The Recruiting Sea Change Caused by COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed the way companies are recruiting; but this change is not going to be temporary. Is your HR team ready for these changes?

I recently wrote an IdeaXchange blog discussing how COVID-19 has resulted in changes to the recruiting process that will likely continue even after the crisis has passed. One of the major changes is the balance of power when it comes to job offers. Prior to the pandemic, this was an employee market; a shortage of qualified talent had companies competing with one another. That has now radically changed with massive unemployment numbers, some companies teetering on the edge, and others reassessing the size and make-up of their workforce.

After the pandemic passes (or at least comes under control), not all of the workers that have been furloughed or temporarily laid off will be asked to return. That, combined with all of the people that have actually been laid off permanently have changed an employee market into an employer market, with companies having most of the leverage. But that doesn’t mean that employers can now go back to the way they recruited and retained in the past. The reality is that things have changed for both sides of the equation – employees and employers.

Biggest change…working remotely

A May Gallup poll found that in May the average percentage of people working from home, either “always” or “sometime” was 68 percent. About a quarter of those surveyed indicate they would like to continue working from home, even when their office reopens.

Now to be fair, our industry has certain employees, drivers and technicians specifically, that do not have the option of working remotely. However, with technology like AI and digitization of most aspects of the business, there are likely a number of workers (marketing, logistics, analysts, finance) who can continue to work remotely, at least part-time.

Technology is making recruitment both easier and safer

There are times where technology and talent come together at the same time. By that, I mean that, for safety reasons due to the COVID crisis, recruiters need to rely on technology to a greater degree for both video interview and virtual recruitment. This comes at a time when the younger workforce of Generation Z has grown up tech savvy. In fact, the more tech-oriented the company, the more likely to attract these younger workers.

As talent acquisition platform, Yello, found, “Video interviewing software not only makes it possible to keep the hiring pipeline moving, but it also upgrades the candidate experience and boosts your employer brand.” Younger workers are comfortable with this manner of interview while slightly older candidates appreciate the safety factor, making this format a win-win for both recruiter and candidate. What Yello also found is that Gen Z job applicants “will not even apply for a job with an organization if they think its recruitment methods are outdated.

This increases the likelihood that recruiters will continue with this method of recruitment even when things return to normal. According to a Forbes article, recruiters will also likely to continue relying on online recruitment sites like Google and LinkedIn as well as social media sites to find qualified candidates. That will require recruiters to understand the importance of SEO (search engine optimization) when writing recruitment copy for open positions.

What does that mean for our industry?

I can hardly count the number of articles written on the driver and technician crisis for our industry. Some of that may be temporarily mitigated as shipping is reduced for certain sectors of the economy. However, as I continue to say, this crisis will end, and the need for drivers and technicians will continue to rise. The issue will continue to be making these jobs appealing to younger workers; to make them see these positions as careers rather than simply a paycheck. That will continue to be a challenge for recruiters, so companies will need to review those corporate processes, positions, and culture that can either attract or repel younger workers. See what is working for others in your own industry and beyond and, if practical and relevant, work to put them into practice in your own company.

Read my IdeaXchange blog for more details.

Jane Clark

About Jane Clark

Jane Clark is Vice President of Member Services for NationaLease. Before joining the full service truck leasing organization, she served in executive positions with some of the nation’s top staffing and recruitment agencies.

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