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Last year, when COVID-19 hit, employers worldwide were forced to make quick decisions and transition their workforce to a remote environment at the drop of a hat. 

Now, as vaccinations are increasing throughout the US and cases are decreasing, many companies are starting to discuss their plans for reopening. We’ve seen many changes over the last year, and many wonder what shifts are here to stay. Andrew Seaman, a Senior Editor at Linkedin News, asked a network of recruiters what they expect to see over the next couple of months and summarized some of these findings in his article “What Should Job Seekers Expect as Companies Reopen?”. Overall, Seaman explains that post-pandemic, we should expect virtual interviewing to stick around, an increased need for employers to offer flexibility and similar perks, and job-seekers to regain the upper hand with the hiring process. A solid recruiting strategy will likely be crucial if companies want to keep up with their hiring and headcount needs as we head into this next phase. 

After adapting to a world of virtual interviewing over the past year, many feel that this is a change that might be here to stay long-term. Personify’s own Madison Cochran touched on this last month when she discussed some of the advantages of virtual interviewing). Seaman largely came to the same conclusion after discussing it with industry experts. One caveat Seaman addressed was that once teams begin to gather min-person more over the upcoming months, we might see an increase in face-to-face interviews for the final stage of the process (but continue to keep the rest of the process virtual). A primarily virtual interview process can save a lot of time, money, and headache while still effectively uncovering the right fit for a role.

At Personify, we also see a sharp pivot back to a candidate-driven market. We experienced an extended candidate-driven market leading up to COVID-19 in 2020. However, the pandemic brought corporate downsizing and layoffs, and even top talent found themselves out of work. And among those that avoided layoffs, many weren’t interested in making a job change in an unstable job market. Seaman explained that during that time, most job-seekers felt “powerless” within the market. But now things are heating back up, and companies are hiring again–rapidly. As companies begin to compete for top talent again, many candidates are getting multiple offers. As this continues, we can expect that employers will have to make sure they are competitive in benefits, salary, perks, and flexibility to “win” the talent they need.

With the job market heating back up (and doing so quickly), having a strategic recruiting strategy is more important than ever. From my perspective, there is no better time for companies to consider outsourcing their recruitment. RPO’s in particular can provide scaleable recruiting solutions without the fixed costs associated with traditional talent acquisition models. It has been an interesting and ever-changing year in the world of talent, and I only expect that to continue as we move forward. I’m eager to see what the next year holds! 

Read LinkedIn’s article “What Should Job Seekers Expect as Companies Reopen?” below.  

What should job seekers expect as companies reopen?

The hiring process seemed to change in an instant in 2020 when the new coronavirus began shutting down communities around the world. Job offers and internships were rescinded. Open positions disappeared. Any in-person interviews moved online. Of course, the labor market also exploded with new talent as companies let go of workers.

Now that some countries are beginning to take early steps to reopen thanks to the help of vaccines and other public health measures, we should take a moment to examine the hiring process. Will anything change over the next few months? Are any of the pandemic-induced changes here to stay?

I reached out to recruiters across North America to see what job seekers should expect over the next few months. While I can’t showcase all of their responses, you can read them by clicking here.

Video interviews are here to stay

Video interviews had been part of the hiring process for years, but the technology was mostly used for initial conversations. COVID-19 forced companies to rely more heavily on video interviews for the entire hiring process. In many cases, people were hired during the pandemic for jobs without ever meeting in-person with a hiring manager or company representative — something that was relatively uncommon before 2020.

The reliance on video interviews is likely here to stay, according to the recruiters who responded to me. In fact, some say video interviews are working out better than in-person conversations. “The video conferences, interviews/orientations appears to be working well not to mention can be creative and fun,” wrote Toshia Brown, who is a recruiter.

The reason companies will continue to embrace video interviews as a large part of the hiring process is simple. Video interviews are much easier and cost-effective than flying in candidates for rounds of interviews. They can also speed up the hiring process.

Of course, don’t be surprised if you are eventually asked to come to an office for an in-person interview. “In-person interviews may become a best practice and preference for final round interviews, but the last year plus has shown it is definitely not a must for successful hiring,” wrote Melissa Severance, who is a career coach.  

An openness to remote working arrangements

Many companies are currently trying to strike a balance between in-office work and remote arrangements for their employees. Some employers believe in-person encounters are crucial to their business’s success. Others say it doesn’t hurt their bottom line and may even cut down on office costs.

Regardless, job seekers are likely to find that potential employers are more accepting of remote working arrangements than before the pandemic. In addition to many people enjoying the flexibility brought on by remote work, employers can also use the arrangement to woo top talent from outside their local areas.

“Firms that are at a competitive disadvantage in attracting local candidates will be able to attract higher quality candidates on a remote basis,” wrote Richard Fisher, who is an HR consultant.

In fact, some companies that won’t allow employees to work from home — at least part time — may find themselves at a disadvantage. A job seekers choosing between two or more similar offers may select the one that will allow him or her to work from home a few days a week than the offer from a company that requires them to be in an office every day.

“I think companies that choose to make their employees work onsite … are going to be at a disadvantage in the competition for top talent,” wrote Brent Rogers, who is a recruiter.

Job seekers will regain power in the hiring process

Job seekers have felt powerless for most of the pandemic. The general feeling was that so many people were out of work that companies had their pick of top talent for any open position. But that is starting to change.

A large portion of the recruiters who responded to me mentioned that competition for talent is heating up and it’s putting job seekers back in the driver’s seat. The result is that job seekers can ask for more during the hiring process instead of just accepting what’s offered.

“I am seeing the war for talent heating up right now,” wrote Chuck Klein, who is a recruiter. “Candidates are getting multiple job offers and our clients have needed to offer more than they planned.”

Of course, competition and all of these other trends rely heavily on industry-specific factors. 

For example, one talent professional wrote that his hiring process has remained in-person since he specializes in health care, but that’s not true for some of his colleagues. “I have seen many colleagues in other business sectors that are continuing to stay remote or transitioning into a hybrid model (3 days in office, 2 days WFH),” wrote Navid Gilane. “I have seen companies transition to full virtual interviewing, virtual hiring, and virtual training. They are going to keep it that way but again, this will depend on the nature of the business and their respected business needs.”

Success in fighting back the coronavirus is another factor that will affect these trends.

Sadly, some countries continue to see incredibly high COVID-19 infection rates that represent immeasurable pain — as we’re seeing in India and Brazil. In turn, the pandemic is still hitting some economies and job markets hard. There are reports in India that the hiring process is slowing to a near halt, for example.

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