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Hiring Trends in a Virtual World: Things to Consider in the New Normal

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

Written by Ross Cadestre

The current coronavirus pandemic is disrupting almost every facet of daily life — at work, during family time, and even at play. It’s forced business leaders to re-think, re-group, and re-adjust their strategies to solidify business continuity amid the downturn.

Even before the start of the pandemic, the global workforce was moving to a digital platform, connecting employers and employees alike. The disruption and upheaval resulting from the pandemic has only sped up the transition to a virtual workforce. As a result, the needs, demands, and expectations of businesses have had to evolve too. At first deemed a challenge, this evolution is increasingly viewed as an opportunity to pivot hiring strategies to attract the right talent while creating an enhanced candidate experience.

The only thing talent managers know for sure is that there are complicated days ahead, and so they must constantly re-evaluate how to continue improving and meeting global standards. To do this, they should keep a few considerations in mind that will impact the entire recruitment life cycle.

Hiring for Diversity and “Hiring Black”

When building resilient companies, diversity continues to be recognized as a top effective strategy in human resources and recruiting spaces, especially in delivering considerable performance advantages. Recruiters must heighten focus across all organizational levels to establish an ongoing talent pipeline of diverse individuals. But organizations shouldn’t simply hire for diversity; rather, they should also focus on hiring Black candidates.

In this new normal, companies need to ride the wave of change and create a space for Black leaders. The Black community is under-represented in today’s workforce and change in this area should start with recruitment strategies.

Organizations’ hiring approach has overwhelmingly been identified to exclude Black professionals, so “add and stir” tactics in recruiting must be re-examined to address this issue head-on.

The recent global social justice unrest due to racially motivated incidences of violence against Blacks in the U.S. has brought about an awakening, forcing companies to recognize the reality that having a diverse workforce is not enough.

To truly overcome racial injustice in the face of inequity, organizations must prioritize hiring from the Black talent pool. Indeed, diversity extends far beyond hiring a mix of employees from various races, nationalities, and back-grounds. It also requires companies to lead the charge in dismantling anti-Black systemic racism.

A host of organizations have committed not only to expanding diversity among their top ranks but to setting measurable targets for expanding Black representation within their senior positions. One example is Target Brands, Inc., which seeks to increase its Black workforce by 20 per cent over the next three years.

As well, in November 2020, Scotiabank announced it’ll increase representation of its Black employees in senior leadership roles to 3.5 per cent, in keeping with the company’s BlackNorth Initiative pledge, as well as its goal to increase representation of visible minorities in the company’s leadership roles as a whole by 30 per cent or more.

Enbridge Inc. also signed on to the BNI pledge, in addition to setting the targets of ensuring 28 per cent of its leadership roles are from the Black, Indigenous, and people of colour community, as well as 28 per cent of its workforce by 2025. The energy company is also aiming to have 100 per cent of its workforce complete unconscious bias and anti-racism training by the end of 2021.

Remote Work

Another consideration is for talent managers to embrace the transition toward remote working. Amid the pandemic, recruitment functions continue to feel the brunt of the impact. Face-to-face interactions are no longer viable, and recruitment strategies, which were once designed for personal interactions, now must be adapted for virtual platforms. This sudden disruption has raised awareness within the recruiting industry of the importance of tailoring techniques to streamline the talent acquisition process.

While the pandemic has forced the workforce to embrace technological advancements, digital platforms are making organizations more acquiescent to the modern work environment. As a result, hiring and work processes have taken a turn for the better, and innovative tools can be leveraged to entice, recruit, and retain employees. Businesses must embrace remote working as the new normal because it’s here to stay.

A Global Talent Pool

Finally, virtual recruiting is becoming an integral part of minimizing business disruption and accelerating the hiring workflow. Yesterday’s recruiters have evolved and are now equipped with the knowledge and technological tools that enable them to shift from reactive recruitment methods to more proactive approaches in sourcing talent.

Remote working is taking on a literal sense, removing barriers to new markets and, in turn, new talent pools. Organizations seeking to excel at virtual recruitment are embracing these opened doors. They’re already searching for talent intelligence platforms, and the companies that explore this area stand the best chance of leading the charge in the remote workplace setting.

To thrive in today’s highly competitive global talent market, mid-sized to large businesses must turn to all available sources to select the right talent to address their skill shortages. The world is an oyster, and the pearl nestled in the heart of the shell is complete access to highly skilled and talented individuals from across the globe.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, recruitment leaders must work to build up strategies that are resilient. One thing is certain: the talent acquisition industry must be prepared to withstand the wind of change that will surely come again.

Ross Cadastre is founder and chief executive officer of Kontingence Recruitment and ITS Global.

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