The recruitment process has had a seismic shift. The process associated with recruiting and mobilising a workforce has dramatically changed.
There are limitations on communication when working remotely, and it is more difficult to organise diaries for interviews. Issues such as increased induction times and different interview practices have also created additional pressures.
Many interviews now use Microsoft Teams or Zoom. These are better than a telephone interview, but it is more difficult for both candidates and hiring managers to make a lasting first impression with the reduced human contact. It is harder to see body language cues. And of course there can be technological difficulties such as internet failure, difficulty in hearing people due to echoes and feedback noise, and people talking at the same time. All of these add challenges throughout the interview process. They generally make it more difficult to complete, and usually increase the length of the overall time to hire.
Successful appointees are often being asked to work from home, for an initial period or longer-term. Sometimes this is because of a limited capacity to carry out inductions. This could be due to the availability of staff to perform an induction, or a reduction in the number of participants allowed in the induction process at any one time.
The process can also be held up due to equipment delays from disrupted logistics or a slowed process in the supply chain. These challenges place an increased responsibility on recruiting businesses to ensure they have robust candidate management. They must set and manage expectations effectively to ensure an overall positive candidate experience.
A business that is recruiting needs to be seen in a positive light.
To gain the best candidates, you need to be seen as an attractive place for professionals to work.
Usually the first experience people have with a company is the recruitment process – and first impressions last. It is therefore crucial that recruitment agencies take the responsibility of representing their customers seriously. Businesses need to choose very carefully when selecting their recruitment partners.
Over the past six months we have seen additional COVID-19 challenges. There are more candidates looking for work. Businesses are making more internal movements, as projects are delayed or cancelled. Recruitment businesses have to manage disappointments and failed applications effectively.
It is imperative that where possible this leaves the candidate with a positive experience of the process. Understanding this challenge is key for recruitment businesses in how they provide a comprehensive service to their customers. They need to continue to paint the end client in a positive light, even if a candidate is unsuccessful. Inexperienced consultants mismanaging this process can have a detrimental effect on future recruitment for the end client.
VGC staff understand this. A robust and empathic candidate management strategy is essential in modern day recruitment. At the end of the day, it is easier to recruit for an employer brand people trust. The recruiter has a responsibility to preserve and promote the brand of the end client.
More strategic thinking about candidate attraction
COVID19 has thrown new challenges for those who stay away for work during the week. People are less likely to want to stay away from their permanent residence because of the additional risks, and the chance of not being able to return to their families at weekends if government restrictions change. This can lead to a smaller portfolio of candidates, especially in areas where there isn’t a major local transport hub.
To counter this, recruitment agencies are having to think more strategically about their candidate attraction and management. This includes anticipating the requirements of the project and proactively starting to identify a skilled workforce in the relevant areas. This can include engaging a more localised candidate base – which will also positively increase community engagement on projects.
In March 2020 VGC started proactively identifying skilled candidates for large-scale construction projects such as HS2. This allowed us to build up a large portfolio of skilled and qualified professionals. We are now seeing the benefit in our ability to respond to increased demands for skilled workers, as the industry starts to grow once more.