During a crisis in the recruitment industry, unfortunately but understandably, talent acquisition and employer branding often takes a back seat. Priorities shift from expansion to retention and winning new business.
It was only 5 months ago when the recruitment industry was notorious for being a candidate-short market. It was harder to find a needle in a haystack than it was to find a specialist FinTech recruiter open to a new opportunity. It could take months, even half a year to find the right person and fill a role. It created a clear barrier in a recruitment agency’s ability to scale.
While COVID-19 has flipped the market on it’s head and there are now more recruiters available in the market, the best recruiters are still hard to find. Some are still employed and others might be seeing this window as an opportunity to go out on their own.
LinkedIn recently reported signs of job recovery in Singapore, with a significant increase in the number of jobs posted with the conclusion of circuit breaker. Jobs currently live on LinkedIn in Singapore are only -13% year on year as of the 5th of June. Bloomberg also reported that Singapore may practically re-open the entire economy by the end of June.
It will take months for recruitment agencies to get revenue flowing to pre-COVID levels, but these are positive signs. Before we know it, recruitment agencies will open the flood gates to expansion and recruiters will become that same needle again.
How can you use your time today to make sure that your recruitment agency is attracting top talent in a post-COVID world?
1. Invest time in online resources
The top 5 things a recruiter wants to find out about a potential new employer are: an overview of the business, their style of recruitment, their culture, their manager’s reputation and remuneration structure. Online resources are a great way to communicate this information with potential hires.
Randstad recently reported in their 2020 Employer Brand Research that “91% of candidates seek out at least one online or offline resource to evaluate an employer’s brand before applying for a job”. They also stated that “55% of job seekers abandon their application process after reading negative reviews” and that “only 45% of employers address those reviews”.
This is consistent with what we have seen. When a recruiter moves jobs, they will seek out resources to evaluate an employer, including websites such as Glassdoor. Whilst one or two negative reviews are unavoidable, they may be factored into a recruiter’s decision to engage or not. Invest time in responding to these reviews by addressing the issues outlined by the reviewer. You can also invite your current employees to submit reviews if you’re looking to improve your ratings.
Other than review sites, you can also invest time into employer branding resources. On the Vocay company directory, we have an Enhanced Company Profile. The Enhanced profile is designed to take recruiters on an authentic journey through company history, people and culture on a global and local scale. We ask for information that we know candidates will consider before deciding whether to apply to your company such as diversity details, including average age and male to female ratio.
For example, SThree has built a rich Enhanced profile where their Regional Director, Alena Salakhova, talks about the culture of the team and support they provide to recruiters. She also explains how candidates can benefit from a career with SThree, through their investment in candidates, resources, L&D and rewards. Lastly, they have taken time to ask their own employees to share the reasons behind why they love working with SThree.
You can also use this time to upgrade your own company website. With 91% of potential hires using at least one online resource to evaluate your company, one of these resources is likely to be your website. If you’re on a reduced budget due to COVID-19, there are some great options where you can build a stunning website yourself in a few days. If you’re looking for more functionality, you can use a supplier such as Volcanic who build great recruitment websites.
2. Let recruiters know which practices you’re planning to expand in a post-COVID world
As the market eventually returns to its former candidate-short state over the next year, this is a great opportunity for internal talent acquisition teams to start pipelining for critical roles that were budgeted pre-COVID.
We’ve seen it first-hand: specialist recruiters who would only entertain a career move once every 4 years, and would walk away from a job search with 5 competing offers, are now engaging with competitors. Some recruiters who have not aligned with their company’s response to COVID-19 are already thinking about moving jobs when the market recovers.
Now is the perfect time to form relationships with these hard-to-find recruiters so you’re ready to pull the trigger and take a step ahead of your competitor when the time is right.
Mathew Gollop, Managing Director of ConnectedGroup, covers this point off well in his article on talent acquisition strategies during a crisis: “if you wait until the markets start to boom again before revisiting cold recruitment pipelines, you will find yourself back in the hunt with everyone else.”
To inform the market about where you’re looking to expand post-COVID, we’ve introduced a free pipelining status for company profiles. RGF in Singapore have claimed their profile and have updated their status to: “Interviewing but not hiring during COVID-19”. You can do the same by searching for your company in the directory and claiming your profile or reaching out to us here.
In the coming weeks, we’ll also be launching free job posts where you can outline specific hires you’re looking to make, or practices you’re looking to expand. If you claim your profile today, we’ll notify you when this goes live.
3. Communicate your response to COVID-19 within the recruitment community
Companies who update the market on their position through social media build more trust as a potential future employer. Communicating your company’s response to COVID-19 will help recruiters understand the current situation in your business and when you’ll be ready to hire again.
SThree has built a strong COVID-19 response hub on their website. On this page, they explain how they are taking guidance from the CDC and WHO to protect their employees. They also talk through the steps they are taking to achieve this, as well as how potential business connections can connect with them for support.
Another company who has taken a solid approach to this is Randstad, where they have built a COVID hub and blog to help people adapt to the new normal. They cover topics such as how to set up a good home office, video interview tips and maintaining your health working from home.
To support these efforts, we’ve created a COVID-19 response hub on Vocay for free. Recruitment agencies can use this tool as an outlet to communicate their response to the pandemic directly with recruiters.
NextWave Partners have already claimed their profile and updated their response. They talk about how their team is responding to the pandemic and that they are actively looking for experienced hires across their Energy and Technology teams.
COVID-19 has flipped the recruitment industry on its head, but in time, the candidate-short market that created so many barriers to scaling recruitment businesses in the past, will return. If you use this time to prepare for the recovery, your recruitment agency will come out of this stronger than your competitors.