Covid-19 and the future of HR: hiring and the talent challenge


Covid-19 has hit talent acquisition hard and its impact doesn't appear to be short-term. Whether it's business as usual for your hiring team, or a case of staying on the radar of top candidates whilst recruitment is on hold, here are 3 things you can do to make sure you hit the ground running as the job market picks up.

The here and now

With recruitment freezes common practice during periods of economic uncertainty, HR teams could be forgiven for putting talent attraction on the back burner for now.   

At its peak, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the hiring landscape didn't make for good reading. The result was widespread hiring freezes. Responses from our survey of 150+ HR leaders on the impact of Covid-19 on talent acquisition provided further evidence of the challenges ahead, with just 35% of respondent's businesses continuing to recruit as normal. 

Q. Have you implemented a hiring freeze? 

Screenshot 2020-07-15 at 08.48.39

Covid-19 has hit talent acquisition hard and its impact doesn't appear to be short-term16% of respondents told us that they were uncertain as to when hiring levels will return to pre-Covid-19 levels, and over half stated that it'll take 7+ months - further evidence of the long-lasting impact of the pandemic. 

Signs of recovery

But it's not all doom and gloom. Slowly but surely, we're starting to see signs of promise with the latest data from LinkedIn suggesting that the global labour market is showing evidence of recovery.  

According to Karim Kimbrough, Chief Economist at LinkedIn, ''the upturn in hiring is especially notable in Singapore and France, which both now register positive hiring rate growth. Meanwhile, Australia, the United States, United Kingdom, and Brazil show more modest but steady upward growth since the start of June.''  

At the beginning of June, the hiring rate in the UK was almost 50% lower than this time last year. But as restrictions ease and business operations ramp up, data from the week commencing 15th June showed signs of improvement, and a hiring rate just over 30% lower, compared with the same date in 2019. Things are starting to move in the right direction. 

Wstill have a way to go before hiring is back to pre-Covid-19 levels, but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. 

As the talent market begins to pick-up, HR teams who have taken steps to support candidates in difficult conditions will be more attractive for top talent seeking their next opportunity. 

For those struggling to juggle many conflicting priorities, it's challenge to find the time to focus on their talent pipeline - the case it seems for 45% of those surveyed.

It's not too late to take action

Here are 3 ways to support candidates and keep your talent pipeline engaged:  

1. Communicate 

Be transparent and keep candidates up to speed with your current situation. It can be as little as an automated email with an update, sharing other vacancies in your business, or clear messaging on careers channels. For A* candidates or those already involved in the hiring process, check-in regularly. Maintain personal relationships and do your best to build excitement about your company and the opportunities it presents.

  1. 2. Share knowledge

It's been a time of knowledge sharing in the HR community, and there's value in extending this offering to your talent pipeline. Schedule drop-in sessions for candidates and focus on their learning and skills. Help them use this time to for their own personal and professional development. By passing on useful tips and advice, once vacancies are released, your business will be front of mind for top candidates and they'll be best placed to wow you. It's a win-win.

  1. 3. Look to the future

We're about to witness a glut of hungry, ambitious grads entering the job market, which presents opportunities for those ready to adapt to hiring in a world shaped by Covid-19. Not all businesses will be able to invest scarce time and money into graduate programmes, but we know that internships, apprenticeships, and graduate programmes are great ways for young people to enter the world of work and add value to businesses. Sounds like a big piece of work, but it doesn't have to be. Check out this article which offers 3 ways you can engage with and inspire the next generation of talent. 

So, whether it's business as usual for your hiring team, or case of staying on the radar of top candidates whilst recruitment is on hold, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure you're well-positioned and ready to hit the ground running as the job market picks up. 

If you'd like to continue the talent conversation, I'd love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me at or on LinkedIn.

You can read the Covid-19 survey write-up here.

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