With almost all aspects of life feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, what will it be like to job hunt in the coming years and what positives can be taken from how we’ve adapted recruitment?

Pausing recruitment
One of the initial responses to lockdown was hiring freezes and who can blame employers. Most sectors faced financial uncertainty and could not commit to new personnel when the majority of staff were either told to work from home or put on furlough leave. A concern of widespread hiring freezes is that management redistributes work and makes do with existing headcount or even smaller teams, often overloading employees. However, now that many workplaces are returning or seeing good results from home working, there is hope of post COVID expansions with big ambitions to make up for lost time.

Hiring from home
For those companies who’ve continued hiring, methods have changed dramatically. An initial telephone or video call and even final stage video interviews have been common practice to avoid as much risk as possible and online assessments are also on the rise. Although many would argue that you “just can’t get a feel for personality fit” on a video call, moving interviews away from traditional hand shaking and confident body language can give candidates more of an equal chance, presenting them for their true merits and even removing some elements of unconscious bias. Hearing the kids in the background is now funny small talk instead of unfair presumptions about reliability and longevity. 

Utilising technology
With every new generation we see more love for technology. Millennials now dominate the workforce, Generation Z are starting to emerge and they work in very different ways to their older colleagues. Both younger generations prefer less face to face and telephone contact when it comes to new people and use tech to speed up and improve every aspect of their lives. Making the most of these strengths is key to maximising their potential at work and the way we’ve had to use tech during covid-19 should stick around when hiring them. They’re comfortable on video calls and perform well on (the right kind of) online assessments/projects which saves everyone time, gives accurate insights into capabilities/work ethic and again cuts down on bias.

The lasting effects
Many traditional sectors like construction and property have always been old boys’ clubs, dictated by “who you know, not what you know”. This culture has been called out in recent years and fairer training opportunities, recruitment processes and management structures all have their part to play if long term change can be achieved. We’re currently seeing the world adapting, utilising technology and embracing a better sense of community, all positive movements that could help towards more diverse hiring.

Ensuring positive change
When working towards an inclusive recruitment process, believe that CVs aren’t the be all and end all, offer different interview formats to help candidates feel at ease, source online assessments that measure more than grammar and excel formula (because we all use spell check and online tutorials) and mix up interview panels to get more varied opinions and less “Oh I used to work there! Is Andrew still in accounting?!”. There is no quick fix to solve the deep routed inequalities that still exist in job opportunities and career progression but recent learning experiences could get us on the right path.

Jenny Dines AIRP
Marketing & Comms Volunteer and Recruitment Manager