Currently, we are all presented with uncertainty and change. When this happens, we need to adapt and develop our skills rather than get left behind. If all of us in the recruitment industry are looking to not only survive but to flourish, then we need to embrace these changes and evolve as required.

We’ve heard it out of the mouth of every politician since COVID ramped up in early 2020: these are unprecedented times. We have all been impacted in some way, and in many cases, the most significant challenges we’ve faced have been work-related. Many Australians experienced redundancy and reduced hours while their industries went into hibernation, but now, as the jobs market accelerates, recruiters are busier than ever.

Before the pandemic, recruiters faced three main challenges. Firstly, a highly competitive market for good talent; secondly, a small candidate pool due to low unemployment rates; and thirdly, a skills shortage across the country, forcing companies to look beyond our borders. The jobs market is now booming again, but these strange times have presented new obstacles for recruiters.

Identifying new skills for remote roles

In addition to the skills specific to performing the job at hand, recruiters must assess candidates on their ability to work independently. As remote and hybrid working models become the rule rather than the exception, self-motivation and flexibility are increasingly valuable characteristics. However, these are difficult traits to identify in a CV or cover letter. Instead, recruiters should develop questions that go straight to the root of the issue. For example, “how does your current work environment allow you to stay focused?” or “how would you structure your day to stay motivated and on-task?”

Reducing the time to hire

As all recruiters know, time is never on our side. From the day a candidate enters the pipeline to the day they sign on the dotted line, the clock is ticking. It is increasingly difficult to identify the ideal candidate quickly, and a lengthy hiring process can see you lose the best talent. This is why it’s so important to streamline your process as much as possible. A robust ATS and an efficient reference checking program will help reduce the time to hire and ensure your top pick doesn’t get snatched up by a competitor.

Diversity and inclusivity remain imperative

Creating a diverse, equal-opportunity workplace is top of mind for most employees these days. Recruiters must be mindful of this when sourcing talent, as much of the responsibility falls on them to offer up a diverse range of candidates. This often means looking beyond the qualifications listed on the page to assess how an individual may enrich the team in ways that go beyond the immediate job description.

The important thing to remember is that hiring a diverse team should not simply be about hitting a quota. Instead, recruiters and employees must understand that bringing in talent from a range of backgrounds will allow an organisation’s collective understanding, knowledge and experience to grow immensely. In addition, having diverse opinions and ideas shaping a project will help businesses appeal to a wider audience and craft a more intentional and effective customer experience.

A well-written job description is a must

Without automation, sifting through every application by hand would be an impossible feat. In this sense, crafting a concise job description has never been more important. According to research conducted by LinkedIn, candidates only spend around 14 seconds reading a job listing before moving on to the next. A clear job title and well-formatted description will give recruiters the best chance to grab the top talent’s attention. It should be immediately clear which qualifications and skills are non-negotiable, which are “highly regarded,” and which are just a bonus.

Identifying these must-haves from the outset will also help recruiters set out parameters within their ATS so that top candidates can be automatically ranked and quickly identified.

Nailing the candidate experience

Recruiters are realising how important the hiring experience is to the overall success of their recruitment process. Today, we face a whole set of challenges that come with remote hiring, including lack of connection, poor communication and time-consuming admin processes.

Keeping candidates well-informed is the best way to ensure they don’t lose hope and take another offer that comes their way. With the help of automation, recruiters should be touching base throughout the entire process with progress reports, interview instructions, feedback and next steps.

Building brand reputation plays a role here too. It’s important the candidate feels connected to the employer throughout the process so that even if they’re not successful, their willingness to apply to the organisation again in the future is not impacted.

Recruiters are always working against the clock to secure the top talent. By developing great relationships with candidates, building up a rich, diverse talent pool, implementing automation and being adaptive to change, recruiters can put themselves in the best possible position to truly excel in their jobs.