It’s uncontroversial — perhaps downright banal — to say that COVID-19 has transformed the world of recruiting. But while we all agree that things have changed, many of us would be hard-pressed to put our fingers on the specific transformations that have taken place. For a lot of us, we know that radical shifts have occurred — but the reality of those shifts, and the ways in which they’ll alter recruiting for years to come, still haven’t fully sunk in.
For its latest annual Future of Recruiting report, LinkedIn surveyed 1,500 talent professionals to get a clearer picture of what recruitment will look like in a post-COVID world. Here are some highlights:
Transferable Skills Are a Top Concern
LinkedIn found that internal mobility has increased by nearly 20 percent year-over-year since the start of the pandemic. That makes sense: With the economy in flux and the talent market flooded by candidates who unfortunately found themselves laid off, internal recruiting offers respite from the madness.
Moreover, it allows for a certain degree of flexibility, which has been a key factor in weathering the pandemic. According to LinkedIn, companies are trading “static jobs in siloed departments” for “project-based cross-functional work,” with employees moving from team to team as needs change. This approach to talent management puts a new emphasis on transferable skills when it comes to assessing talent. That jibes with the predictions of Kristin Hunter, director of marketing at Mya Systems:
As we face record-high unemployment numbers, recruiters are once again looking for ways to overcome existing skills gaps and fill important positions with the right candidates. To do that in today’s economy, they’ll have to start paying careful attention to candidates’ transferable skills.
Remote Work Means There’s No Excuse for Homogenous Teams
The pandemic’s silver linings have been few and far between, but the large-scale embrace of remote work is perhaps the brightest of them all. Many workers love the convenience, and employers are thrilled to see productivity gains and lowered operating costs. As a result, many organizations — even those that were initially wary of distributed teams — will likely allow for at least some remote work even after the pandemic.
Remote work will also have the benefit of making diversity and inclusion even more imperative, according to LinkedIn: “Remote work will vastly expand available talent pools, allowing for greater access to candidates from underrepresented groups and deflating empty excuses that the talent isn’t there to be found.”
As recruiters become advocates for diverse talent in a remote-friendly world, they’ll also have to act as workforce planning consultants for their companies and clients. Remote work has plenty of benefits, but it does fundamentally change how hiring is done, and that means employers will need some helping adapting their strategies.
Recruiters, as LinkedIn points out, are “uniquely positioned to provide essential insights on this transition.” They have their fingers on the pulse of the talent market, which means they can direct employers to the right talent pools — for the right price — in the right place.
Like Remote Work, Virtual Recruiting Is a Permanent Feature of Hiring
Seventy percent of the people surveyed by LinkedIn said they see virtual recruiting becoming the new standard in a post-COVID economy. As with remote work, the persistence of this pandemic-induced transformation has a lot to do with the fact that virtual recruiting has turned out to be more convenient than the alternatives.
But, LinkedIn, notes, there are still plenty of challenges that need to be ironed out. Chief among them is striking a balance between tech and the human touch — a perennial problem for recruiters since virtually the dawn of the internet.
The Era of COVID Is No Time to Shunt Corporate Social Responsibility to the Side
LinkedIn noticed an interesting trend in engagement with company posts over the last year: When organizations talked about pressing social issues, people paid more attention. For example, company posts about COVID-19 got 84 percent more engagement than the average company post in April. Likewise, at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in June, companies that posted about diversity saw 24 percent gains in engagement.
2020 has been an exceedingly difficult year for all of us, and people have been watching how their employers have handled it. This is going to have major ramifications for how talent evaluates job opportunities in the future. Workers will be drawn to those companies that took a stand and took care of their people, while employers that failed to step up will find their brands plummeting in the public eye.
The Recruiter of the Future Is Adaptable
As if to punctuate the preceding findings, the Future of Recruiting report took a look at the fastest-growing skills among recruiters in 2020 and found that No. 1 was personal development.
In other words: The best skill for a recruiter to have right now is the ability to gain more skills.
As recruiting becomes more consultative and strategic — as recruiters take on responsibility for shepherding employers into a future full of remote work and virtual hiring — the recruiters best equipped to succeed will be the ones who never stop learning.