While no one can fully predict the timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic, it looks like one of its side effects — the hybrid workforce — is here to stay for most white collar employers. Many organizations have discovered after shutting down offices in 2020 that remote work is more than just a perk; it opens up a new world (literally) for recruiters. Now that we can seek qualified candidates outside of a limited geographic area, many companies are seeing benefits in establishing a hybrid model that combines remote work with in-office work, with some variance.
Hybrid could mean that part of your workforce is fully remote and part is in-office, or it could mean that your employees work partly remote and partly in office. Either way, there are benefits to both employees and employers.
In a recent Gartner survey of 258 HR leaders, only 1% of the HR leaders surveyed expect all of their employees to work full-time in the office (regardless of reopening plans). Fifty-nine percent of HR leaders said their organization will let employees work remotely occasionally with approval from their manager — a 21 percentage point increase since November 2020.
And nearly half (49%) reported they will let employees work remotely on certain days and nearly one-third (32%) will let employees work remotely all of the time.
How the Hybrid Workplace Changes Recruitment Marketing
One of the most important factors for recruiting outreach is scalability. If you and your team are accustomed to outreach that is defined by geography, seeking candidates that fit into a hybrid workplace is going to be broader, but also more challenging. Your organization must be able to identify which roles will be in-person, which are remote, and which are targeted to hybrid-friendly candidates if their work will be a blend of in-person and remote work. This gives you three personas to target, when many of us have been focused solely on remote recruiting throughout 2020.
This also means that the leadership at your company must make a decision about what a return to work looks like. As the vaccine rollout accelerated, many employers planned a full return to in-office work – and then the Delta, and now the Omicron variant arrived and many postponed those plans. This led to recruiters sending outreach emails to candidates with job descriptions that say some form of “this position will be remote until our office reopens.” Candidates looking for remote work are less likely to respond to ambiguity. Your organization should be working to identify:
- Which positions can be fully remote, meaning that you can recruit globally
- Which positions are fully in-office, even if they are currently remote, and must be recruited locally
- Which positions will be a blend of in-office and remote work, which means your recruitment marketing will target the geographic area where you are located
Creating a Recruiting Strategy for the Hybrid Workplace
Once you have identified your target candidate personas, it’s critical to ensure that your candidate experience is as close to the same as possible for both remote and in-person roles in order to avoid discrimination or bias.
For example, if you’re holding in-person and virtual job fairs, you’ll want to ensure that candidates have the same access and availability for both. If you’re offering on-the-spot interviews at your in-person events, consider how to replicate this in your virtual events. Many event platforms are able to host breakout sessions that can be used to do this.
The same goes for in-person versus virtual interviews, assessment testing, screening, hiring and onboarding. Each of these processes can be replicated and done well. In fact, many recruiting and talent acquisition teams are using the same methods for outreach as they did before the pandemic, but are now also using technology that became quite common during the pandemic like video interviews, online assessment tools, and virtual onboarding for both remote and in-person roles. Why? Speeding time-to-hire has never been more important.
In order to foster a positive candidate experience, closing the gap between interview and offer must be a central part of your recruitment marketing. Candidates have options, and they aren’t waiting for your offer before they begin interviewing for a role at another company. Experienced candidates in high-volume industries are likely to have multiple offers, so keeping candidates updated regularly about where they are in the process and what to expect next (and doing so quickly) is key to reducing time-to-hire and creating a better candidate experience.