How the pandemic changed hiring

March 19, 2021

This month marks the 1-year anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic and we’re looking back at what’s changed in the workforce in the past 12 months. 

How has the pandemic changed hiring? 

Women are facing new challenges. Women are leaving jobs or reducing hours to care for children and family members, and millions more were laid off or have experienced reduced work due to travel and dining restrictions. These issues won’t be solved overnight, but there are a few ways companies can bring women back to the workforce. Utilize gender-neutral job descriptions, be upfront about your culture and benefits, and offer training and support. 

Work from home is here to stay – and for good reasons. As we all have tried to muddle through and process the pandemic and its toll, we learned valuable insights about what really matters and potentially changed a few institutions for the better. One of those institutions would be physical office spaces and the accompanying lifestyle – lengthy and crowded commutes, distracting environments, competing schedules. Remote work was a growing trend pre-pandemic for all of those reasons, and the past 12 months have been a crash course on what works and what doesn’t about the practice. Here are four ways work from home has benefitted the workplace

Hiring for skills is the new standard. Skills-based hiring has been a growing trend for years, as a way for employers to find better matches for the team and help candidates navigate changing industries. Hiring based on a candidate’s skills, instead of strictly on education requirements and a list of job titles on a career ladder, can help put Americans back to work while building out teams that have the right technical skills and new perspectives. From getting to know your team to re-evaluating your priorities, here’s how you can hire for skills

What do job seekers expect after the pandemic? 

A commitment to diversity. This is a sustained focus, after months of social justice movements and calls for inclusivity. Diversity, equity and inclusion – while a priority previous to 2020 – are now typically in top spots of consideration. Whether it’s candidate sourcing all the way up to the makeup of your leadership team, candidates and potential employees expect to see a company value diversity.  

Remote work and flexible hours. Not a surprise, but after a year of working from home and more work-life flexibility, job seekers and employees expect this trend to truly be the “new normal.” As recently as December 2020, 35% of job seekers said they would not accept a job offer without a remote work option. 

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Related reading: The top 3 job seeker priorities right now 

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How do you recruit and hire during and post-pandemic? 

Texting candidates. Whether you’re a recruiter at a staffing firm or an internal hiring manager, you can more effectively reach candidates and move them along your hiring process by texting them. This allows you to put your message in the pocket of candidates in a more visible way than email, and job seekers can respond quickly without the same pressure as, say, email or returning a phone call. (An important consideration for Millennial and Gen Z workers.) These three best practices for texting candidates will get you started

Simplify, simplify, simplify. Employers and job seekers want the same thing – to find the right person on the right team. There are many factors that contribute to “right” which makes this process inherently complex, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Because job seekers are strapped for time and mostly unwilling to labor over a job application, it’s important to make your process as seamless as possible so you don’t miss out on the right fit. Even the smartest, most talented, most qualified workers will give up on clunky applications. Here are a few ways to combat job application fatigue

Integrate your tech. Your job postings might be stellar. That virtual open house you hosted last month might be bringing in strong leads. Your talent network might be full of skilled, interested candidates who are a good fit for a variety of your roles. Do all of those efforts integrate and support each other? And do you have hard data to really understand what’s working for you? Is it in an easy-to-use format? A single source of truth for your hiring efforts will save you (and your team) time and money, and allow recruiters or hiring managers to focus on the people they’re hiring. 

Use candidate data and insights. Sourcing data, understanding candidate behavior and utilizing automation tools can take your hiring strategy to the next level. From improving efficiency on your hiring team to finding better candidates even faster, leaning on these tech tools to augment your team is a smart move to navigate an influx of resumes. Automating mundane tasks (like writing job posts and searching for data) allows your team to focus on people, stay ahead of the competition and be ready for any labor market. Here’s how you can use data and automation tools to recruit and manage applicants. 

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