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Leveraging Talent in a Post-Pandemic World

Erin Iafelice

The labor market has been flooded with candidates in the past year, and practical thinking suggests it would be easier now to hire the right talent. However, that is not the trend. Many of our clients have experienced higher turnover rates for employees hired after March 2020 than those hired before the initial economic shutdown. This is especially true in the healthcare, retail, and warehousing industries. You may be wondering why it remains so difficult to find qualified candidates and what your recruiting team can do to get over this hurdle. 

Three reasons hiring hasn’t become easier

Though the U.S. unemployment rate has dropped back into the single digits, it is still relatively high compared to pre-pandemic rates. Given the talent market’s breadth, why does it still feel like qualified candidates are in short supply? While the reasons vary by industry, there are some of the overarching factors:

  1. Some jobs have changed with the shift to virtual. The transitions to online interaction changed job duties and the skills they require to varying degrees. Many roles have expanded, such as physicians and nurses seeing patients via videoconference. It is estimated that as much as 50% of all employees will need reskilling in the coming few years to keep up with digital technologies.
  2. Other jobs are brand new. Increased business demand and new business strategies created many new roles during the pandemic, such as contact tracers and plexiglass shield installers. It’s never easy to hire for positions that take employees into uncharted waters.
  3. Prioritization of soft skills has shifted. In 2020, creativity, persuasion, and collaboration were some of the most in-demand soft skills organizations looked for in new talent. In the post-pandemic world, they’ve moved down the list in importance. According to a recent study in Forbes, accountability, assertiveness, and collaboration/teamwork top the list in 2021. This change has substantial implications for the candidate selection and interview process.

What can recruiting teams do to ease hiring strain and bring qualified new hires onboard? Leveraging talent agility is part of the answer. One of the changes we’ve seen organizations make is taking a more agile approach to talent acquisition. Hiring teams evaluate candidates for fit across many jobs – concurrently – instead of limiting candidates to a single job requisition. An essential aspect of this approach is upfront education about a range of roles candidates may be interested in applying for. Messaging to potential candidates shifts from being primarily about the role to including more about the organization’s employee value proposition (EVP). This talent agility approach was already in place with some recruiting teams pre-2020. It’s likely to gain traction as more organizations cope with growing skills gaps moving forward.

Another critical strategy is the implementation of advanced pre-employment assessments. Recruiters can use these assessments to quickly identify the candidates most likely to succeed in the role whether they have prior experience in that specific job or not. Modern Hire’s Telehealth Provider Virtual Job Tryout® is one such advanced assessment. It includes exercises to measure competencies related to success as a telehealth provider, such as adapts to changecommunicates effectivelyfollows the rules and procedures, and drives for results. By utilizing pre-employment assessments proven to predict candidates’ future performance on the job, recruiters can quickly recognize and advance top talent. This data-driven approach enables recruiters to focus more on qualified candidates and move to the job offer stage faster, making it easier to secure great hires. Data-driven hiring can help hiring teams respond effectively in the current talent market.

Modern Hire shares more about the trend in leveraging talent agility in our 2021 Hiring Trends ReportRead it now to find out about the most crucial hiring trends for TA practitioners in 2021 and what you can do to ensure your organization is prepared to embrace the opportunities ahead.