Remote Work Changed the Recruiting Industry Forever

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced numerous changes into every facet of the way we live and work. As the world has gone digital, the recruiting industry has followed suit. Now, the industry’s best practices are unrecognizable from their pre-COVID days.

Perhaps the biggest change of all is that many recruiters are now working with national and even global talent pools, as the prominence of remote roles means workers can be identified and hired anywhere. The relocation question is long gone.

Remote work has permanently transformed the recruiting industry. Only firms with deep agility and national recruiting proficiency will succeed in the new reality of recruiting.

As we all grapple with this fundamental upheaval in our industry, it’s important to examine the roots of the change to understand how to best succeed in the digital future all face.

Locally Sourcing Talent Is the Way of the Past

Prior to COVID-19, there was a gradual backslide in the permissibility of remote work. Many leading companies, like Yahoo, were fixated on the idea that employees did their best work when they were physically together. Then COVID-19 arrived, giving those same organizations no choice but to allow remote work again.

As companies began to realize the pandemic was here for the long term, they also started to notice that being fully remote has its advantages. In the short term, cutting office space and reducing business travel provided extra wiggle room in the corporate pocketbook. But it was the long-term benefits — such as the ability to hire from anywhere — that sealed the deal.

With geography no longer restricting hiring managers, it became possible to recruit the best and the brightest without concern for one of the biggest pre-COVID hiring hurdles: location. For organizations that have been leveraging the cross-country talent pool, the advantage is obvious. As a result, it’s practically guaranteed this trend will not reverse itself. Securing the best hires is always critical to long-term business success.

The National Talent Pool Challenge

While the advantages of accessing a national talent pool are evident, hiring talent from across the country does bring immense logistical hurdles for recruiters. Teams must now parse an exponentially larger pot of potential candidates, and they will need to adapt to the new landscape if they want to survive.

Some recruitment firms were already used to working with national talent pools before the pandemic, but others may find the adjustment jarring.

How Recruiting Firms Can Take Advantage of the Change

Like so many other things, the questions that hiring managers are asking their potential recruiting partners have seismically shifted in the last year. Clients have always expected a depth of experience in the field, the ability to scale to meet their needs, and the efficiency to produce candidates on tight timelines. Now, hiring managers want to know if recruiting partners can do all of those things on a national level.

Many recruiters are embracing digital solutions to help them answer “yes” to that question. While some firms got a head start by adopting digital tools that help them sift through mountains of eligible prospects before the pandemic, nearly all recruiters are taking the time to hone their skills with these solutions today.

More than ever, infrastructural elements have become invaluable tools to drive efficient, scalable sourcing and hiring. That’s why I recommend recruiting firms build their own proprietary candidate databases, if possible. We did this at our firm before the pandemic hit, and we’ve found it significantly streamlines time-intensive recruiting tasks.

Another way to embrace the national talent pool is to go fully remote at your firm, too, if you haven’t already. If you and your team have direct experience working remotely yourselves, you’ll gain incredible insights into the kinds of traits that lead to a successful remote hire. This, in turn, will help you source and place candidates more easily.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Remote work is here to stay. Access to a national talent pool offers too many advantages for businesses seeking top talent; they’ll never return to a geographically limited hiring model.

With that in mind, recruiting firms have no choice but to adapt their practices for the new landscape by embracing digital tools, fully engaging with the remote mindset, and remaining agile to meet hiring managers’ needs. The future is bright for recruiting firms that can align their structures with the digital revolution we are all living through.

Amy Arenz is CEO and founder of Concero.

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By Amy Arenz