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Recruitment challenges and the innovation helping to get the job done.


Tue 21 July, 2020


There is a saying that we are defined by the choices we make and for those working in recruitment it is highly appropriate.

Choosing the right candidate for a job can be a thankless task at the best of times.

Get it right, and that is after all what you are expected to do. Get it wrong and there can be serious and costly repercussions.

A poor hire at mid-manager level with a salary of £42,000 can cost a business more than £132,000 due to the accumulation of costs relating to training, lost productivity and more. (1)

Recruitment is a tough job. It has been said that it is the only business where the product on sale can change its mind.

It is a role in which you have to be prepared to accept failure. There will inevitably be times when it all goes wrong after making a job offer to what was thought to be the ideal candidate.

Reasons can vary, the newcomer can change their mind at the last minute, they can decline the offer and stick with an existing role, they may not fit in or underperform.

The job of recruiting the best talent has certainly not been made any easier by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The dire outlook for jobs was revealed in the 160-page fiscal sustainability report by the Office for Budget Responsibility, which warned that 1.3 million people will go straight from furlough to unemployment when the job protection scheme ends in the autumn. (2)

Should the forecast prove accurate it will undoubtedly lead to a deluge of applicants for any available positions, which we are already seeing evidence of.

An engineering firm was ‘overwhelmed’ with 15,000 applications for just 10 jobs on a new assembly line as the Covid-19 pandemic has sparked a surge in competition for work (3)

And nearly 500 people applied for just two jobs at a London pub, as research showed job listings plummeting in July compared to last year. (4)

Recruiters and managers use data and analysis to develop and then whittle down a pool of applicants, eventually selecting one candidate to hire.

In the current climate the role of recruitment has had to adapt and innovate. Lockdown and social distancing have made, and will make, it difficult to interview candidates face-to-face.

Video conferencing has allowed us to keep connected. Online apps such as Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams proved hugely popular in recent months. (5)

Virtual interviews are playing an essential role in finding and hiring new members of staff.

The evolving process of recruitment is detailed in a headteacher’s blog describing the process carried out during lockdown. (6)

Eight applicants were interviewed via Skype, the interview was adapted to include more lesson-planning activities and some what-would-you-do-in-this-scenario type questions; and a mixture of audio and video was used to pick up on physical presence and non-verbal cues.

The benefits of carrying out the recruitment process in this way are also highlighted. It was said to save time as the interview schedule was less rushed because there was no need to have to organise group meetings at school with all the applicants.

The coronavirus outbreak has had an undoubted impact on recruitment and an employer’s ability to hire. Whether or not employers have already adapted the process, or put it on hold, there will be ongoing challenges.

For those in charge of recruitment it is certainly a testing time and it is also one for significant learning.

Hiring trends will be dependent on how well and how long it takes the country to recover.

But many of the practices that employers have now been forced to adopt may well stay for good.


(1) Hiring Mistakes [Internet] [Cited 21.7.2020]

(2) Fiscal sustainability report [Internet] [Cited 21.7.2020]

(3) Lockdown Jobs [Internet] [Cited 21.7.2020]

(4) Nearly 500 people applied for just two jobs at a London pub [Internet] [Cited 21.7.2020]

(5) Video conferencing has allowed us to keep connected. [Internet] [Cited 21.7.2020]

(6) The evolving process of recruitment [Internet] [Cited 21.7.2020]


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