How the Delta Variant Is Shaping Talent Acquisition Trends

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Oct 19, 2021
This article is part of a series called COVID-19 Coverage.

“What is one talent acquisition trend you’re seeing that is being shaped by the Delta variant?”

This question was posed to talent professionals for their insights. From mandating vaccinations to innovations around interview analytics, here’s what numerous TA pros said:

Mandating Vaccinations for Talent Screening

Requiring current employees to get vaccinated is a minefield many companies don’t want to risk. Requiring candidates to be vaccinated as a prerequisite to getting a job, however, is shaping talent acquisition in light of the Delta variant. 

One recent report revealed a surge of more than 5,000% since January 2021 in job posts listing vaccination requirements. And data from Indeed found the share of postings that require a vaccine were up 34% on Aug. 7, 2021 when compared to the prior month. — Joel Cheesman, Founder, Poach

Mandating Vaccinations for Talent Attraction

The biggest Delta-related trend we’re seeing in talent acquisition and talent management is vaccination requirements. Now that the FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine, it is becoming more common for companies to ask for proof of vaccination for employees looking to come into the office. This is giving companies the ability to continue operating in-person while also ensuring everyone’s safety. 

In industries like restaurants and hospitality, where remote work really isn’t an option, some are using the vaccine requirement as a way to attract job-seekers who might be concerned about catching Covid-19 on the job.— Kristin Tschantz, VP, Growth Marketing, Hireology

Interview Analytics

The 2021 Lighthouse Research & Advisory Talent Acquisition Trends research of over 800 employers pointed out that many of them struggled in the last year to overcome the shift to virtual and remote interviews. This is still a challenge, and one of the solutions we’re seeing in the market to solve for this is interview analytics. 

This is a new frontier for talent acquisition technology, because the primary decision drivers for hiring come from interviews; yet we rarely, if ever, have anything concrete to back up our decisions or analyze them post-interview. These solutions can analyze the words in a virtual interview, highlight key themes or topics in candidate responses, and allow companies to share best practices from their top interviewers with the rest of the team. — Ben Eubanks, Chief Research Officer, Lighthouse Research & Advisory

More Inclusive Hiring

One of the biggest impacts of this shift to remote work is how it has opened the doors for underserved communities to be considered for positions at their favorite companies. These companies may typically hire within their geographic footprint or a select group of talent hot spots, or limit internship opportunities to elite colleges and universities where campus recruitment is more actively conducted on the ground. 

With everybody looking to expand their talent pools, we’re seeing more hiring happening from city-based companies in new locations that have never really been considered a hiring hotspot. Candidates who have historically had less opportunity to shine are utilizing the internet to boost their online presence, build businesses, and create a strong personal brand for themselves. 

The good news is, companies are now able to really capitalize on that creativity and skill and hire these talents even if they’re not located in places like New York, San Francisco, or Seattle. — Steven Jiang, CEO and Co-Founder, Hiretual

Candidates Are Less Concerned With Return to Workplaces

Candidates have seen return-to-work policies and deadlines change and get pushed back enough times that a company’s existing policy is no longer a major decision factor for candidates. As a general rule, companies have demonstrated that they will take an employee-first approach to their return-to-work policy, so candidates tend to focus more on what work will be like, rather than where they will be. — Brian O’Connor, Talent Acquisition Recruiting Manager, DailyPay

Location-Agnostic Job Postings

Some job boards and recruiting platforms have started to add the variable “remote” to their lexicon for recruiting employees who will work outside the office. The challenge job boards are having is that some of their bread and butter comes from having a location tool.

So, for example, if I want to post a job that is a remote opportunity and can work anywhere in the country, some platforms will only allow you, as the recruiter, to pick a major metro area instead of selecting all eligible locations for remote candidates.

Oftentimes, if you want to use your favorite job board, you still must designate a major metro and be charged for each separate post, which is costly and inefficient. Debora Roland, Vice President, Human Resources, CareerArc

Massive Unpredictability

Recruiting always ebbs and flows, but it’s typically fairly predictably aligned with macro-economic trends — in recessions, companies are in control; in booms, candidates are. What we’re seeing now are widespread hiring challenges across almost all industries and sectors, and all job types. 

Hourly employers can’t staff their restaurants, stores, or facilities. Corporate recruiting teams are struggling to fill high-skilled professional roles — and fighting to prevent their best people from being poached. TA teams were short on resources and time before the pandemic. Covid-19 and all its variants have simply exacerbated those challenges, shining a big spotlight on processes and systems that are ill-equipped to quickly adapt. — Josh Zywien, CMO, Paradox

Increase In Passive Candidate Pool

More employees are turning into passive candidates at the prospect of working from home for another extended period of time. People just want a change of scenery at this point, whether that’s a different job, employer, or city altogether. Many candidates I’m recruiting are willing to entertain employment opportunities from out-of-state, a trend that may shape talent acquisition in Q4 and in the year ahead. Jon Schneider, President, Recruiterie 

Virtual Interviews Continue for Better and for Worse

Virtual interviews are a growing trend as Covid-19 cases tied to the Delta variant rise, companies become increasingly comfortable with a remote workforce, and many new job openings are designated as remote positions. 

Virtual interviews keep all parties safe, but employers and employees both lose out on the ability to see and assess critical body language that may help them determine whether the role is the right fit. With virtual interviews, there also tend to be more complaints from employers that candidates are not the person they interviewed once the employee starts working, and the same can be said from the employee about the work environment or company culture. 

However, virtual interviews can be beneficial in that they ensure candidate and employer safety, allow employers to interview more candidates, and ultimately save both parties time. Heather Whitney, HR Coach, Paychex

This article is part of a series called COVID-19 Coverage.
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