Recent months have brought plenty of changes in the HR field. The process of recruiting suitable employees has been affected by the pandemic as well as by the trend towards digitization. What are the current trends in recruiting that companies need to be aware of to succeed? What are the advantages of new recruiting methods? And how can you make best use of digital opportunities to the benefit of your HR department? Marcel Maranca, Team Lead Recruiting at EASY SOFTWARE, offers some valuable tips for successful recruiting.
Marcel, you are responsible for recruiting new employees at EASY. What are the current recruiting challenges faced by companies on the hunt for the right candidates?
When we look at our industry, we see about 1.3 million people working in the IT industry, that makes 42,000 more jobs than in 2020. Roughly 86,000 of these positions are unfilled. This makes competition over good employees all the more intense. Logically, salaries in this area are also on the rise. Job-seekers change employers faster as well, enticed by the lucrative offers available today. Small and medium-sized companies in particular are unable or unwilling to follow all of these developments. In other words, we continue to have a very employee-oriented labor market situation.
Employee loyalty starts already with well-planned onboarding.
This makes the hunt for the right employee a real challenge. What can companies do to differentiate themselves from the competition and win over applicants?
One big problem today is to get the attention of applicants and build a reputation as an interesting employer. Good employer branding is a door-opener that draws the attention of potential employees to the company and can convey an initial good impression. The employer branding should be clearly expressed in the job description and on the career page of the company. When it comes to the actual recruiting process as experienced by the candidates, however, it is important to infuse the first impression of the employer branding with life and create an authentic image of the position, the company and the working conditions. Unflinching honesty is key here. After all, you also have to let people know about those aspects of the company that might not be running perfectly smoothly. I have regularly received the feedback from current colleagues as well as candidates who opted not to join the company that they found this approach very helpful to their decision making. This creates a solid foundation for making decisions as well as for successful collaboration since everyone involved shares the same expectations.
You mentioned the importance of working conditions. Are there trends here that influence whether a candidate chooses my company?
Of course, it is important here to differentiate your company from the competition. Companies that demonstrate the greatest flexibility in this area and can enable a solid work-life balance clearly enjoy an advantage. This includes the option of hybrid work or flexible work hours. Of course, the company must have great trust in employees’ skills, responsibility and motivation. When the employees perceive this, they will return the favor 98% of the time with good performance.
Where do I even find the right candidates for my open jobs?
Job hunting mainly takes place online these days. This makes it important to pick the right job sites. Multiposting tools are very practical by offering an overview of the available job boards with direct comparison of the success rates. The job ads can then be posted directly to the job boards via corresponding interfaces, and the recruiter can rely on clear reporting. Social recruiting is also no problem with such a tool, since multiposting can be used to post jobs directly to social networks in addition to job boards.
When I’ve succeeded in getting the attention of a candidate, what should the recruiting process look like to avoid loosing them?
There are countless obstacles in the process itself that can cause candidates to bolt. I’ll discuss two examples here.
First, companies cannot afford drawn-out processes today since the next offer from a competitor is likely to arrive before the process is even finished. In other words, the process must be as short as possible – from first contact to the signing of the contract. Decisions must be made quickly, and the communication with the candidates must be tight to ensure that they are not lost during the selection process. When waiting lines grow long, recruiters must keep in close contact with applicants and be able to explain at any time what’s causing the holdup. The candidates must be given the most transparent picture possible of where they are in the process, why any decisions have been delayed and how they were made. This lays a good groundwork, even with candidates who are not the right fit at this time but who could be considered later for new openings. A positive “candidate experience” is key here.
The hiring department must have the opportunity during the interviews to convey a clear picture of the expectations, challenges and opportunities of the position in question so that the applicant has all the facts and can decide whether or not the job is a good match. Candidates will also be turned off if companies are too vague here.
How can I ensure a quick, transparent recruiting process?
Applicant tracking tools can be very helpful by giving recruiters an overview of all vacancies and the associated processes. Applicant tracking software allows you to automate standard tasks in the recruiting process that otherwise take too much time. These could include communication with the applicant, such as automatic confirmation that their application has been received. Applicant tracking tools also enable analysis of recruiting-related KPIs. This shows how the recruiting operation is running and what opportunities there may be for improvement. This creates transparency for everyone involved.
How has the pandemic changed recruiting?
Corona has noticeably altered recruiting in the last year and a half. I can’t really say if it has impeded the ability of companies to hire staff on the whole. At EASY SOFTWARE, we were certainly ready and willing to switch immediately to virtual interviews, with a full 95% of all interviews conducted remotely.
In other words, we had no difficulty achieving our recruiting goals and were able to fill all required positions appropriately. However, I can easily imagine that some companies had a hard time switching to digital recruiting, meaning both remote interviews and digital applicant tracking tools, and were unable to achieve their goals, leaving important positions vacant.
How does recruiting with video interviews differ from a personal meeting between the applicant and HR manager?
Video recruiting has both advantages and disadvantages. For one thing, it is much easier to quickly and flexibly schedule appointments, regardless of where the applicant is located. This can speed up the selection processes and sometimes even eliminates the costs of travel and accommodations.
However, the in-depth personal impression of each other that you get when you meet in person is lost, and candidates cannot get a first impression of their workplace. The level of distraction can be higher, and the focus on the applicant could be lost if the HR manager receives emails or important chat messages during the interview, which would not typically be allowed to interrupt a personal interview.
How can I still make sure that I get the right candidates for vacancies?
Technical support can help out here as well. Instead having to read and compare CVs manually and evaluate them for plausibility, applicant tracking software can also be used for skill matching. This only requires a definition of the ideal candidate criteria that perfectly match the requirements of the job. The recruiting software then uses matching algorithms to compare the required skills with the information on the candidate. The result is an immediate, high-quality prediction of whether the applicant fits the job.
Applicant tracking tools also offer the ability to carry out online hiring tests. This gives you a way to ensure that applicants actually have the necessary skills and abilities.
Will the pandemic have a lasting impact on how new employees are recruited?
Post-pandemic recruiting will be much more flexible than before. It will be similar to the issue of hybrid/remote working. We will go back to more face-to-face interviews than during the pandemic, that’s for sure. But this choice will be made more intuitively based the specific position and geographic situation of the candidates. Where possible, we will also try out a new interview format that was introduced by a recruiting colleague during the pandemic. I consider this an exciting development that I would like to try out and perhaps imitate.
Once the contract is signed, the recruiting process is essentially over. What comes next?
As mentioned before, the labor market is currently marked by a lack of specialists and high competition between companies for good employees. In other words, once you have found and hired the right person, you should make an effort to keep them. Employee loyalty starts already with well-planned onboarding – especially in times that make increased use of remote work, where the onboarding sometimes takes place online. A smooth start to the new job not only promotes employee loyalty, it also ensures that the new employee becomes productive more quickly. In this case too, there are HR software solutions that can help with employee onboarding.