Internal Recruitment – “The New Normal”

2020 has certainly been the year of “adaptability”, and internal recruiters have had to adapt and
innovate due to Covid-19; but have these changes had a positive impact and are they here to stay?
We are all fully aware of increasing unemployment rates and large scale redundancies, however,
there are industries whose hiring plans have not slowed down or may have even ramped up;
logistics, supermarkets, pharma and technology are an example of where hiring hasn’t stopped. A
quick look on Glassdoor will show some organisations displaying the “hiring surge” banner, a welcome
beacon of hope and a reminder that life, and hiring, must go on.

I was very fortunate to work on a secondment basis as an internal recruiter for 6 months from April;
the organisation was going through a high-growth phase, and utilised Williams Kent offering of a
flexible recruitment service. I had a great 6 months, developed a newfound respect for internal
recruitment teams, and felt I truly understood how we had to adapt in challenging times. But how
have things changed, and where can we still improve?

Virtual Interviewing and Onboarding

A huge majority, if not all within the corporate world, are using video technology throughout the
interview process. From my personal experience, it has saved time due to lack of travelling,
candidates have felt more relaxed as they are usually within their home environment, and it has
allowed interviews to take place at otherwise inconvenient times, which has allowed organisations
to move more quickly through the hiring process. However, video isn’t for everyone, technology
issues can get in the way and it’s up for debate how much rapport can be built over an internet
connection as opposed to seeing each other in real life. I think, moving forward, we will see a mix of
both video interviews for the initial stages and face to face interviews for the final stage. When
candidates come into the office for an interview, they will meet with the person at reception, will
see their future colleagues on their way out to lunch and will to be able to see the environment they
will be working in, all very important things in helping both sides decide.

High volume of applications

This is something I have both experience with as an internal recruiter and something I hear as a
rejection from internal recruiters as to why they do not want to partner with a recruitment agency. I
get it. There are more candidates in the market than there has been for years and it is common for
roles to be attracting 200 + applications. However, the time it takes for recruiters or managers to go
through such a high volume is insurmountable, especially if you have multiple roles and get to the
end of all of the applications with no suitable candidates in the pool. I believe there are a few
solutions to this ‘problem’; work with a flexible recruitment provider, such as Williams Kent, who is
able to provide a CV screening service, this will allow your team to just review and speak with
suitable candidates without spending days sifting through CVs. The other alternative would be to
tighten your application process, add in additional application questions to ensure that only relevant
candidates are applying.

Candidate experience

A positive that has been seen throughout this year is the real sense of community, people want to
help each other out and LinkedIn is full of recommendations and helpful hints for jobseekers. This
obviously works both ways and now, more than ever, candidate experience is so important. Job
searching is difficult and not receiving responses to applications is even more difficult to accept. This
follows on from the previous point; internal recruiter’s time is not indefinite, it’s hard to manage a
high volume of applications, get back to all of those candidates as well as everything else that comes
with your day job. A process needs to be in place, even if that’s to hire an interim administrator to
help you through, to work on lowering the volume of applications, or to ensure the ATS you use can
send out replies. It’s so important to remember that the tide will turn and we will go back to a
candidate short market, so we have to do the right thing now.

Recruitment team redundancies

Recruitment teams haven’t been exempt from redundancies and it’s still an uncertain times. This
may mean that more recruitment falls to the managers or the volume of BAU roles that each
recruiter is managing increases. In this case, it may be beneficial, again, for a company to utilise a
flexible recruitment provider to ensure continuity within hiring and to ease the load on managers
and the remaining team alike.

Post-Covid world

Eventually, teams will go back to the office (albeit slightly differently from before) and hiring will
reach pre-pandemic levels, but one thing is for certain, the things we have learned during this year
will change the way we approach recruitment in the future. We are still continuing to adapt and I
would love to hear different ways in which you or your organisation have navigated the “new


Categories: Employee, Employer, HR

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