In my experience, March 2020 marked a precipitous drop in recruiting for two months. Most of my clients put jobs on hold or slowed down the recruiting process as they implemented new processes for interviewing and onboarding new hires. Once June hit, companies began to ramp up cautiously. Some companies handled the recruiting process well and switched to Zoom and met outside for the final team interviews in the summer. Others struggled. On one retained search for a VP/GM role I filled, the finalist had to do 18 interviews. This was not their standard practice, but they were trying to keep a manufacturing plan on-line and safe. Now as we emerge a year later, with better guidance from the CDC and hard work from HR teams, there is a more normal recruiting process.
What will a post covid hiring environment look like?
Biospace just released their survey on hiring in the post covid environment. According to their survey, 68% of HR/ talent acquisition specialists surveyed said they still expect an increase in open roles for 2021. The problem is that workers who were interested in new positions before the pandemic are staying put. According to those surveyed, only 54% of professionals are likely to look for work. That is down from 78% in 2020. Nearly 50% of life science people will not be actively looking for new work in 2021. That is a big deal.
How does this manifest? In my experience, many professionals have been balancing remote learning for their children and cannot imagine taking on a new job. Some candidates have seniority at their current company which allows for more flexible remote work schedules. They have already formed relationships with their team and do not relish the idea of trying to plug into a new job and foster new relationships thru Zoom. Others just want to take vacations and travel.
So what to do about this? Tell a better story and work harder.
Clearly focusing on the company’s story and what they offer potential employees is key. I spend a lot of time really getting to know my client, their team and the opportunity then I leverage my marketing and sales skills to capture a candidate’s attention. Believe me, you only have the first call to get it right. Having a recruiting partner in 2021 who really is an extension of the company and can present the job in the best way is going to be a huge competitive advantage in this tight labor market.
Secondly, work harder and have the right network. In the past half year, I have had to build a much bigger candidate pipeline because the hit ratio of converting them to an active interviewer is lower than former years. I find that I need to be even more specific about the networking channels I use and that I must reach out to many more people to fill a role than in previous years.
The good news is I have been successful adapting and many companies have been too. Together we are more apt to offer flexible schedules and remote work to close candidates. The economy seems to be in K shaped recovery and I am grateful to work in the life sciences segment that is on the upward growth line.
If you need help recruiting, just call.