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For Recruiters, the “New Normal” Is Virtual


For Recruiters, the “New Normal” Is Vi …

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By Paul Terranova
Editor, MindEdge Learning

Contrary to popular belief, the new normal is already here—and it’s virtual.

Talent acquisition teams have launched a new era in hiring and recruitment, one that is highly digital and tailored to align organizational goals with employees’ needs.

Although many organizations began adopting virtual hiring tools and practices before 2020, the pandemic has drastically accelerated their use. As the first quarter of 2021 comes to a close, there is little indication that these recruiting trends and practices will stop evolving this year and beyond. Organizations that want to attract top talent must be able to compete in this new and continuously transforming environment.

Virtual Recruiting for the Long Term

The pandemic has encouraged and, in some cases, forced organizations to adopt virtual recruiting strategies. One result: a drastic reduction (and, in some cases, elimination) of geographic barriers. New communication technologies now allow many organizations to recruit and hire high-quality candidates regardless of where they live. Even as COVID-19 vaccines become more available to the public, recruiting experts predict that many all-remote and hybrid workforce models will be made permanent. And that means recruiters must become comfortable finding candidates and potential applicants online.

While virtual recruiting provides organizations with access to more candidates, recruiters face new challenges of reincorporating human touches into the system and sorting through larger talent pools. Recruiters can improve efficiency by employing software systems that use artificial intelligence (AI) to filter data quickly and automate repetitive, process-driven tasks. This allows recruiters to decide which interactions should be virtual and which should be in-person. It also helps them establish and build personal connections with potential employees, and be more available to respond to questions and comments.

Increase Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

According to a 2020 LinkedIn survey of 1,518 human resources and talent acquisition professionals, 77 percent view diversity as being critical to the future of recruiting. But that same study showed that almost half (47 percent) of survey respondents believe that hiring managers do not try hard enough to interview a diverse slate of candidates. With that in mind, efforts to increase diversity have been one of the biggest areas of focus for many organizations going into 2021. And, with so many changes to the labor market in the past year, recruiters can lead their organizations’ diversity efforts.

Recruitment teams that adopt inclusive hiring strategies benefit from larger and more competitive candidate pools, increased social awareness, and a broader range of skills from team members. In addition to job boards and online communities that help candidates from underrepresented groups find positions, recruiters should examine the construction and presentation of their job descriptions. Regardless of whether the organization wants to cast a narrow or wide net, distinguishing between required and preferred qualifications and using inclusive language will make it easier to generalize areas in which skills are transferable. Building interview panels with a diverse array of team members helps recruiters evaluate candidates holistically and appreciate the strengths and diversity that each one could bring to the organization.

Adjust Employer Branding to Reflect the New Normal

Effective recruitment strategies will increasingly demand a focus on employer branding. According to the LinkedIn survey, candidates are looking for organizations to take stronger stances on social issues and to comment on current events. Rather than showcase and advertise the organization’s products and perks, marketing materials should more often publicize the company’s efforts to understand and support employees, customers, and communities during times of economic and social hardship.

Candidates’ impressions of an organization are still heavily influenced by interactions with recruiters. These interactions are an opportunity for recruiters to advertise the benefits, employee resources, climate, and flexible work arrangements that the organization offers. When done well, recruiter presentations can completely transform how candidates think about an organization’s brand identity.

These strategies will be ineffective, though, if the organization does not accurately reflect its brand identity. Employer branding must be honest about the organization’s strengths and how it will work to improve in the future. To get an accurate picture of its brand identity, an organization can administer surveys to see whether employees’ perceptions of the organization reflect the brand message. If this feedback reveals discrepancies, leadership can address them, or else adjust the brand message so that talent acquisition professionals can recruit effectively.

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