As companies continue to grapple with the huge financial and logistical obstacles posed by Covid-19, it’s easy to focus on the negatives, from mass economic dislocation to uncertainty about when the virus will finally be under control. However, it’s important not to overlook the ways in which reassessments prompted by the pandemic could actually lead companies to become more resilient and productive.
For example, hiring has undergone a fundamental shift, and many of the changes will last beyond the end of this crisis. Although many companies have reduced hiring for now, an array of innovative hiring processes have emerged to replace old methods focused on resumes, in-person interviews, etc. As new, more efficient, data-driven alternatives take shape, it’s important to take a closer look at their recent effect on hiring — as well as their future impact.
Hiring Made Easier
At a time when millions of workers are sequestered in their homes and companies have been forced to cut hiring budgets, it might come as a shock that hiring managers, recruiters, and others believe their jobs have actually become easier. Yet that’s exactly what our survey of more than 400 hiring professionals across a wide range of industries shows.
For every category of hiring (remote workers, recent grads, diverse hiring, etc), hiring professionals who say that their jobs have become easier outnumber those who say that their jobs have become harder as a result of the pandemic. There are two major reasons for this:
- Hiring professionals have access to more and better tools for hiring and retaining talent than ever before.
- There’s a broader and deeper talent pool from which to draw qualified candidates.
What’s more, hiring professionals have considerably more faith in their hiring processes — the proportion who say they’re “very confident” in these processes has risen by 26% since 2019.
But Challenges Persist
Between 2019 and 2020, the proportion of hiring professionals who list “finding high-quality job candidates” as their main challenge fell from 87% to 68%. However, this is still their top obstacle.
Diversity and inclusion remain challenges for hiring professionals, as well. Our survey found that 27% regard improving D&I as “extremely easy” or “somewhat easy,” while 40% say it’s “extremely challenging” or “somewhat challenging.” Considering that 78% of respondents say that they prioritize D&I, it’s clear that this will be an important area of focus in 2021 and beyond.
The only challenge cited by slightly more hiring professionals this year than last is employee training. This makes sense, as training and onboarding processes have been thrown into disarray by the pandemic.
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How COVID-19 Is Driving Long-Term Trends
When asked how the virus has affected their HR and hiring initiatives, the vast majority of hiring professionals point to the transition to remote work. For instance, from 2019 to 2020, the number of companies that use video interviews in their hiring decisions increased by 159%. Meanwhile, 54% of hiring professionals say their opinion of remote work has become more positive since the beginning of the pandemic, while just 4% say their opinion has become more negative.
There are good reasons to believe the shift toward remote work will continue long after the crisis is under control. According to a recent Gartner survey, 74% of companies say they expect to move some employees to remote work permanently. Although hiring practices such as video interviews have been adopted to deal with the pandemic, they also offer a broad range of advantages, such as the ability to efficiently interview candidates all over the world.
Ultimately, no matter what post-Covid hiring strategies companies eventually deploy, it’s clear that we won’t be returning to the status quo. Despite the fact that our benchmark survey showed that hiring professionals feel like hiring is overall less challenging now, there is one task that has become harder: selecting the right candidate.
While larger talent pools and higher applicant-to-hire ratios are good problems to have, they also make it harder to evaluate a high volume of candidates accurately and efficiently. In other words, quality of hire will always matter, which means we’ll continue to have to explore new ways and use new tools to identify the right talent in fair, objective, data-driven ways.