If you had asked a high-flying Account Manager, a Recruiter that has never failed to hit target, or even a hotshot Product Manager in the leisure & tourism industry at the corporate Christmas party a couple of months ago, what are the chances that they would all be out of a job by the end of March due to a worldwide virus - they probably would have asked how many G&T’s you had knocked-back.
And yet, what feels totally out of the blue is now a stark reality. Job markets internationally are feeling the heat. In some industries, business resilience to carry them through any adversity is not as bulletproof as first thought. Business-owners are now desperately trying to balance the books and reassure staff that the core professions of time gone by will always remain timeless however grand or petit the pay-scale.
Indeed, while scrolling through LinkedIn today, my news feed is now aflush with professionals asking their networks for help in finding their next gig within their chosen industry or other statements of positivity within this troubling sea of deep uncertainty.
One post I came across was a post from a HR Manager who like thousands across the UK had one morning woken up to the gut-wrenching news that they were to be made redundant due to the newest c-word.
What struck me was that Instead of going down the approach of reaching out to her network and listing her wealth of skills and experience - usually akin to a fruit-vendor on a Saturday market-stall - the tact they took instead was to explain how they had taken on one of thousands of temporary positions made available by the supermarkets who simply do not have the staff to meet demand whether that be re-stocking in the evening to pushing items through the till to opening and locking-up.
Instead of feeling like it could be months before the tide turns, this professional took the initiative to not only help out for a good cause but also to continue earning money in a sector where the current demand is. The post was a subtle cry for the many others who are out of a job to do the same.
Volume hiring is still happening but needs careful consideration
The beauty of the LinkedIn post is it is a reminder that despite the doom and gloom, there are other employers who are crying out for thousands upon thousands of workers, as detailed in this BBC post.
These are companies whom the UK Government has deemed to offer an essential service and are now scrambling to fill unanticipated vacancies in high volumes. Doing this requires an appreciation for the power of recruitment technology in helping rapidly hire reputable employees and get them onto the frontline, preferably quicker than it takes to make a cup of tea. Well maybe not that quick!
But, these recruiters are under pressure to batten down the hatches and brace themselves for a tsunami of applications that will test even the best recruitment process. The need to speed up the process between initial application to onboarding a candidate is the determining factor of how good their individual recruitment process is.
On average there are 91 touchpoints between a candidate submitting their application and giving their nod of approval in terms of accepting a job that a hiring manager will need to action, effectively slowing down the time in which eager applicants coming from every walk of life during this crisis could be serving on the frontline.
As heroic as it one of these roles being filled is, there are no guarantees that a chosen candidate will stay long enough to make a difference even if they had originally applied for a temporary-posting, meaning the prerogative for any essential-business during this pandemic is for the individual to be the right fit both culturally and ethically. The risk that emerges is they may not stay for the duration needed to make a valued impact.
While the vast majority of essential businesses such as supermarkets and pharmacies from Land’s End to John O’Groats will all have a basic ATS-system that will to some extent speed up their recruitment process over the following months many will no doubt either be unable to handle the sheer number of applications coming through the pipelines on a weekly basis or lose out on the best candidates for the role as they assess other options, creating something of a vicious circle.
Going back to our friend the HR-professional, who two weeks ago would have been applying to many of the essential businesses still actively recruiting, an ATS-system without Intelligent automation functionality would potentially fail to categorise them as a star-candidate due to their people, organisational and social skills meaning that they could have been either shunted or their application left sitting in the rafters due to a lack of intelligent selection capabilities.
Companies with technology for volume hiring already in place could ensure that talent moves from application to a scheduled interview in just 35-minutes; from application to hire in three days; and from application to rehire in just five-minutes for those returning to their former positions. An absolute essential if the current pandemic continues for the foreseeable future. Crucially this has a focus on quality so as to bring in the right person for the role overcoming hiring manager pressures to just accept any old Tom, Dick and Harry.
Other than increasing their time to hire, a company applying Intelligent Automation would be empowered to conduct anonymous screening in terms of leveraging bulk processing, reducing gender and personalised bias. They can also engage earlier with promising candidates and manage scheduling for heavy interview days.
Indeed, leveraging technology for volume recruitment would also guarantee a greater selection of applicants being selected with the right skills needed to perform more specific tasks with technology able to automatically map qualified candidates against the talent DNA of top performers and offer recommendations meaning that hiring managers can fast-track the right talent rather than lose out to a competitor.
The HR professional posted again describing her first day with a photo beamng from their seat on the checkout counter. Their status text is a lesson for us all:, “We should all look to broaden our skillsets and seeking out experiences that we never thought we would go through.” Indeed, this could be said both hiring manager and applicant alike, brace change and go with the direction of the wind.