How to find the right candidate in an employer-driven market

By Robert Half on 18 July 2020

While job losses in Australia, and worldwide, have been an unfortunate consequence of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, it has also meant that the job market has seen a significant increase in the number of candidates actively searching for new roles.

As more businesses reopen, having access to a larger talent pool will be an advantage for those that need to hire quickly. But it will also present a challenge insofar as many newly advertised positions are likely to attract a large volume of applicants, who’ll need to be individually vetted.

For companies that aren’t accustomed to sorting through a high volume of resumes, a key challenge will be making sure the hiring process can identify the right skills, knowledge and experience in a timely manner – often while working with a reduced HR team or hiring budget.

Here are some tips for how to find the right candidate for a job in this new environment.

Focus on business agility

As more parts of the economy re-open, many companies are likely to be focusing on rehiring activities to maintain business continuity and kick off new growth initiatives. To keep the business agile during times of rapid change, staff are also likely to be reassigned to key operations and projects.

While technical skills will remain important, it’s people skills – or soft skills – which will prove most vital in many roles, due to their importance in managing change and opening up new strategic business opportunities. To succeed, companies are looking for top candidates who can adapt to an ever-evolving workplace, and are able to continuously update and refresh their skills.

Soft skills such as flexibility, adaptability, resilience and resourcefulness should therefore be considered high priorities by hiring managers when they embark on finding the right candidate . Hiring managers will need to tailor not just their job ads, but also their resume screening process, interview questions, and other key parts of their candidate sourcing and hiring journey to assess these competencies amidst this new reality.

The sharp rise in working from home has helped to fast-track digital transformation efforts, as companies seek to become more resilient against future disruptions. Expert knowledge with these vital technology functions will also assist hiring managers with finding the right candidate. This includes adding tech-savviness as a requisite in job ads and testing such knowledge during the interview phase.

Consider your options: Contract and temporary hiring can also provide a flexible workforce

A recent Gartner survey found that 32 per cent of employers are replacing full-time employees with temporary and contract staff, to save costs and achieve more flexibility in their workforce management.

Businesses will need to be aware of what the available talent pipelines can offer, keeping in mind candidates’ expectations and availability. Hiring managers will need offer interesting projects and job flexibility to attract contractors, whilst hiring permanent staff will often call for effective remote onboarding, attractive benefits and internal career growth opportunities.

Be sure to consider all options during your search and hiring process, as candidates’ circumstances, needs and expectations might have changed since the pre-COVID era.

Call in the help of experts

A big aspect of knowing how to find the right candidate for a job is finding the time and resources to process what could be hundreds of applications for each role. Many companies will be working with reduced HR staff and budgets, putting them under pressure to balance increased hiring activities with general day-to-day tasks that keep the business ticking along.

Establishing a relationship with a reputable recruiter can help you find skilled professionals should you have an immediate need, particularly if you’re looking for flexible temporary and contract professionals.

A recruiter can also make sure that the appropriate reference checks are performed with each candidate, keeping in mind that there may be reasons other than COVID-19 as to why employees left previous roles. Additionally, a recruiter can leverage their market knowledge to help you determine an appropriate compensation and benefits package. This is critical given that if businesses don’t continue to pay competitively, they risk losing candidates the moment the market changes again.

Finding the right candidate for the job: choosing the right digital tools in a global talent marketplace

The final piece of the puzzle is making sure you have the right tools to assess and interview candidates, given that much of the hiring process is likely to continue to be done remotely as many hiring managers will continue to work from home.

As remote recruiting and onboarding become the new normal, companies will have access to a wider talent pool, going beyond their local area – potentially taking it to a national or international level. As such, organisations will need to invest in appropriate virtual office tools, along with HR software which can handle large numbers of remote candidates.

While an employer-driven market is good news for companies that need to staff up quickly, making sure you have the right tools and resources to select the right candidates remains important – especially when business conditions can continue to change quickly.

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