Now is the Time to Start Prospecting for Great Talent

COVID-19 is shaking up recruiting and hiring strategies. Josh Brenner, CEO with Vettery, a digital hiring marketplace, talks about the impact of COVID-19 on the industry and why the future of recruitment is bright.

Helene Cavalli
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Can you imagine a time when job seekers do not actually meet a new employer until after they are hired? Josh Brenner can.

Brenner, the CEO of online recruiting marketplace Vettery, said digital tools had already profoundly influenced job-seeking and hiring practices before COVID-19 hit. Job postings, initial interviews and assessments were standard online practices even if the hiring process culminated in a face-to-face interview. 

However, with the continuing need to social distance and the growing adoption of a permanent work-at-home model, Brenner said there are clear signs that recruiting and hiring may never go back to the old high-contact, face-to-face practices of the past.

“Conventional inbound hiring, with its in-person team efforts and face-to-face meetings that require travel, simply don’t work in today’s environment,” said Brenner. “The pandemic may have a long-lasting effect on how we interact.” 

The evolution of digital recruiting and hiring practices will take on increasing importance as more cities resume operations amid the decline of COVID-19 cases. 

Job loss, to this point in the pandemic, has been staggering. The International Labour Organization, an agency of the United Nations, believes 195 million jobs will be lost in the second quarter of 2020 alone. But, while some industries are hard hit—travel, entertainment, oil and gas, hospitality, mining and manufacturing—some sectors including retail grocery, pharmacy and online retail are in desperate need of new workers.

In an environment where some businesses are dying and some are hiring, there will be a new emphasis on actively prospecting for skilled candidates. This will require agile and smart recruiting and hiring practices that go deeper into available candidate data and connect employers to the best people, faster. Those practices will almost inevitably require digital platforms.

The future will require a lot more than just an expansion of online job boards, though. Increasingly, organizations that need to hire—and in some cases hire huge numbers of people—are going to need tools to dig much deeper into the available pool of talent and, relying on hundreds of data points customized for an employer’s needs, quickly and accurately identify the right people for the right jobs. 

Inbound methods of recruiting typically fail to generate relevant candidates—with 80% to 90% not qualified for the advertised role. If employers are using LinkedIn to source talent, a lot of time is spent combing through profiles and contacting people who may not be interested. “Getting to the right candidate can take as long as 45 days. This lack of efficiency wastes time and money,” Brenner said.

This virtual future will be difficult for many companies that have held on to traditional methods of recruiting and in doing so, failed to become more data driven. The shift could be difficult, but the payoff could be huge. “Recruiters want to make the best use of the ubiquitous availability of data,” Brenner said. “With more and better information, we’ve seen days-to-new-hire reduced by more than half. Employers can get to the right candidates faster and make decisions more quickly.”

People analytics

Key to this approach will be the utilization of a digital talent broker to help organizations make the best hiring decisions, faster. Brenner said the hiring marketplaces of the future will be managed by digital recruiters who act as an extension of a company’s recruiting team by focusing on people analytics. 

“These digital recruiters will be using hundreds of data points to create talent pools of candidates who are highly relevant and match the specific needs of the company and the role,” he said. “Human interaction is required at critical touchpoints to provide candidates with expert advice that technology can’t deliver.”

Post-pandemic

Organizations focused on the future should consider looking beyond present challenges and prepare now for what’s ahead. There are, right now, more efficient and accurate ways of sourcing candidates that allow recruiting teams to continue to fill roles quickly—in any environment. 

All those companies that lose talent through economic or other necessities will find themselves needing to recruit and hire not just to accommodate their normal growth trajectory but simply to return to their pre-crisis status quo. The pace of hiring and the competition for talent are bound to be fierce. Data-driven recruiting can dramatically improve results and make any company a recruiting powerhouse.

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