How Has COVID-19 Changed Recruitment?


The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many sectors run, as we surpass 2 million cases, and 190,000 deaths worldwide. All around the world, countries have responded to the crisis through a mixture of lockdown measures and social distancing practices, including the UK.

The pandemic has led entire industries to experience major disruptions, adapting the way they work to abide by new lockdown measures and prevent the spread of infection. Of these sectors is recruitment (source: Redstone Commodity Search), an industry that has undergone many changes since the start of COVID-19.

A Reduction in Applications

There has been a considerable reduction in job applications through recruitment agency for CRM during 2020, reports showing a 19% dip during January, and 47% dip in February when compared to the previous year. This reduction in applications could be due to the fact that much of the process relies on face-to-face interaction, which is not a possibility at the moment given the current situation.

However, the recruitment sector, like many other industries, have adapted to this by using digital tools to help conduct their business online. Video conferencing apps such as Skype and Zoom are currently being used by all sorts of businesses working remotely, helping them to connect with clients, colleagues and potential employees.

Companies everywhere are utilising these, as well as other online tools, to communicate with their business – even recruitment agencies have begun to set-up online interviews for potential candidates.

Most industries offering almost any service have seen changes and/ or reductions in their applications, including the likes of loans (more information), mortgages and those servicing the high street or other sectors experiencing troubling times.

Working Remotely

With so many countries around the world implementing lockdown measures, many involved in the recruitment process have started working remotely.  Whilst schools shut and non-essential businesses close, those in recruitment have begun to manage their roles from the living room; interviewing potential candidates from the comfort of their own home.

This has helped to keep recruitment running during this difficult time, whilst also helping to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the process. As many have begun to effectively manage working out of the office, these types of remote operations could be seen more and more, with lockdown measures remaining for the foreseeable future.

Speedier Hiring Across Recruitment Practices

Whilst much of the pandemic has restricted business operations, there are some areas where working remotely has actually improved certain recruitment processes, including hiring.

Candidates can organise a telephone/video call into their schedules much quicker than visiting the office, speeding up the hiring process. This in addition to being stuck at home with limited things to do has freed up a lot of people’s schedules for job hunting and interviews.

This could potentially lead to a quicker interviewing rounds, and subsequently a more time-effective hiring process.

A Slower Onboarding Process

However, although potentially making hiring a more efficient process, is this something that will be used by the industry after the pandemic? Some consider the virtual interview to create a disconnect between the candidates and the workplace.

A typical interview would allow candidates to pick up on the atmosphere of the place, interact with staff and imagine how they’d fit into the environment. With Skype, none of this is possible, which can lead some candidates to feel initially disconnected to their new workplace.

This may cause issues with the onboarding process, and may even inevitably slow it down, bringing into question whether virtual hiring is an effective process at all. Overall, COVID-19 has significantly impacted the world of recruitment, and will continue to do so until the virus is under control. However, whilst much of its impact has restricted the area, its ability to adapt to these extremely unusual circumstances reflects a resilience and versatility within the industry.