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Job Market Metamorphosis: How HR Can Prepare

The coronavirus pandemic has initiated what will eventually be remembered as one of the most transformative moments in recorded history. It forced schools and businesses alike to rely on remote work, and it is poised to fundamentally change the way Human Resources recruits top talent.

Why? Some legislators think social distancing will be needed through June. Some officials think schools could stay closed through fall. And in between now and then, some of the nation’s best and brightest will graduate from college – sans an in-person commencement – looking for jobs.

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For businesses whose recruitment strategies rely heavily on career fairs and in-person networking events, something’s going to have to change to reach this eager pool of potential. That means that just like so many other industries, they’re going to have to turn to technology.

However, simply spending more time on their usual job-posting sites won’t necessarily be enough. Today’s young people are members of a new generation, Generation Z, and this group is unlike others in that they feel strongly about personal and professional branding and how recruiters interact with them online. Recruiters are going to have to pay attention to what sites these recent grads are on, meet them there, and also be thoughtful about how they establish a professional relationship.

Now would actually be a great time for recruiters to start building those connections. Students are at home right now, and many of them are on their phones, iPads and laptops filling this time by planning ahead. Their schedules are more open than they’d be if they were still physically attending school, and if your business has immediate hiring needs, reaching out to students and conducting online interviews now could save your organization significant time and resources.

On the flip side, if your organization is understandably hesitant to bring new hires on board due to all the unknowns surrounding COVID-19’s economic impact, it’s still worthwhile to use this time to connect with students. In fact, it’s always worthwhile, as a recent survey shows that 96% of Generation Z believe it’s important to establish connections with employers even if they don’t have an immediate job opening.

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One of the things this pandemic has taught us is that circumstances can change at the drop of a hat. Your business could suddenly close. Or, your business could suddenly be the solution to an issue no one saw coming! In the latter case, it would make a world of difference for HR to already have promising job candidates waiting in the wings.

As for how they do that, it once again all comes down to finding out where students are showcasing their skills, getting on those platforms, and talking with them about their interests, goals, and when they’re expected to graduate – hosting virtual career fairs wouldn’t hurt either. Even if it’s not for another semester or two or three, opening that door and keeping that line of communication alive will eventually reap serious rewards for HR and their organization.

During these dark times, that’s what we need to set our sights on: the future. This situation won’t last forever, and HR professionals who realize and act on that by continuing their talent outreach – especially among the workforce’s next generation – will be glad they did.

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