How to develop a hybrid recruitment and development strategy

Apr 14, 2021 | Sector & policy

If you’re figuring out which virtual activities will remain post-Covid, ISE’s Stephen Isherwood offers some pointers for developing a hybrid recruitment and development strategy.

There are no facts about the future, I once heard a government minister say about Brexit. The same applies to post-pandemic student recruitment and development.

We don’t yet know when campus attraction, internships, recruitment and development programmes can again be delivered in person. We don’t know if market forces will drive recruiters back on campus. We don’t know how much of what we learned about online delivery will remain effective once we are past the Covid-19 crisis. Will we go back to normal or, more likely, adopt hybrid models?

Because we are dealing with an uncertain future there are no tested strategies or case studies to copy. But you can plan, even for the unknown.

Four factors determine what the new ways of working will be:

  1. Budgets: Will your finance manager expect you to bank the savings you have made by not traveling to campus or by assessing candidates online?
  2. Competitors: Are your competitors gaining an advantage by returning to campus in some way or bringing candidates into the office for a final interview?
  3. Students: How will students adapt to the new world and what will they expect?
  4. Technology: How will platforms continue to evolve and offer new ways of working that you can take advantage of?

The shift to online has increased the amount of data available. Review your marketing data to understand what platforms delivered good candidates and which virtual events worked for you.

Your selection and assessment data will tell you what skills you could assess well online and what is best assessed in person.

Internships, placements and work experience will remain important for strong talent pipelines. If you have delivered programmes online, what can you keep online to reach a larger audience?

Data won’t provide all your answers though. In a rapidly changing environment those who are market-aware and have networks to call on for support can respond quicker with better decisions.

5 tips for developing a hybrid recruitment and development strategy

  • Be curious: Talk to people and look at what others are doing, identify your options and opportunities.
  • Keep up to-date with your networks: Everyone is in the same situation so by working together we can work towards solutions that work.
  • Don’t be a sheep: Keep your own objectives in focus, know what you ultimately want to achieve and do what is right for your needs. Just because XYZ plc. has used ABC platform it doesn’t mean their solution fits your needs.
  • Don’t be overconfident, just because you have a plan doesn’t mean it will work: Keep your eyes and ears open and tell others in your team to do the same – those around you need to be confident to call out problems.
  • But don’t let uncertainty paralyse you: Fortune favours the brave, states the old proverb.

Over the last twelve months, the pendulum in our market has swung to 100% virtual recruitment and development. It will swing back as we come out of lockdown, but just how far back we don’t know.

You may not know the future, but you can still plan for it. Remain agile, accept that you will make mistakes, and be prepared to adapt and improvise.

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