Rebounding through recruitment: How to attract talent in times of crisis

Periods of turbulence allow us to recognize the importance of having the right talent in place – innovative, resilient, and agile team members – to ensure the sustainability of an organization. At the beginning of the pandemic, companies were focused on surviving and adapting. Now, five months later, the key is to ensure this transformation continues at the same pace while aligning with changes to the workplace.

A critical part of this transformation is ensuring that you have a long-term strategic approach to workforce planning. If this is currently lacking in your organization, you should prioritize a strategy as soon as possible because the current environment is quite conducive to recruiting. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

There is a truce in the war for talent

With the economy slowing down, the famous war for talent is on hold. There is less competition in the market, which offers smaller companies the chance to recruit talent that was once unattainable.

Candidate pools are wide open

The pool of available talent has significantly increased in several ways. First, massive layoffs have occurred impacting talent across many sectors, levels, and functions. Second, since the work environment has freed itself from physical boundaries and shifted to remote work and technology, organizations are no longer forced to recruit locally and can look for candidates in new markets. Third, this major economic pause has allowed people to step back and reflect on their career paths and where they want to go next. For example, some employees may be disappointed with their employer’s crisis management and are waiting for the right opportunity to change jobs.

Retirement plans have been accelerated

The labour shortage before the crisis was a predictable phenomenon. Baby boomers were gradually retiring and making room for other generations to take over. But now, this process has been expedited as individuals who planned to retire within the next few years have decided (or been strongly encouraged by their organization) to retire prematurely.

To ensure sustainability under this new model, it will be essential to implement or accelerate succession planning and leadership development. This requires organizations to look ahead and develop a long-term vision. The current uncertainty may dampen this momentum, but it is important not to lose sight.  By conducting an analysis of your current talent, you can see any skill gaps that exist and create plans to fill them. This can be done internally through reskilling and upskilling or externally by recruiting new talent to the organization (see our previous blog post on why right now is a good time to hire.)

Compensation will no longer be the #1 factor in considering a new position

Over the past five months, many employees have discovered and recognized the benefits of working remotely: less commuting, more family time, flexibility, etc. It is therefore important for organizations to recognize the paradigm shift that is taking place before our eyes. Organizations and employees alike will need to develop their agility and flexibility to operate in this new workplace. Corporate culture will have to be well thought out, kept top of mind, and communicated appropriately. Knowing a candidates’ core values will be essential when assessing their fit with the organizational culture.

The recruitment process will have to adjust to current market realities

Since the beginning of the crisis, our search experts have had to adjust their process and partner with clients to find a solution that works for their needs. For example, several organizations have experienced a hiring freeze but did not want to lose momentum on the work done so far. To overcome this, our team has developed a phased approach. This technique has allowed several clients to continue their searches while respecting corporate guidelines. Some were able to carry out in the first phase: review all potential candidates in the market. Others were able to go to the second phase: analysis of all candidates to create a shortlist of individuals. Finally, a few organizations were able to begin the third phase: meeting the candidates virtually, conducting behavioral assessments, and completing references and educational checks. The important thing to remember during this phased process is to maintain high levels of communication between the organization and candidates to keep their interest alive despite the unusual and slow process.

There is a focus on transferable skills

When we think of transferable skills, we often envision technical or hard skills and look in the typical candidate pools to find them. However, in the current climate organizations must think outside the box and embrace the talent that possesses soft skills such as the ability to embrace change, thrive in chaos, mobilize teams, or exercise positive leadership. It can be difficult for some organizations to broaden their vision of recruitment on their own and understand which skills they require. Therefore, it is highly recommended to call on external consultants who are unbiased. In addition, a successful recruitment process includes a well-conducted psychometric assessment that helps to understand an individual’s behavioural preferences and the complexity of their personality traits. This kind of assessment allows organizations to base hiring decisions on science. At Optimum Talent, our experts rely on SuccessFinder assessments, where the accuracy remains unmatched in the market.

Although many organizations are reluctant to pursue their current recruitment strategy, the investment is likely to be highly profitable in the future. The organizations that will rebound from the crisis are those that have been able to add the right talent at the right time.

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