The future of recruitment

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As businesses around the globe scramble to adapt to the new norm of COVID-induced uncertainty, it’s clear that the workplace has changed forever. As the job market emerges from the fallout bruised and battered, the war for talent is no longer about finding talent; rather, attracting the best talent and filtering through the noise to take advantage of the current buyer’s market to staff for the future.


The mass recruitment freeze

Following the announcement of lockdown in March, the majority of employers cancelled all recruiting efforts and put a blanket freeze on new hires. Although a natural knee-jerk reaction, history has shown that hiring through a crisis reaps rewards for those able to absorb the immediate revenue losses and profit squeeze. The aftermath of 9/11 and the global financial crisis of 2008 both provide a similar case study, where those that used the crisis to acquire the best talent came out tops when hiring became a front-burner issue as the market returned.


The way forward

Hiring needs to be approached as a marathon, not a sprint. Yes, there will be instances where you need someone, and you need someone fast. But, to hire in a haphazard manner only leads to ineffective staffing and retention issues down the line. It is no longer enough to just find or attract the best talent; that talent needs to want to work in your business.


The future of recruitment is therefore a move away from the ‘spray and pray’ approach that has dogged the industry to a combination of bespoke cost-effective agency partnerships, the use of tech throughout the hiring journey and nurturing an easily accessible talent pool loyal to your brand.


The establishment and management of your brand in the talent market will therefore become key. This does not simply entail a colourful careers page with a ‘contact us’ form. It is the reputation you develop as a result of your approach to hiring and actions repeated again and again with each new job spec, interview and recruit. Harvard Business Review’s ‘The Definitive Guide to Recruiting in Good Times and Bad’ suggests incorporating the following principles:

  1. Anticipate the need, thereby knowing who’ll you need to hire, when
  2. Specify the job, what it entails, and what the key deliverables will be
  3. Develop and manage the talent pool over time (internally and externally)
  4. Establish repeatable assessment and interview processes
  5. Ensure your brand culture is such that top talent accepts offers
  6. Inclusive onboarding, no sink or swim approach
  7. Review and feedback loops to ensure continued improvement


Sifting through the talent pool

There is no lack of talent out there at the moment. A role recently posted on Crayon was viewed over 3,500 times in a week, with over 500 applications. We presented only 5 of these to the client for review using a combination of tech, various filtering techniques and an understanding of the employer brand. In a world where time is money, and where application review requires a lot of it, it’s important to either partner with a cost-effective talent platform geared towards the volume, or develop an in-house team, and equip that team with the necessary tools, to do the job.


Act local, look global

Going one step further, the management of your brand’s talent pool will become critical. Get this right, and you’ll have quick access to qualified, easily identifiable candidates already aware of your market offering and primed for employment in your business. With the work from home trend here to stay, you now have access to a global talent pool. For international employers (and locals looking for work), South Africa is ideally positioned to take advantage of this given our typically strong work ethic and a highly qualified, but affordable (RIP the ZAR) workforce. Be it local or global, offer your talent pool a remote working environment with an outcomes-focused approach, and you’ll have the unicorns knocking down your (virtual) front door.