candidate experience 2021

The Candidate Experience 2021 | Recruitment News UK

The world is beginning to open back up. But is it business as usual?

It’s party conference season in UK politics this month. The overwhelming message sounded from the government’s own conference has been: get Britain back to work. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has laid out his wish to see workers getting back into their offices. But, with more than 18 months of disrupted work schedules behind us, how realistic an ambition is that?

Last month, we examined five ways recruitment has changed – for recruiters. But the changes have, if anything, been even more profound for jobseekers and candidates.

In this article, we consider some of the changes to the ways candidates are approaching the job market. An ability to accommodate new behaviours and expectations is what will help great recruiters stand out from the rest.

People’s work-life balance has changed

This one is obvious. Months of lockdowns have (perhaps irreversibly) changed the way we work.

Agile working was once the exclusive reserve of tech companies who had the facilities. Now, everyone has had a taste of flexible hours, remote tasking, and avoiding a nine-to-five schedule.

We have all tasted the benefits and – yes- the drawbacks. On the one hand, we can fit in domestic micro-chores around our professional tasks. this makes us massively more efficient at time management. On the other hand, we have also seen how working from home blurs the lines between the working day and our private time. It’s not all positives.

But science tells us that the greatest challenge to returning to the workplace will not be based on reward and responsibility, but on basic human psycho9logy.

How important is it?
Studies show that it takes 66 days to turn new behaviour into habit. Clearly, we have all spent much longer than that working in new ways during the pandemic.

The challenge for those wishing a mass return to the daily commute is to break that established routine. It may be that a less regimented working pattern is here to stay. Recruiters who cannot accommodate this expectation may find themselves swimming needlessly against the tide.

people’s earnings expectations have changed

We have all seen the news reports. For myriad reasons, Available workers are in short supply. Whether it is HGV drivers leaving Britain due to Brexit, or shop floor staff missing shifts because of illness scares, there are fewer available in the job market than there once were. And the workforce drought is starting to hit key sectors: from retail and logistics to healthcare and public services.

At the same time, job creation is accelerating, as businesses seek to capitalise on growing economic activity, post-pandemic. It means that the story is the same everywhere: fewer candidates; higher wages.

How important is it?
It is important to recognise that – while this may only be a temporary trend – it is one of high priority to candidates. It may be the case that, a year from now, employers will be able to negotiate a lower rate as workers return to the labour market.

Right now, it’s a seller’s market and candidates are likely to take their skills elsewhere if they do not believe your agency is finding the best outcome for them. This has to be expertly balanced by correctly set and managed expectations. As a recruiter, you need to perhaps manage the more unrealistic ambitions in order to provide a successful candidate experience.

people’s core values have changed

One thing that has united communities through the tough times has been the up-swell in support for key workers.

This, combined with a shortage of critical logistics and service staff may see a shift in the labour market. Will a greater sense of duty to the community see an increase in attention for service-sector roles?

How important is it?
Job market trends around desirability are always useful for a recruiter to remain on top of. However, few recruiters will find success by simply dashing after the latest market moves. Expertise and specialisation remain valued properties of the best recruiters – and that is unlikely to change any time soon.

Location could be a bigger factor

Following months of lockdown and limits on movement, people are still apprehensive. Could a new lockdown be imposed? Nobody would bet against it. And, for that reason, some candidates may be looking for work a little closer to home.

Many people won’t want to take on the risk of finding themselves stranded in a new town without the opportunity to return, if lockdowns return. In this situation, software tools such as Jobfeed are perfect for localised recruitment. The vacancy finder lets you seek out new jobs within a certain radius of any UK postcode. Having this facility to hand ensures you can make the perfect job search for each candidate as an individual – whether they’re adventurous, or a homebody.

How important is it?
It’s difficult to gauge beyond anecdotal evidence. We are only now emerging from full restrictions and the behavioural impact has not been fully assessed. However if, during your regular work, you are finding more candidates displaying caution around job opportunity location, this may be the reason.