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Recruiting Trends in the Pandemic

Updated: Feb 7

Woman holding a paper and looking at a laptop

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped many local and global systems, changing the world as we know it. As the pandemic forced much of the world into remote settings, many of us began to integrate platforms like Zoom, Flipgrid, Jamboard, and more into our daily lives. The implications of moving much of our lives online have also undoubtedly impacted the work scene; in the pandemic, many recruiting trends—along with job trends in general—have shifted and evolved.

Changes in Hiring: Virtual

After the pandemic forced much of our lives online, many more aspects of the job application and recruiting processes also moved online, including job fairs, interviews, surveys, and more. Virtual hiring, which became a necessity during remote conditions, has now had its many benefits recognized by companies and hiring managers. Notably, virtual hiring saves companies a lot more time and money, and as a result is likely to remain the standard even after it is no longer made “necessary” by the pandemic.

Changes in Hiring: Internal

Data from LinkedIn, which surveyed 1,518 professionals who “self-identified as working in a human resources/talent acquisition role or at a search and staffing agency,” shows that due to the onset of COVID-19, internal hires have become much more popular. To be specific, internal mobility has seen an increase of up to 20%. Amidst the pandemic, companies have found it more convenient and beneficial to hire from an already familiar workforce pool, especially since it requires a smaller budget. According to LinkedIn data, 50% of respondents expect to see a decrease in their recruiting budget. Companies are beginning to place emphasis on different parts of the recruiting process and candidate criteria, such as the ability to learn and develop skills. This means that, as a current employee for your company, you are in a good position to be a fresh candidate for things like promotions, team transfers, and more. No longer simply hiring new employees, businesses are now shifting to a work era involving more “borrowing.”

Evolution of Self-Branding

The pandemic has brought about many significant changes that have impacted the work and job application scenes, which has created an increased need for a different set of skills in candidates and employees—specifically the “soft skills.” Whereas candidates previously needed to demonstrate many “hard skills” in relevant areas, recruiters are now looking for skills like empathy, behavior, personality, values, etc. In an age of such uncertainty, how an employee would mesh into and contribute to the workplace culture is just as important as—if not more critical than—possessing the necessary tools to excel at the job technically. One of the most prized abilities in candidates, especially right now, is the ability to learn and adapt; more and more, recruiters are looking for adaptability and flexibility in hires, especially given how quickly things are subject to change during the pandemic.

The Importance of Diversity

Alongside looking for skills like adaptability and personal development, recruiters are also prioritizing diversity and inclusion, decision making, and HR strategy in candidates. The pandemic hit many companies hard and knocked them down to square one in some regards, meaning that during this time, companies are looking for ways to efficiently and productively build themselves back up. As a result, recruiters, whose main responsibility is to serve as a bridge between the hiring department of companies and their other HR departments and needs, are beginning to prioritize soft skills like diversity, decision-making, flexibility, and more.

The hiring process is constantly evolving, and recruiting trends are never static; as the world changes under the influence of the pandemic, so too will the wants and needs of companies—specifically the needs of hiring departments. As companies emerge from the worst of the pandemic, they will be on the lookout for these traits in a candidate, and as a job applicant, you can expect the recruiting process to look something like this. Above all, stay true to yourself, and present the best self you can be regardless of which role you end up working. Especially right now, you never know whether that might lead to something more!


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