Talent Acquisition during and after COVID: The future of recruitment

A brand new year is upon us and with it we begin to see a possible end to the shadow of COVID-19. The past year has forced a litany of changes to the business world, many of which look set to become the new norm even after our social lives can return to being, well, social.

Remote working has become the new standard for many businesses, and even post-COVID a huge number of organisations across many industries will undoubtedly continue with this practice, at least part time. So the overwhelming majority of office-based compared to home-based professionals of pre-pandemic life will very likely shift quite drastically in the other direction. While this offers many benefits, it will also bring it’s share of challenges, particularly from the perspective of talent acquisition.

Recruitment as an industry has had its ups and downs over the years, with both good and not so good practices coming to the forefront at various times. The last few years however have definitely been showing a very positive turn in a good few companies, with far more emphasis on the candidate themselves rather than the credentials. Face-to-face, personal and professionally conducted interviews make all the difference to both prospective jobseekers and professionals looking for a change. The practice of “looking beyond the CV” was - rightly - being adopted and evolved by more and more recruiters. And then COVID happened.

Obviously face-to-face interviews were a no-go from the very start of the lockdown series, but that wasn’t the end of the world, as a species we seemed to adapt astonishingly well to the move to video meetings in place of close quarters interactions. But then a rather damaging trend began to take off, as it has done in a number of industries, but few more prevalently than talent acquisition. The trend of automation.

On paper, automating the recruitment process is brilliant, why waste time sifting through CVs and applications when a computer could do it for you? Why interview anyone except the few who get through to the final stage and prove themselves worthy of interaction with an actual human? Because computers are not as smart as we like to think. Calculating probabilities and risk factors to minute detail might sound great, but the reality is there is far more to the vast majority of jobs, roles and professions than an algorithm or series of tick-boxes could ever identify.

Looking beyond the CV is the only way to truly assess a candidate’s suitability. Of course at times mistakes will be made, but without those how can we be expected to learn and evolve? The danger of full or even wide-scale automation in the recruitment industry is that potentially excellent candidates will be missed or disregarded because they don’t quite hit all the approval points for the computer system reviewing them. Being able to speak frankly and personally to a prospective candidate allows a much clearer insight into their personality, their aspirations and what drives them. And ALL of these things are absolutely imperative to an employer, or should be, because without these things an employee is just a drone at a desk. Businesses who hire candidates that are a good personal fit, have the right kind of drive and motivation and who share a similar ethos will continue to evolve and grow and are far more likely to see a happy, lively and efficient workforce than counterparts who rely fully on automation to pick their staff.

As we move into the future, it’s clear that automation and AI will play a significant role in a great many industries, and that will no doubt be both exciting and exceedingly efficient in many areas. For the human-centric aspects of business however, specifically in this case the management and acquisition of personnel, a human approach and a focus on the individual candidate in all their Homo-sapien glory is by far the more practical and effective method. So to the recruiters and talent acquisition teams who stick to personal interaction and to looking beyond the CV, keep it up. You are the future of successful recruitment, not the computers.

How does your business see it’s recruitment process evolving in the future? Do you envision a personal, informative and effective application and interview process for your potential candidates? Or do you expect to pass the acquisition of potential talent fully over to your automated systems?

The Talent Partnership will continue to champion the human factor and make sure that a misprint on a CV or less-obvious transferable skill set doesn’t get in the way of landing the right talent in the right place.

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