Much has changed in the employment marketplace and the job market since the beginning of the year. This, of course, has mirrored what has happened across the country and throughout the entire world since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
What’s been more challenging about the changes in the employment marketplace is that those changes are still in the process of playing out. The market is still very much in flux, with an abundance of uncertainty and a lack of concrete strategies for meeting these challenges.
So what has changed, what is changing, and what might still change in the future?
#1—The interviewing and hiring process has (largely) gone virtual.
This was an inevitable development. However, it has become a challenging development for a number of reasons. First of all, this not a situation with which anybody has experience. There is no precedent upon which people can draw for guidance. Second, the way in which organizations have reacted to the pandemic and lockdowns have varied. One reason for this is that states have imposed varying levels of restrictions, even states that are right next to each other geographically.
What’s occurred is that employers and job candidates have been thrust into situations to which they are not accustomed. The result has bordered on chaos and confusion, at least initially. While things have calmed down and a measure of order has been restored, the marketplace could be considered anywhere close to “normal.” However, some organizations have seized the opportunity to evolve through the crisis and employ fresh strategies and tactics, including making an offer of employment to a candidate they have not met in person. Necessity is the mother of invention, and there has been plenty of both the former and the latter during the past nine months.
#2—Employers are now competing against the virus itself when hiring.
Anything that prevents a company or organization from hiring the candidates that it wants to hire should be considered competition for that company. For example, if a candidate’s spouse is against the idea of relocating and that candidate turns down a job offer, the candidate’s spouse is considered competition. The same goes for a candidate’s current employer. If the candidate decides to stay at their employer instead of exploring other employment opportunities or accepts a counter-offer, then their employer is considered competition.
The same goes for the COVID-19 virus. There are many top candidates in the marketplace right now that will not explore other employment opportunities until the pandemic subsides. In fact, some of them will not even consider other opportunities until a vaccine has been developed and widely distributed. These candidates are now in “hunker down” mode, which makes it more difficult for employers to recruit and hire them.
#3—Employer branding has become (even more) important.
What’s the bottom line with all of this? Employer branding has never been more important in the employment marketplace than it is right now. The reason is simple. Top candidates want to know if a company or organization “has its act together” during the COVID-19 pandemic. They want to know if the company is treating its employees right, if it’s being flexible in the face of the crisis, and if it emerges as a leader during these times.
Employer branding is particularly important during the interview process. How an organization handles interviews during the pandemic will tell job candidates a lot about the internal workings of that company and what it would be like to work there. That’s why it’s critical to communicate properly during the interview process. In fact, you should strive to over-communicate all of the details associated with the interview, especially the logistics. This will not only brand your organization in a positive way, but it will also help to allay any fears or concerns that candidates have about the process.
What kind of message are you sending to candidates in the marketplace through your branding efforts? What kind of message are you sending to candidates who are already in your hiring process and are deciding whether or not a position with your company is the next best move in the career?
Hiring the right candidates has not become easier since the COVID-19 pandemic began. When it comes to top talent, hiring those candidates has become more difficult. As a result, it’s crucial to be more proactive in terms of hiring and increase your efforts in both recruiting and employer branding.
If not, then the ever-changing landscape will continue to present more challenges and greater obstacles to hiring the very best candidates in the employment marketplace.