How to hire in a pandemic based on lessons from the staffing industry

Aside from upending the economy and our day-to-day lives, the COVID-19 pandemic majorly disrupted the future of hiring. Staffing firms and employers have adapted strategies, processes and even the talent they’re looking for in response to the sudden changes we’ve experienced this year.  

In addition to the ways staffing firms are predicting what work will look like in the future, they’re paving the way for how we’ll get there. This industry is giving us early insight into how hiring has changed for the foreseeable future, what matters now to hiring managers and how staffing firms play a role in employers’ hiring strategies.  

Focus on flexibility 

Business needs continue to fluctuate, which means you might need more people one month but fewer the next. Of those surveyed, 57 percent of hiring managers said the flexibility to easily size up or down is a priority, along with 55 percent who expressed having multiple sources of quality candidates as a concern in this particular environment. Temporary workers have become essential (with 61 percent of hiring managers noting an increased demand), and staffing firms and HR tech can play a huge role in offering that talent.  

Understand where staffing firms excel 

Two standout reasons: the ability to find specific or niche skills, as well as helping to reach more diverse candidates. The majority of employers surveyed are prioritizing initiatives to hire more diverse candidates in the next 12 months, and 82 percent believe staffing firms can help them reach those goals. This is especially the case because staffing firms are often segmented by industry (such as for creatives or tech), and might also have strong relationships with community groups of certain demographics or backgrounds. 

Ease pain points for hiring managers 

While access to candidates with the right skills was far and away the top concern in 2019 for hiring managers, it’s still a huge priority, even in a pandemic. And more than half of hiring managers agreed that staffing firms are very helpful in addressing this issue. Couple that strategy with labor market data, and recruiters and hiring managers are well on their way to knocking out the other two concerns: the length of time to hire and weathering economic uncertainty. With staffing firms’ abilities to find niche and specific-skilled candidates, plus the real time info on candidates, employers can find the right person, fast. 


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