No industry was left untouched by the drastic shifts in employment and the ever-changing expectations of the workforce over the last year. Staffing firms have faced an unpredictable outlook while managing staffing strategy disruptions caused by hiring holds and slowed hiring processes among clients.
Shifting to fully virtual recruiting and hiring methods proved challenging for many companies, creating more opportunities for staffing pros over the last year. Still, a great deal of effort has gone into ensuring clients’ open roles are filled as the market shifts again and again.
Obstacles impeding traditional communication methods, realigning roles, redefining job descriptions, and identifying new staffing KPIs have caused consistent disruptions. However, the most adaptable staffing strategies have pulled clients and staffing teams through the impacts of the pandemic successfully.
Here’s a look at some of the changes that have caused disruptions in the last year and how your staffing team can create a solid but agile strategy to stay on track moving forward:
The talent pool is brimming with picky talent
The job market has been a rollercoaster for the better part of the last two years. Following a record-long low unemployment streak, the pandemic forced over 200,000 businesses to close their doors, according to an April 2021 Federal Reserve study. In the upswing, the market has flooded with displaced talent. The catch is candidates have new expectations.
More people want to work virtually than ever before. And because businesses have proven it’s possible to function with remote workforces, it’s harder to get many candidates on board with companies returning to traditional in-office roles. The trick is in the way you source and attract talent–that means going back to the basics.
You don’t want to draw in talent looking for a specific work environment and waste valuable time in the screening process only to find they refuse your clients’ offers. Be specific about where and how you post open jobs. And make sure job descriptions make it very clear if remote work is not an option.
In today’s virtual age, many candidates expect flexible work options and assume if an employer doesn’t post job location specifics, remote work is a possibility. Avoid wasting time or letting anyone down by being clear about expectations on both accounts.
Similarly, you need to be sure the talent you’re screening for clients’ remote roles are a good fit for autonomous work and are likely to be satisfied with adapting to a virtual company culture. Consider adding a survey to your talent sourcing process to identify candidates looking for remote work opportunities vs. those who want to return to the physical office environment.
Reach out to interested candidates accordingly. They will be more responsive to deliberate outreach from staffing pros who seem in tune with their needs. Creating direct channels to the talent that wants to apply to clients’ open roles removes a lot of the confusion and noise created by blind talent sourcing techniques.
Remote or return-to-work: clients haven’t decided
Remote work vs. return to the office? This question has kept many clients’ growth strategies in limbo over the last year. And the impacts on your staffing process are exhausting. It’s nearly impossible to recruit the right candidates and prepare them for work in their new company without knowing the environment in which they can expect to work.
Fortunately, despite the impacts of the global pandemic on businesses, reentrants to the labor force increased by approximately 200k in August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means you have plenty of fresh new talent to screen and place.
It’s going to be tricky if you can’t promote jobs based on remote and on-location details. However, many of the requirements for these roles will remain the same. If you’re looking for soft skills that are suitable regardless of the work environment, you’re more likely to place talent that will be successful no matter the outcome.
Be very specific when asking clients for information about their workflow. For example, what apps and tools should candidates be familiar with or easily trained on for both in-office and virtual positions? How does communication differ between employees in the office and those who work remotely? What strategies are in place to streamline communication between the team members?
Determine what skills have proven most successful among their employees in both their remote and in-office positions. And be sure to ask what qualifications they consider a hard requirement for both types of roles.
You may not know if the position will be a permanent remote role or if an on-location job may have flexible options in the future. But you will be able to confidently identify talent who will be qualified to adapt to either work environment and exceed goals.
The surge of virtual staffing tools
Fortunately, along with the disruptions to your staffing process over the last year, your team has benefited from the emergence of talent sourcing and screening tools suited to specifically identifying strong candidates for virtual communication. There are so many staffing tools on the market, it’s hard to know where to begin.
You can start by looking at what new features your tried-and-true tools offer. In the last year, many platforms have updated their resources to offer better ways to collaborate virtually. Coordinating schedules, communicating virtually across teams and with talent, evaluating candidates through video interviews, and improving the candidate experience through trial and error became a daily source of challenge and triumph.
If your staffing tools did not rise to meet the demands of your team, you were likely left sorting through the chaos of your crippled staffing strategy. Hopefully, by now, you’ve evaluated your staffing tools for gaps and have a list of features the next platform you invest in requires. If not, this list may be useful:
- Simple scheduling
- Video interviewing
- Instant evaluation
- Streamlined collaboration
- Customization and branding
- Talent library capabilities
Ideally, finding a platform that provides all of your staffing needs is a smart investment. For example, using a scheduling tool that allows your whole team to import their calendars enables your team to get up to speed coordinating important meetings and collaborating over video interviews quickly. Better yet, if you use a platform in which clients and candidates can put themselves into your team members’ schedules, you cut down on the wasted time experienced with traditional back and forth emails.
You further eliminate disruptions to your staffing strategy by cutting out unnecessary steps in the evaluation process. By investing in a candidate screening platform where your key decision-makers can review one-way video interviews and provide instant feedback, you get top candidates in front of clients faster. Not only that but your recommendations can be made confidently because your evaluation criteria are less likely to be influenced by bias or miscommunication.
Your candidates and clients get the best experience if you choose a platform that allows you to brand your video interviews and communication, such as recording personal video messages. And you can keep the line of communication you create with talent intact by organizing top performers’ videos in a convenient talent library that you can revisit and reconnect with when new roles open.
Cut out the hassle of training on multiple new platforms and get to work placing top talent. The more you can get out of your staffing tools the better.
The work-from-home shift for staffing pros
We’ve established that candidates want to network online and use video interviews. Staffing teams have acclimated to the flexible work environment and accommodating for unpredictable candidate schedules. That leaves us with the question: Is there a return to normal for staffing pros?
Naturally, your team’s satisfaction is a major consideration when looking at ways to improve your staffing strategy. Staffing professionals got a taste for working from home over the last year. And thanks to the surge of new apps and tools, staffing teams can be more successful than ever working remotely.
Your workflow may look different as the workforce continues to take on a new shape. Additionally, you must consider how your staffing team can continue to meet client needs when one or both parties work flexible hours or from remote locations. Your staffing tools and processes need to adjust to prevent burnout.
Flexible work hours will not work indefinitely for every team or every team member. If possible, offer the option on a trial basis for those who want to continue to work remotely. Set a check-in point to evaluate performance and create surveys for clients and staffing pros to get a pulse on how effective the new staffing strategy is working for everyone.
If you find dips in productivity or gaps in communication, don’t be quick to assume remote work is the culprit. You may simply need to update your staffing tools and refine your processes. It’s possible team members feel disconnected. You can use branded video messages to deliver important information or just simple words of encouragement between team members to boost morale.
Look for ways to use the many resources available through your staffing tools to keep your team connected. Video, in particular, helps virtual staffing teams maintain in-person contact and nurtures a healthy company culture by keeping communication personal.
Uncertainty shaking up the staffing industry
With all of the challenges the staffing industry has faced through a global pandemic and subsequent recession, uncertainty weighs heavily on staffing professionals. It can be stressful to source and screen talent when the stability of clients’ businesses seems to hang in the balance of their hiring success.
But there is hope. The job market continues to show slow but steady growth. In fact, so far this year, monthly job growth has averaged 586,000, according to recent BLS data. More jobs to fill means staffing pros have more opportunities to prove themselves valuable for clients in a virtual hiring world.
Staffing pros can take control of some elements of the staffing process and improve outcomes for everyone. Help reduce stress by equipping staffing teams with tools to make high-quality placements quickly and efficiently.
For example, reducing wasted time in the interview process improves the candidate experience as well as streamlines hiring for clients. Stressed candidates are less likely to perform well in interviews. One-way video interviews offer a unique opportunity to record video responses under the most convenient circumstances for them.
Similarly, clients can review interview responses when they have time to accurately evaluate candidates. And collaboration among hiring decision-makers is more thorough, meaning clients can make informed and timely decisions. Ultimately, creating a streamlined staffing strategy sets everyone up for success.