Andy Ingham, Senior Vice President, EMEA and APAC, Bullhorn, discusses the benefits and challenges of hybrid working and how this is shaping the future of recruitment.
Any industry leader is awake to the fact that they must constantly improve their tools and processes in order to grow. It is no surprise, then, that the UK’s highest-performing recruitment teams were already making full use of available technology to boost results before the pandemic.
Now, as the jobs market recovers strongly, it is abundantly clear that there is a significant talent shortage across a number of sectors. Many people changed careers or chose to retire during lockdown, while thousands of overseas workers who returned home when the crisis began have not returned.
This has reignited the war for the best talent in areas where there are particularly acute skill shortages. Most notable at the moment is the lack of engineers, health and social care workers and HGV drivers. In October, the Office for National Statistics reported that the number of job vacancies hit a record high, with opportunities peaking at 1.1 million between July and September, as the economy recovered faster than expected after lockdown. The largest increase in vacancies was in the retail sector and motor vehicle repair.
Meanwhile, candidate behaviour has changed and with job opportunities at a high point, they have much more choice and control. The power dynamic has shifted to a candidate-driven market, just as the hybrid working model has become more commonplace.
Businesses’ hiring strategies must adapt to accommodate all these changes, including broadening their approaches to the exercise – such as identifying talent in different geographies and demographics.
It means they need to re-evaluate the role recruitment technology can play in helping them achieve their hiring goals in today’s hyper-competitive atmosphere. Doing so is crucial if they are to work effectively and at pace and scale.
By focusing on three key steps, recruiters can realize their objectives in a demanding, combative hiring landscape.
Capitalize on the growth of mobile recruitment apps
According to our recent research, more candidates (52%) use mobile devices than others to look for jobs. A further 57% reported that they find it important to be able to apply for jobs directly through their phones.
This underlines the fact that mobile recruitment apps are becoming ever more important, especially for organizations that employ large numbers of contractors or shift-based workers, where candidates need to ‘self-serve’ more – applying for specific shifts or contracted roles independently, without involving a recruiter.
Industries that would particularly benefit from this approach include engineering, hospitality, retail, care services, factory and warehousing, logistics and haulage and facilities management.
Where mobile experiences can be highly personalized to the individual, candidate loyalty is boosted, and redeployment rates increased. Meanwhile, organizations can accelerate their hiring efforts as the ‘busy work’ is taken away from recruiters.
Employ data to improve targeting, tracking and engagement
Data is the greatest weapon in any recruiter’s arsenal, especially in the current tumultuous jobs environment. Here, moving quickly and making the right decisions first time every time are imperative to hire at pace for challenging roles.
Perhaps the most important route is using data intelligence to understand candidate engagement. Which jobseekers are interacting with which roles, through which platforms and when? By using this knowledge, the successful recruiter can put the right opportunities in front of them at precisely the right time.
Having a more comprehensive data strategy helps the best practitioners build fuller candidate profiles. A good applicant tracking system (ATS) allows them to build a detailed personal profile, complete with education, skills, qualifications and employment history – and then track their engagements with that candidate over the course of a professional relationship.
The key takeaway is that by using an ATS to measure engagement with jobseekers, the recruiter puts themself in the best position to identify their current weaknesses; keep an eye on how their talent pool is growing and changing; and measure which engagement methods will be the most effective going forward.
And, of course, ATS data should also be cross-referenced with intelligence from other key sources, such as email, social media and job website interactions.
Deploy automation to help scale recruitment efforts
The crucial measure of success for many recruiters in today’s highly pressured employment services isn’t simply sourcing and placing the right candidate. It’s being able to do so efficiently at scale – especially given that the jobs market now is ripe for them to add value for clients.
Speed and efficiency of the recruitment process also matter to candidates – with our research revealing that 42% of them say that it is one of the factors they value most highly when working with a recruiter.
It makes sense, then, for professionals to try to pinpoint the areas of the recruitment lifecycle where they can add the most value – the human touch – and use automation to streamline the more ‘back office’, routine, time-consuming elements.
For example, functions such as initial candidate sourcing and screening can be managed increasingly by drafting in automation. This enables recruitment teams to scale their operations significantly and boost overall hiring productivity.
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In it for the long term
While the jobs landscape is likely to settle down and rebalance eventually, if we have learned one thing over the last couple of years, it’s that we live in an uncertain world. Future unforeseen events and economic drivers are likely to return us to candidate shortages again in the future.
It pays dividends, then, always to explore and invest in technology that guards against these uncertainties and turns them into opportunities.