It is generally accepted that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world, probably forever. In business, just as in society, common processes are being restructured. In recruitment, for example, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has forced changes in strategy which are expected to be significant. But how precisely will these changes manifest themselves?
While society awaits its chance to return as closely as possible to normal, a new realisation has taken hold. Physical interaction is not possible, but recruitment must continue. Therefore, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fast becoming a necessity rather than the most expedient luxury option out there.
This recruitment revolution is not actually new, with technology and automation – like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning (ML), and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – building a solid presence in corporate recruitment strategies in recent years.
In fact, according to a 2018 LinkedIn survey on talent trends, a significant 35% of participating professionals, hiring managers and human resource personnel believe that AI is the single-most significant recruitment trend. Also, 50% say that data is the top trend impacting how they hire.
There are always risks associated with talent acquisition. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, caution over the hiring of employees is understandable given the uncertainty in many sectors. In fact, it is essentially a hiring freeze.
A recent Aon Pulse survey states that only 13% of the UK market has not been impacted by the pandemic, continuing to hire new personnel as normal. In the post COVID-19 world, this caution is expected to continue for some time, slowly opening up recruitment activity as economies begin to expand.
Already, the situation is turning, with a recent Aon Pulse survey revealing that businesses reporting a hire freeze had fallen between April and June, from 30% to 18%. However, businesses with a cautious hiring policy had risen from 46% to 60%.
Of the 87% of companies surveyed, who are impacted by COVID-19, 35% have halted or delayed hiring while 50% have focused on selective roles or replacing positions of key personnel.
According to Boyd & Moore, some 84% of executive-level candidates have admitted to being keen to take up a new job in the next 3 to 6 months, while 25% are ‘more actively’ searching for a new role because of COVID-19.
Growth Of Virtual Recruitment
In response to the drastically changed world, where face-to-face meetings are a less practical opportunity, companies have embraced the virtual world. Meetings are now hosted online, while project and team tracking apps have become essential where remote working keeps team members apart.
It is the same for corporate recruitment strategies, with 76% of companies in the UK already having implemented virtual interview and recruitment processes. True, these options were already being used prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but there is no doubt they are now much more widely used.
Now, it is expected that the adoption of virtual and technological methods to recruit the best talent will become standard practice in almost every stage of the recruitment process.
- Sourcing – finding the most suitable candidates via AI technology is less challenging and less time consuming. It automatically draws talent from multiple sources and narrows the list through specific criteria fits. Effectively, hours of work are replaced by a few clicks.
- Screening – candidates can be screened in the post COVID-19 period in minutes through AI and ML, allowing résumés to be scanned to weed out unqualified applicants. An AI-powered chatbot can guide applicants through a predefined series of questions.
- Engagement – where once a simple follow up e-mail may have been enough to congratulate or wish luck on their continued job search, the expectation to engage with candidates is now higher than ever. Candidates can form strong opinions about employers during the recruiting process, so keeping contact is important. AI chatbots can do that with fast responses, helping to reinforce your employer brand with a smooth experience for your candidate.
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