Recruiting Has Changed Forever (Even Once the Pandemic Ends)

Recruiting Has Changed Forever (Even After the Pandemic Ends)

As we enter week five of California’s “stay-at-home” order we’ve noticed some major changes in recruiting:

  • Video interviewing
  • Many job openings turning from working at the employer’s location to working at home.
  • Thousands of businesses closed and millions of people laid off.

And while we all look forward – do we EVER! – to social distancing restrictions easing, there are some things about recruiting that may never change.

Here are a few of the current recruiting processes and habits we feel will continue, and why

  • Job interviews via video

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Interviewing via video was growing considerably before the pandemic. (It actually became popular during the last downturn in 2008.) It’s pretty much standard operating procedure for all job interviews now and we don’t see it changing much moving forward.

This will be especially so for screening interviews and possibly even for first “in person” interviews.

We also think the use of psychometric testing will grow as a way to screen candidates (in order to cut back on unnecessary interviews).

(An additional interesting side note: staffing and recruiting companies may start training their candidates for these “new” types of interviews as part of their work to ready their candidates for interviews with the recruiting agency’s clients.)

  • It will remain a candidate’s market for highly skilled workers; an employer’s market for lower-skilled positions.

It’s pretty much an employer’s market now as many businesses have closed and millions of workers have lost their jobs. But that may change as hiring needs grow back….for those with highly sought-after skills such as those in healthcare, tech, engineering and highly-skilled manufacturing and possibly even in construction.

But lower-skilled positions such as clerical, distribution, customer service, janitorial, caregiving, etc.? We think the market for these positions may turn from a candidate’s to an employer’s, even after the economy recovers.

  • All of us will think of work and careers differently.

Many of us – both employers and workers – will discover that we can work for home. This can turn into a great way to reclaim some work-life balance for overly stressed employees.

The pandemic also is making us think far differently regarding how our work lives and our home lives mix….or how well they don’t. We may rethink the entire concept of career such that working 10 or 12 hours a day and being always available so that we can “get ahead” at the expense of our families and our own health no longer appeals to many of us.

As we stay at home, not able to go anywhere or do much of anything except work from home, shop for food, help our kids with school work, etc. could mean we realize how little in consumer goods and the “next big thing” we truly need in order to be happy. Many of us may turn down positions that “require” work hours beyond 40 a week.

Only time – and the pandemic’s trajectory – will tell, of course. But the integration of work with a rich home life well could become the new “must have” for many of us.

How can we help you recruit and interview remotely?

Keeping the Human in Human Resources

Technology is great … until it becomes a substitute for the human touch.

Many experts are worried that too many of us are relying on technology in our day-to-day lives. This extends, of course, to relying on tech to do away with tasks we find tedious or rote.

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But should we? Take HR. For example, instead of calling or emailing candidates personally, how many times do you send out template rejection letters or emails to people who you interviewed in person? Don’t they deserve a personal touch such as a phone call? After all, they took the time out from their day – their jobs – to come to your business to interview. Is it really too overwhelmingly tempting for you to shoot out a cookie-cutter email letting them know they weren’t selected?

How technology already impacts HR

Technological tools already have made a huge bang on human resources. For example:

  • Recruiting tools such as applicant tracking systems (ATS) have simplified the hiring process.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) helps match candidates with your open positions. It also can be used to help your current employees find answers to the many “typical” questions to which they normally turn to HR to ask.
  • Video conference and other collaboration platforms help recruiters interview candidates (in preliminary interviews, at least).
  • Many performance-management tools now automate processes such as collecting employee feedback, sending messages to employees, etc.
  • Paying employees digitally.
  • Providing online training, new employee onboarding and employee development programs.
  • Company-wide intranets that give employees information as needed. These intranets also can provide employees with direct access to their own personnel records, etc.
  • Human capital management software automates many tedious HR tasks, such as tracking hours worked by department/project, employee turnover and attrition, storing critical compliance data, and more.

The ways in which technology makes us feel disconnected from each other

Whether the following are “unintended consequences” or not of using technology to make our day-to-day work lives easier, the fact remains: we’re feeling less and less connected to each other:

  • Text messaging, email and social media often are the preferred method of communicating with colleagues, even when a face-to-face meeting or a simple phone call would answer questions and concerns easily, more collaboratively and even more quickly.
  • Technology allows us to work remotely, so we may never interact with subordinates or co-workers in real life at all.
  • Many of us now are “tethered” 24/7 to our bosses/jobs, always feeling that we “need” to be available to our employers lest we be seen as slackers of non-team players. This feeling of “always being at work” is proven to be detrimental to our health and personal relationships.

As technology – particularly artificial intelligence (AI) – moves more and more into the recruiting/human resources space we feel it’s more important than ever to ensure that the human touch remains an important part of the work we do in our professions. So much so that we’ve decided to discuss the idea of keeping the human in human resources in more depth moving forward.

That said, we will discuss how human resources professionals can keep their empathy on full display when dealing with employees and candidates. We know all too well how stressful working in recruiting/HR can be and how easy it is to start look at people as “problems” rather than as assets. Look for that post later this month.

In the meantime, if you need more humans to work for a few hours or a few months, contact the recruiters at Helpmates. We can source, vet and place terrific workers quickly. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Signs Are There. Do You See Them? A Layoff Is Coming.

Did you not see it coming? Were you gobsmacked when your boss called you in to her office one Friday afternoon to let you know you were being pink-slipped? Did you walk out of the building in a daze as you held a small box with your personal items? Did your spouse or parents open their mouths wide in shock when you told them you’d been axed and say the words you’d been saying to yourself all afternoon: “How could this have happened!? What a surprise!!”

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What a surprise indeed.

NOT!

Very few layoffs happen in a vacuum. Truly: very few. There almost always are signs, indications of a pending reduction in force (known in the biz as a RIF) at your employer. Here are a few of them, below.

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign.

Businesses lay off employees for many different reasons. Among them are financial issues, mergers/acquisitions, loss of market share, weak earnings for more than one quarter, simple cost-cutting measures, etc.

The easy-to-see signs in such cases (corporate issues) include:

  • Your employer puts a freeze on spending. Not a freeze on hiring – not yet – but projects that a month ago were on the docket are postponed, capital improvements are delayed, etc. Business travel is curtailed and/or you’re asked to travel coach rather than business class.
  • Perks start disappearing. No more Free Lunch Fridays. Business trips have you staying overnight at The Sleep Inn, not the Hilton.
  • If there’s a big financial crisis – a merger/acquisition, stock sell-off, or your company’s latest and biggest product falls absolutely flat – start firing up your idling professional network and revamp that resume. And pronto!

You could call these signs of impending continued-employment doom “macro” signs because they tend to be of a company-wide sort. There also are signs of a “micro” ilk: they are smaller and are more subtle in their clue-giving.

  • Your boss is often too busy to meet with you. For several weeks.
  • You’re not receiving the plum assignments anymore. In fact, your workload may even lighten.
  • You’re not asked to attend key meetings anymore.
  • You’re moved to an entirely new position. One you didn’t ask for. You don’t receive a pay cut, but there’s no raise either. Extra “goodbye to you” points if the position is lower on the org chart.
  • You’re put on probation for performance issues.
  • You’re asked to take a pay cut. This could be a company- or department-wide request, if it’s more of a macro-issue for the entire department/company. Regardless, if this happens to you it’s time to start looking for a new employer…yesterday.

It’s the Economy, Bucko

Recessions, come and go, come and go, come and go. It’s the absolute way of things. Just because it’s a definite candidate market today doesn’t mean a recession doesn’t arrive in year or two. Because recessions are inevitable. And with them come layoffs: many employers lay off many hard-working, talented people. Since a recession is coming (someday, and possibly soon), we wrote recently on how to help yourself become recession-proof.

Regardless of the reason, if you’ve been let go recently, contact the recruiters at Helpmates, as we can help your find a new job and/or help you keep money coming in while you look. We look forward to hearing from you.

Having Difficult Conversations….with Your Boss

It’s natural – so work hierarchy goes – for a supervisor to call in a subordinate and have that conversation:

  • You’re performance has been lacking lately.
  • You come in to work late too often.
  • You’ve missed two project deadlines in the last month.
  • And so on.

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But sometimes it’s the subordinate who needs to bring up a difficult topic with the boss:

  • I’ve noticed you didn’t assign me to the new project.
  • You provided me only a “meets expectations” rating on my annual review and I disagree with your assessment.
  • You refused to let me take Friday off when I worked the last three Saturdays in a row.
  • And so on.

Notice all the topics mentioned above have to do with the employee’s performance. Many people may be wary of bringing up such things to a manager: “If the manager had an issue with me, surely she would bring it up? No news is good news, right?”

No.

Being proactive in all things that have to do with your performance always is best when it comes to succeeding on the job and in your career. Speaking up in a professional, respectful manner puts you on a more even footing with a supervisor and helps the esteem a manager feels for you rise.

In addition, mentioning something that troubles you about your manager’s interactions with you allows you to find out if your boss does have an issue, or – and far more likely – discover that the “new” way of interacting with you is a fluke: the boss was distracted,  worried, stressed, etc.

Still, bringing it up is a very good thing. You may not want to do so at the first instance of a change in your manager’s interactions with you, but if it continues, gird yourself and ask.

Here’s how to have this conversation.

  1. Ask for permission to meet. When your boss appears calm and open, ask to meet to discuss. You should be somewhat specific, but don’t go into detail: “I’d like to discuss my review.” “I’d like to ask you something I’ve been wondering about.” And so on. You also can request a meeting in an email. Regardless of which method you choose, make it a brief request.
  2. Be clear. Don’t go into detail. Don’t whine: “I gave up three Saturdays to work here because I knew how important this project is for you. You mentioned a couple of weeks ago I could take a Friday off. Yet when I asked Wednesday, you said no. May I ask why?”
  3. Ask for your manager’s perspective. “I don’t remember any negative aspects of my review. Perhaps I missed something?” Or “Did something come up of which I’m not aware?”
  4. Listen closely and ask questions. If you’re confused about something, ask for clarification Remember, don’t whine/complain. Don’t make excuses. Explain your thinking in more detail but don’t become defensive.
  5. The goal isn’t for you to “win” and your manager to “lose.” Instead, your goal should be to arrive at a resolution about which both of you will be satisfied. For example, perhaps your boss gave you only a “meets expectations” rating because she believes your work has been better in the past and she noticed a decline. The two of you could work out an agreement that if your performance rises back to its previous level by a certain date, she will change her assessment to “exceeds expectations.”

Yes, chances are good you’re going to feel uncomfortable asking for a meeting/during the meeting.  But careers are made and broken on one’s ability – or lack of – to have difficult discussions. Look at this as an opportunity to exercise your ability to deal with discomfort.

When looking for a new job or career, check out the opportunities here at Helpmates. For more information on how we can help you find work, contact the branch office nearest you.

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