2020 In Review – Talent Acquisition Focus

The coronavirus changed the way we work and social injustice got renewed attention. Inclusion and smart working were top priorities in 2020.

Time Magazine has a cover calling 2020 “the worst year ever”, and we agree, it was a terrible year, in many, many aspects. We won’t go into too much detail as to why. We’ll leave that to the other publications. They will go through the ups and downs of the year with a fine comb. Instead, we will review 2020 and focus on the effects on our fields of expertise.

Here, we want to focus on the effects of 2020 on talent acquisition, for both companies and candidates. The various events of this year have changed we look at talent acquisition, where we find candidates and how we conduct our business.

Social Injustice Fed the Need for Genuine Diversity & Inclusion

In 2020, protests and discussions around social injustice got renewed attention, and with protests, the cause came front and center. This also had its effect on the workplace. Diversity, equality, inclusion, lack of gender bias and pay equality have been on the agendas of business leaders but the events of 2020 acted as a critical call to action.

Companies were asked to reflect on instances of inequality, oppression or bias, and many acted upon this and reacted with genuine initiatives, communication and actions. This will continue to be important, well beyond 2020.

We talked about it before, and emphasized the need for a genuine set of actions. Read out article here.

COVID and the Job Market

The effects of the virus, shutdowns and the drastic cooling of the economy has had a massive impact on the job market. At points, we battled with a record 14.7%, which has since gone down. Jobs were added in the last few months, since the summer, but numbers of jobs added have slowed down.

Many say that the job landscape has changed for good. The virus didn’t act as much as a change agent but as a catalyst. It may have sped up changes in the marketplace, especially in brick-and-mortar retail, hospitality and travel. We have seen an acceleration of companies getting in financial trouble in the past months. Arguably, this was a trend that started already, but the numbers increased this year.

This has an effect on the job market as well. Specialists say that many of the jobs lost may not return. Companies changed the way they operated, and some have seen they continued to be successful with lower headcount. Many have been forced to find new jobs, learn new skills and live with a new, changed and sometimes, lower-paying reality. In industries where social distancing guidelines define how customers can interact, the hits have been harder, and in some cases, permanent. We talk about “going back to normal”, but it isn’t clear when that normal will come, let alone what it will look like.

The silver lining: even though the job growth numbers are slowing, and growth numbers included seasonal needs (US Census and the Holiday season), there is a growth in jobs. In certain areas and geographies, there is an increase in job openings.

Interaction With Candidates

The way companies interacted with candidates and potential employees changed significantly this year. The “careers” section of companies’ websites became even more important to communicate with employees, as well as social media, such as LinkedIn and Facebook. With in-person communication and events like fairs out of the question, companies relied more on digital communication. Many companies stepped up, and optimized their communication channels.

Certain industries continued to need employees, and some even needed more. The high unemployment numbers however, did not guarantee more candidates in certain positions. Tight markets continued to exist. Companies that optimized their online presence, certainly felt the effects of their efforts.

Digital Communication

For interviews, video conferencing became incredibly important. The success of Zoom follows the need of companies talking to candidates. With limited, and in some cases, no personal interaction and travel permitted, companies had to quickly find other ways to interview and connect with potential candidates. Digital tools and interviewing over video was the way to go.  

As a result of companies’ shift in approach, AskAway’s offering of recorded interviews also saw an increase in interest and use. Not just because it allowed for social distancing, but it allowed for more flexibility in interviewing. With key people dispersed over different locations instead of the office, this proved to be a stellar solution. We feel that recorded video interviews proved its relevance, and it’s here to stay.

Standing Out as a Candidate

For candidates looking for a job, the past year has been challenging. Especially March, when the full effects of the coronavirus hit us, but we didn’t quite understand the severity and consequences, was the start of a period in which many people had to apply for positions. The market got flooded with candidates, and competition was much stronger than it had been for certain roles.

Standing out turned out to be important to maximize one’s success. Successful candidates updated their resume – often with help from specialists – and successfully used their network to get noticed. While it has always been smart to optimize the resume and other elements of presentation, in this crisis, with so many people applying for positions along with you, it was absolutely crucial.

What About Next Year?

We can’t really predict how next year will look. It depends on the success and adoption of vaccins, the effects of the virus on everyday life, the economy in your region and how companies respond and develop as we slowly emerge from this situation.

Like we said before, it’s going to be interesting to see what the “new normal” will look like. We don’t think we will go back to the pre-COVID situation completely. In certain cases, that’s for the better. We have developed methods and tools that fit current needs, and where we’re going as a society. Other things need to come back. We need normalcy in our lives. Meeting people. Going out. Traveling. All without feeling anxious, uncomfortable or unsafe.

So, while we agree, along with Time Magazine, that 2020 was very difficult, it offered insights, new ideas and promises for a better 2021. Let’s hope these come true.  

About us

AskAway disrupts the way recruitment is done, by eliminating the need to plan and schedule time-consuming meetings in packed agendas and by offering tools to record or even prerecord interviews. This allows you and your hiring team the opportunity to share and analyze the candidates for your interviews when it suits you. We pre-screen so you don’t have to: talk about the ultimate time management tool.

Contact us to find out more, or sign up for a no-strings attached free demo of our tool here.

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