and luring workers away from congested areas like San Francisco. The following video describes the success of such programs:
Keep this strategy in mind as you seek new talent in 2021 and beyond. If a position is remote, be sure to add the word “remote” in the title of your job postings. Consider expanding the number and types of job boards you post on. Also, include the fact that you offer remote work positions in marketing materials that you put out for general recruiting.
2. Embrace Remote Interviews
Remote interviewing is a good skill to cultivate whether or not you offer remote jobs. If nothing else, they serve as a great screening tool to determine if you’d like to advance the candidate through the hiring process. Used in this way, remote interviews can help you reduce the cost of hiring because you don’t have to pay for long-distance candidates to travel in for a face-to-face interview.
You could still use a phone interview for this purpose, but video interviews add a dimension of understanding about candidates that you can’t get via phone. You get to see their facial expressions and other body language, as well as how they present themselves and perhaps even a bit of their home environment. While none of these cues should be considered alone, they can add to the whole picture of what the potential employee has to offer.
3. Be Prepared to Offer Flexible Work Arrangements
During the pandemic, many workers have gotten used to the flexibility offered by remote work arrangements. Parents realize they can be present for their kids, be it because they are learning remotely, sick at home, or just arriving from school. Non-parents have plenty of reasons to embrace this arrangement as well, including the ability to prepare healthy meals and spend the time they get back from no longer commuting on hobbies or relaxation.
So, even if the positions you’re offering aren’t remote jobs per se, you should provide the ability for team members to work remotely at least part of the time. For example, you could set up a schedule that involves working from the office 3 days per week and 2 days at home. Or, one that enables employees to work from home all the time but come in for weekly meetings. The key is to understand when physical presence is necessary and when it’s just a habit.
4. Focus on Skills More Than Titles
As companies become more agile — by broadening the geographic locations through talent searches and by having a workforce that’s remote-ready — there is another trend to consider. A job candidate may have an impressive list of titles on their resume, but companies are beginning to look more closely at the skills they bring and thinking about different job roles they could support.
A recent blog post from recruiting company 4 Corner Resources states, “Hiring managers will do well to focus less on specific job titles (i.e. sales manager) and more on the necessary skills that will drive innovation and protect critical workflows (i.e. critical thinking, problem-solving, and the ability to manage a team).” Additionally, the need for transitioning to remote work during the pandemic showed the importance of soft skills like time management and adaptability.
5. Consider Alternative Staffing
As you think about hiring, don’t limit yourself to full-time employees. Now is a great time to consider offering part-time positions or job-sharing arrangements or think about ways temporary or contract workers could help you fill some of the gaps left by the pandemic. These options can provide more cost-effective ways to get the same work done by skilled professionals.
For example, say you run a manufacturing operation and the pandemic has left you uncertain about demand. Maybe you laid-off workers in 2020 and you don’t want to offer them their jobs back if you’re not sure you’ll be able to keep them on the payroll. You can hire those workers on a temporary basis, staff from a temporary agency, or a combination. When things start to pick up, you can convert some of the temporary employees to permanent.
It’s All About Options
No one knows when the next pandemic or another disruptive event could occur. That’s why post-pandemic recruitment is about flexibility. You can widen your searches to include people from different regions, team members with different work arrangement needs, and those with a broad range of skills. As your organization expands its reach in these ways, you’ll find yourself well prepared for whatever comes next.