It would be an understatement to say hiring in the past year has been difficult. Businesses, scrambling to meet headcount demand in the midst of a global pandemic, have had to make adjustments throughout the process. Switching from in-person hiring to remote; relying more on employment screening services and other shifts have changed the way we hire. Some changes will probably revert as the pandemic wanes. Other new protocols were recognized as helpful time-savers: these will continue as HR teams look for ways to do their job easier and better.
For 2021, the newest screening trends in recruitment may have been born of necessity, but they’ll thrive because they simply work well for the way we hire today and into the future.
1. Remote interviews
Thrust into online meetings and interviews overnight, we’ve had a year to work out the glitches and make remote interviews professional. For recruiters and job seekers, the savings in time spent commuting and the sheer convenience has been a boon. Scheduling candidates via remote feed, and having access to record the interview to share with hiring authorities later, has been serendipitous. The ability to schedule multiple team members, some remotely – some in-house, with a candidate without worrying about planning conference room space or juggling schedules will likely continue into the foreseeable future. Remote interviews, from a job seeker’s cell phone, to the most sophisticated software access, are here to stay.
2. Positive candidate experience
As the talent market becomes even more competitive, a focus on candidate experience is a must. Job seekers who believe they’re spending too much time on an application will move on to the next job. Those who aren’t immediately screened through to the next step in the process (through resume screening software) will lose interest. Scheduling software is the next ‘must-have’ on the great candidate experience list.
Organizations that recognize talent is in short supply will work harder to assure their hiring process is streamlined, user-friendly, and time-centric. The faster you can schedule them for an interview, the better, and the fewer other offers will compete with yours.
3. Leveraging AI
The behind-the-scenes hero in recruitment screening is the technology that moves the process along more quickly than even the fastest HR professional can. Screening resumes and applications for minimum requirements in a matter of nanoseconds, rather than minutes, has allowed recruiters more time to spend on high-value activities – like scheduling and interviewing – and less time on rote tasks. As software becomes more sophisticated, screening for qualifications better, removing bias from the hiring process, and more, the more dependable it will become and the more HR teams will rely on it.
4. Background Verification
With or without that in-person ‘instinct’ recruiters often have that makes them question a job seeker’s qualifications, background verifications will continue to be a necessary tool for hiring authorities. Trust, but verify is the HR motto. From academic achievements, to professional skills and experience, it’s important to assure the candidate has truthfully represented their qualifications.
In these challenging times, criminal and social media history are another area worthy of scrutiny. Although in some states and counties, criminal history may not be discussed before an offer of employment is proffered, knowledge may be necessary to assure the applicant is placed appropriately. Social media history screening may be a newer area of investigation, but business is required to do their due diligence an assure every new hire will be a valued member of the team, not a divisive influence on the group.
5. COVID concerns
COVID testing for recruitment and talent management has become the norm. Employees are being asked to get tested pre-hire; routinely if they work in some roles; prior to returning to the office; or if symptomatic. Business is balancing the need to protect workers and the public with testing availability in their area. This trend may continue, at least for the short-term.
New for 2021 will be a decision by business whether or not to require employees receive a COVID-19 vaccination before returning to on-premises work. For workers in the food service, healthcare and other industries, guidelines may be clear. In other industries, there may be less guidance for business to determine whether or not vaccination and verification will be required.
As organizations navigate this new screening protocol, it may be helpful for small businesses to watch what their larger counterparts are recommending. Small to mid-sized business often wait to see what response or reaction employees have to large employer requests for compliance. From here they can gauge by example what their own next steps should be.
As we move past the challenges of COVID-19, new procedures that might not have been considered in the past, like remote interviews, will likely trend upward. All the screening tools leveraged during the pandemic will be assessed: many will move on to become standard procedure in 2021 and beyond.