March 26, 2021

Recruiting Top Talent When Everyone Wants to Work From Home

When the pandemic forced companies worldwide to suddenly let employees work from home, top talent got a taste for it. Now that they’ve tried it, many workers no longer want to return to traditional office buildings.

Moving forward, recruiters will face two challenges as they look to place candidates: attracting the right talent for non-remote jobs and managing the influx of (not always qualified) applicants who want to continue working remotely.

It’s critical you prepare to handle the changing tides. Here are a few ways to update your recruiting process to meet the new demands of top talent:

Bringing Candidates Back to the Office

As many companies move roles back to the workplace, workers will want to maintain some of the flexibility they had while working remotely. To attract job seekers who value the benefits of remote work to your in-office roles, highlight how your on-location jobs can still offer some of those same perks. For example, that might mean giving people flexible office hours or instituting optional work-from-home days.

Additionally, remote work gave employees more time to think about burnout and build routines to avoid it. Even as companies shift away from remote work, it’s important to continue supporting candidates’ mental health during the recruiting process and after they come on board. Check in with candidates regularly throughout the hiring process. In your employer branding materials and interview process, share how your team encourages employee well-being and the specific wellness initiatives you’ve instituted to do so.

Workplace perks that make the office more “fun” no longer have the appeal they once had. Instead, employees value benefits that help them find work/life balance. Reposition your company’s benefits to help employees find the time they need for themselves outside of work, rather than keeping employees in the office as long as possible. For example, maybe your team gets a half-day every Friday.

While many working parents were happy to have the extra time at home this year, they also encountered a number of challenges unique to being a remotely working parent. When trying to attract parents and other caregivers back to on-location roles, spotlight the perks that make their lives easier — think: on-site childcare, dry-cleaning services, or proximity to the grocery store.

Handling the Influx of Remote Applicants

If your jobs are staying remote, be prepared: More job seekers than ever will be scouring the web for work-from-home opportunities. If you plan to continue hiring for remote positions, you need to set your team up to effectively deal with the surge of candidates they’re sure to face.

Lean on smarter technology to manage the workload. Not all applicant tracking systems (ATSs) are created equal. It’s a good idea to invest in an ATS that can do some automated sorting of applicants based on how well their resumes align with the job. That way, recruiters won’t have to rely on keyword searches of candidate databases, which may turn up a lot of irrelevant candidates.

You can also update your job applications to include knock-out questions to narrow down the remote applicant pool. For example, you might ask candidates if they have experience with particular software or create a short test to evaluate a specific skill set.

Additionally, it can help to have a scheduling platform to organize your interviews with those who make it through. That’s one less thing you have to worry about. You might also leverage video interviews to give candidates a taste of the autonomy and flexibility they crave during the interview process.

It can also help to set yourself a schedule to manage each step of the recruitment process in blocks. For example, you might review resumes on Mondays, schedule/conduct interviews on Tuesdays and Thursdays, email candidates on Wednesdays, and reserve Friday for sourcing passive talent and scheduling out your next week of activity. Breaking the recruiting process into a well-defined series of steps can make it easier to stay on track no matter how many candidates pour into your funnel.

If you discover that you have more strong candidates than available remote jobs (a likely scenario), simply create a talent community. To ensure candidates stay interested, use a customer relationship management system to keep track of their goals, communicate industry trends, and offer application advice so leads stay warm until you’re ready to invite them to reapply.

Whether you’re hiring for remote or in-office roles, recruiting talent when everyone wants to work from home introduces a set of new challenges. You have the tools and skills necessary to fill the growing number of remote roles while attracting the cream of the crop back to the workplace. You just have to rise to meet candidate expectations while making your recruiting process work for you.

Karyn Mullins is president of Connect with Karyn on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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Karyn Mullins is the president of, a job board which gives members access to the most sought-after medical sales jobs and pharmaceutical sales jobs on the web.