From applicant tracking software to remote interviews and evaluations, there has been no shortage of technological advancements within recruiting in recent years, yet adoption has remained relatively slow — until now.
The pandemic has taken its toll on individuals, businesses, and society at large, but it has also highlighted the digitization gap in how companies recruit for talent and proven a much-needed catalyst for change.
Now that recruiters have gotten accustomed to these more efficient digital solutions, many have come to recognize their value and are unlikely to revert back. Such widespread adoption is poised to improve recruiting moving forward by enhancing productivity, customer service, communication, business analysis, and reporting.
Recruiting has always been a people-oriented business, often optimizing for a personal touch over efficiency gains. For example, employers typically preferred meeting candidates face-to-face, even if it was more time consuming and costly than remote alternatives.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, only 3.4% of the American workforce worked remotely, according to a 2019 study conducted by FlexJobs. That number rose to 51% in April of 2020, and nearly 42% were still telecommuting in December. However, the sudden change is likely to become permanent; a recent study by Gartner found that 82% of employers would allow their staff to work remotely at least some of the time moving forward.
The switch to remote work presents several challenges to recruiters, as well as opportunities. Candidates now have a much larger pool of options to consider, but so do recruiters. Canadian employers will likely find themselves competing more aggressively against American and international employers in the coming years, especially in the highly sought after IT and healthcare sectors.
Our traditional understanding of employment is also being shaken up in many profound ways, requiring recruiters to rethink their staffing strategies. For example, employers are being asked to reassess their nine-to-five work schedule, accommodate candidates and employees across time zones, and pursue more equitable recruiting practices to enhance diversity and inclusion. A new generation of candidates, many of whom were raised on mobile technology, also expect to manage all aspects of their lives digitally. That includes searching for a new job, working through the interview process, and ultimately managing their careers.
As a result, the latest tools available to recruiters are no longer nice to have but a competitive necessity. Technology is now a vital aspect of the new normal of employment. Those who do not embrace them risk missing out on qualified candidates, especially those with unique, high-demand skillsets.
Despite these challenges, however, there is a wide array of benefits to this new normal. For example, scheduling and interviewing candidates is significantly more efficient using video conferencing and remote evaluation tools than traditional in-person meetings. The time companies spend setting up and running these interviews has also been reduced considerably. It is estimated that the average company can save $11,000 per year for each remote employee.
Employers that embrace remote recruiting, onboarding, and working tools can also expand their candidate searches beyond the surrounding area. This transition will enable employers to optimize for skills rather than location, and tap into a much more diverse candidate pool. Furthermore, candidates no longer have to leave their current job or sneak away for an interview during work hours by offering remote interviews.
In the coming years, we expect to see a wide array of new tools and solutions that facilitate a better and more streamlined recruiting process. Now that recruiters are accustomed to these new technologies, they are more ready and eager to embrace whatever innovations come next.