The unprecedented times have jolted our lives in all aspects due to economic slowdown worldwide, largely creating a spiraling impact on our workforce. As we are moving into the second to the third wave of Pandemic, there have been some positive signs of businesses limping back to pre-covid times. There is still a lot of turbulence and uncertainty amidst the pandemic and we all are hoping to maintain the economic growth to positives.
The economic surge is enabling companies to get back to their drawing boards as planned pre covid, to execute their hiring with new skill sets to combat the pandemic. However, the highly volatile and complex situations are witnessing changing trends in hiring patterns.
The current hiring outlook in India is the bleakest in the last 15 years with only 3% of firms planning to hire. Very few Sectors are expected to drive the Q4 job market. Overall employment trends in Q4 2020 are expected to be steady with a Net Employment Outlook of +3%. Almost 95% of Corporates have indicated delay or no hiring plans for the year 2020. The unemployment rate stands high at approximately 25% with 91% of literate youth in one of the highly populous countries (according to CMEI unemployment data).
Few sectors like Healthcare, IT, FMCG have been consistently growing even during the Pandemic with sectors like Finance, insurance, Construction, Real estate have indicated optimism in their hiring plans. Mostly jobs in demand are – Digital Marketing, Artificial intelligence, Data Scientist, Cyber Security, Drone Handling with other careers as Dieticians, Robot Engineers, Event Managers are in great demand, and will continue to do so.
With the above statistics, let’s take a look at what’s new and what’s different when it comes to changing practices in hiring with regard to employers and candidates –
For Employers :
The increasing trend of completely online hiring
This is the most preferred option to keep employees and prospective candidates safe. Online screening of Resume to Zoom/video calls is the new normal now. Companies are actively using robots and AI technology to search the relevant profiles based on the keywords. This also requires the prospective candidates active in the job market to –
#1. Get familiar with the technology
#2. Figure out how to get noticed in the crowded job market
#3. Upskill to increase net worth
#4. Include relevant skills in their resume
#5. Keep profile updated
From In-person to video interviews: Almost all Organizations irrespective of their size and scale of operations have moved to online job interviews for the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic. The interview questions are focused on the Technological/digital adaptability, focused way of working from anywhere to problem-solving, collaboration, analytical, and critical thinking skills.
Skip questions like: “What are your biggest strengths?” “What interests you about this position?” “Why should we hire you?” To stellar questions like: “How would you describe yourself in 5 words or less?” “Can you describe a situation where you have gone above and beyond?” “How will you contribute to this team?”
On-ground job fairs to virtual job fairs: HR managers are exploring newer and smarter ways to move to new hiring practices. With everything moving to virtual platforms, the recruiting landscape is moving to virtual job fairs including hiring from campuses.
Social Networking: Use of Job Portals, linked in professional networking platforms, new job portals during covid catering to building networks, and leveraging it for quick closures are the methods of recruiting more than ever before with companies going cost optimization strategies.
Pre Placement Job Offers: It has become a preferred option for both employers and job seekers. This also gives the job seekers a chance to understand the organization, care they have portrayed during covid towards their employees.
Use of Recruitment Automation Tool: With the applicant tracking system and database maintained by HR.
Employee Referrals: This continues to be one of the most productive ways that most organizations are using for hiring talent and filling open positions.
The changing practices need the Talent acquisition professionals’ higher ability to assess gestures, expressions, engagement, and body language of candidates through online discussions as was done through in-person interactions.
For Candidates :
Need to highlight key skills in their Resume, clear mention of their ability to adapt quickly to changing times, technologically more savvy with advanced analytical skills.
Creating a simply formatted Resume to Video Resumes: On all the Job Portals. Nowadays it’s more important than ever to stand out on video, highlighting keywords to enable AI tools to pick the Resume and communicate value proposition at a glance. The use of colorful visuals and charts to depict career experience in the form of an infographic is required.
Virtual Media: Pre-installation of popular software programs such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, Go To, etc with optimal functioning on the devices prior to interview sessions along with testing of video camera and microphone.
Communication skills, Emotional Quotient, Analytical skills, Hiring candidates with multiple skillsets, and Data-driven decision making will result in more personalized hiring.
Continuing to find the right candidate with the desired skills and cultural values is a key challenge for all recruiters. At the same time, the Gen Z job seekers are tech-savvy and have most of the desired skillsets. There is a demand to hire gigglers, neo gigs (specialists) based on Project/time to deliver along with permanent/contractual hires.
As per the surveys, 84% of recruiters are in the process of adapting their hiring processes to facilitate remote exchanges. Of these, 58% are now using social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Instagram to connect with potential hires. A growing army of recruiters is also turning to video conference to screen and interview candidates, as well as AI and text messaging to connect with candidates. Concepts like Video bytes, video handshakes focused on discovering what people can be and become, rather than what they do and have done is the next wave.
Since there is a high turnout of applications for every job opening, companies are using Smart texting tools (capable of conducting recruitment outreach and facilitating communications throughout the hiring process), personality assessment, homework assignment, and cultural assessment to evaluate potential hires that will fit within the organization.
With the pandemic in over a century phenomenon, while the world is grappling with uncertainties, lockdown, and unlocking processes, all the economies are somehow trying to regain to near covid times. We hope that with the reopening of the sectors including travel, hospitality, Manufacturing there is going to be a surge of new hires. Until the situation improves, the workforce needs to be ready to face new opportunities and keep themselves in pace.
Author – Swati Yadav
A global HR Transformational leader with 20 years of experience in varied industry segments including Large scale manufacturing, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, Telecommunication, Consulting – IT & FMCG in India and Europe. Swati has expertise in driving change, Organization restructuring, capability building,
Leadership Development, nurturing high performance talent, building diversity and inclusion strategies to enable business for sustainable growth and profitability.
As an Executive Coach, my passion is to build businesses through leadership alliances.
“Embrace each challenge in your life as an opportunity for self-transformation”