5 recruitment lessons learned during Covid-19

Sep 27, 2021 | Attraction & marketing

18 months on from the first UK lockdown Jessica GrundyHead of Early Talent Recruitment Strategy across EMEA at Johnson & Johnson – considers what have we learned in student recruitment

Overnight Covid-19 meant that we were plunged into a new way of working, a fully virtual world that would change how we recruit forever.  But as we start to return to the office, attend face-to-face events and reflect on this unique experience, what have we learned that will change the way we recruit early talent?

1. Virtual is here to stay – prepare for a hybrid return

Rapid experimentation was embraced across the industry over the course of the pandemic.  From online recruitment festivals to immersive employer brand experiences there is no doubt we have all learnt a lot about the virtual delivery of our campaigns.

That said, alongside an impactful virtual strategy there is still a hunger for those more meaningful face-to-face interactions between candidates and employers—recent research even suggests early talent are setting even higher standards for virtual and pushing for face-to-face connections.

As we continue to establish our new normal, a hybrid return with the right blend of virtual and high impact, purpose driven face-to-face engagement will set successful campaigns apart.

2. We have more in common than not – find commonality within your organisation

It took a crisis to bring many organisations together; a period of forced collaboration has enabled a more cohesive and truly global strategy to emerge.

Whilst it’s important to acknowledge and respect the regional and country level differences, finding the similarities and then driving forward a truly global approach with a shared purpose is incredibly impactful.

3. Change is constant – find opportunities in it

Remote working. Digital acceleration. Hybrid working. These big forces of change over the last 18 months have taught us that, if anything, change is constant. The key is to leverage that change.

First, change opens up opportunities to do things differently. For example, you might use this period of forced collaboration to strengthen your overall early talent strategy.  Second, change can be difficult. Understand what you can control and what you can’t control to help you channel energy into the right places.


4. Virtual has broken down barriers in recruitment – plan and design for the diversity you want to recruit

One of the best outcomes of the pandemic and the switch to virtual has been increasing access to talent employers simply would not have reached before.

Offering engaging opportunities to meet with potential candidates has increased the diversity of candidates for many employers and led to better representation across minority groups and hard-to-recruit candidates.

Pivoting away from a set of target universities and improving access will lead to positive diversity outcomes across the industry.


5. A clear purpose is compelling – lead with your purpose

Early talent continue to seek connection with an organisation’s purpose and values, by some accounts even more so than pre-pandemic. Be proud of who you are and articulate your purpose in a way that aligns with your audience.

Ensuring your campaign brings your organisation’s purpose to life in an authentic and meaningful way is a powerful tool to attract exceptional talent.

Jessica shared her experiences at the latest ISE Student Recruitment Conference.

Catch up with ISE Student Recruitment Conference 2021

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