5 Ways COVID-19 Has Forever Changed Staffing and Recruiting

by | Jul 13, 2022

Saying that COVID-19 has forever changed staffing and recruiting is a bit of an understatement. 

Over the last two years, we’ve seen the impact this pandemic has had on every corner of the industry. That, plus the economic fallout, has turned the entire industry upside down:

  • Fewer job seekers means the candidate is in the driver’s seat
  • Demands for work-life balance, internal movement opportunities, and meaningful work are transforming company cultures
  • Job seekers are spending less time talking to recruiters and more time on self-service platforms

We’re going to feel these shifts and changes for years to come.

What does that mean for your recruiting agency? How can you adapt to ensure that you survive and thrive in this new reality? 

Here are five ways that COVID-19 has impacted the recruiting sector, and tips on how your staffing agency should respond going forward.

1. Global talent shortages encourages technology adoption

It’s no secret that people are leaving their jobs in record numbers. April 2022 saw 4.4 million resignations, the highest since November 2021. The compounding effect of this continual decline in labor force participation is staggering. 

For recruiters, this is presenting a fiercely competitive landscape, as they struggle to balance multiple needs at the same time:

  • Work harder to build their pipeline in a shrinking labor market
  • Provide exceptional candidate experiences to attract and retain talent
  • Scale their processes without reducing quality 

Unless a recruiter wants to work 70-80 hours each week, it’s impossible to achieve this. That is, without leaning on technology and automation. 

From applicant tracking systems (ATS), to experience management, to marketing automation tools, successful recruiters are leveraging technology to aid them in creating better experiences at scale—without sacrificing quality of life. 

While some firms were already leveraging technology to great success, the pandemic has forced everyone to start using it more frequently. 

2. Work-from-home expectations demand flexibility

For decades, no one batted an eye at geographic requirements for certain positions. After all, if you want to work for a company, then you need to be in the office every day. 

In some industries, that’s still the case. But in the vast majority of sectors and roles, the COVID-19 pandemic proved that people don’t have to be in the office to be productive. In fact, in some cases, work-from-home is a more productive environment. 

What’s more, people got used to having flexibility and balance in their lives. And who can blame them? No one likes a commute. 

Since candidates are driving the market now, this flexibility is becoming a commonplace demand, which means that companies have to adapt. 

For recruiters, this presents a two-fold requirement. First, you need to coach your clients to provide work-from-home options and increased flexibility if possible. Otherwise, they’re going to miss out on a valuable pool of candidates.

Additionally, it’s important for you to incorporate work-from-home options for your own team. Recruiters are among those who can work effectively whether at home or in an office. If you don’t give them the option, then your agency will be the ones missing out. 

3. Recruiters are seeking out passive talent

In the past, companies could afford to be picky when it came to hiring new employees. With a large pool of potential candidates to choose from, employers could afford to be choosy and only hire active job seekers.

Thanks to COVID-19, those days are over. 

With an increasingly impactful labor shortage, the pool of active job seekers just isn’t enough to fill most organizational demands. As a result, recruiters have to expand their horizons and start seeking out passive talent. 

This reality presents both good news and bad. The bad news is that recruiters have to be more proactive now—they can’t just sit around and wait for talent to come to them. 

But for modern, competitive recruiters, this is good news. It means that your efforts to improve the candidate experience, leverage technology and automation to your advantage, and proactive efforts to improve your skills and your reputation put you in a strong position in today’s market. 

To convince a passive candidate to work with you, you need to present them with a value-add. You need to be a trusted advisor who can provide an appealing next step in their career. Traditional recruiters aren’t positioned to do this well. Modern recruiters are. 

4. Social media is the new networking event

When the world shut down for two years, no one was able to attend any of the traditional networking events. But that doesn’t mean that people stopped networking!

On the contrary, they just moved networking online. According to Glassdoor, 68% of Millennials, 54% of Gen-Xers, and 48% of Boomers indicated they visit an employer’s social media properties specifically to evaluate the employer’s brand

Linkedin, for example, has become one of the most powerful tools for recruiters looking to find talented candidates. Before COVID-19, some survey data showed that 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn. That number has certainly increased over the past two years. 

There are a number of advantages that social media provides recruiters:

  • Built-in talent communities
  • Ability to share wins quickly and easily
  • Visibility into candidate behaviors & accomplishments

By leveraging social media to their advantage, recruiters can continue to network and build their talent communities—without spending too much on travel. 

5. Reputation is the ultimate competitive edge

Now that candidates are in the driver seat, recruiters have to prove themselves to be trustworthy and valuable, rather than the other way around. This means that a positive reputation is the ultimate competitive edge. 

In a world where everyone Googles a company before deciding to work with them, you can’t afford to have a negative reputation. Investing in online review capture and promotion is one of the biggest brand promotion tactics you can implement (and thankfully, there’s technology to help you do that). 

For recruiting leaders, visibility into your reputation can be a key to improving your performance. If you know that certain recruiters are dragging the organization’s reputation down, you can address the issue, fix the problem, and move on to greater success.

Final thoughts

Although COVID-19 has changed recruiting in real, tangible ways, there’s tremendous opportunity still out there. However, only modern, proactive recruiters will seize it, while traditional recruiters will fall by the wayside.

The question is: which camp are you in? 

Do you actively seek feedback to improve your performance? Are you embracing technology and the benefits it gives you? Is an exceptional candidate experience one of your top priorities?

If so, Great Recruiters can help. Learn more about our experience management and brand promotion platform here. 

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