Although at times it doesn’t feel like things will ever return to normal, COVID-19 will pass. Recruitment will return to a face-to-face business that focuses heavily on connections. However, there is no doubting we have developed some new habits and innovative ways of working that will have a positive, long-term impact on the recruitment industry
For me, this is about not just how we work but how we reinvent our business models to address industry challenges and find new markets.
Here are three COVID-19 trends that, in my opinion, will continue.
#1 A rise in remote working
Remote and flexible working were already trends in the employment space, but COVID-19 has rapidly accelerated them. Many businesses across all sectors were previously reluctant to embrace the shift, but now that they have experienced it first-hand, they are more comfortable with the reality.
In fact, a recent Gartner study found that 74% of CFOs expect to move a number of previously on-site employees to remote working situations permanently post-COVID-19 in a bid to cut commercial real estate costs.
Even in a people-orientated industry, like recruitment, there will be benefits in some employees continuing with remote and flexible working. On a financial level, this may reduce the amount of office space required but it also may increase employee satisfaction, work life balance, productivity and, ultimately, results for your clients.
#2 An increase in automation
With businesses the world over embracing technology, making more efficient use of it to streamline processes and business operations, there is an opportunity to realise ongoing productivity increases.
From making better use of existing platforms, like your ATS/CRM, to investing in new technologies that enhance day-to-day operations, automation is here to stay.
We will also continue to see benefits from the current rise in video conferencing and video interview tools. These tools have become a critical part of daily life, and while I don’t think they will (or should!) completely replace face-to-face connection when we are on the other side of this, there is some merit in continuing selective use.
For example, when you have a large pool of candidates (which we can expect to see with the rise in unemployment), video tools can enable you to review the pool in a fraction of the time it would take to meet each candidate in person. Using these tools to review the candidate pool not only saves time in the initial stages, but also ensures you are investing time wisely in the following stages, meeting only the right candidates for the vacancy.
At the end of the day, our value as recruiters is all about connecting the right candidates with the right employers, saving clients time and money. If video tools can help us to add even more value, it makes sense to look at how we use them in our businesses into the future.
#3 A more diversified industry
For many specialist recruiters, particularly those in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries, COVID-19 has created a burning platform to diversify. For others, it might not be as urgent, but most recruiters have realised that they need to be servicing as broad a market as possible to safeguard the future of their businesses.
If you are thinking about how you can make this shift in your business, your ATS can be a great place to start. If your ATS is up-to-date and used well, it can help you to identify industries you may already have a good pool of candidates for, that you can start targeting immediately.
You can also think about the backgrounds of your team members. Many of us have consultants on staff from diverse industry backgrounds, who may have the right experience and some good connections to get you started.
If your ATS could do with some work, this may be the best place to start. Looking at what you can do to improve the quality of your data, embed better practices to keep it updated or even looking at whether your existing platform is right for your business, can be a great way to maximise any downtime and use it to get ready to hit the ground running for the recovery.
Whether you find yourself with significantly more work or less, there is no denying that this is a challenging time and a steep learning curve. On the whole, the recruitment industry is adapting quickly to new circumstances, but the key lies in also learning from the experience and taking away new mindsets and ways of working that will enhance our industry into the future.