|  Leadership & HR   |  Recruiting for the future of work post Covid-19

Recruiting for the future of work post Covid-19

ONLY A FEW WEEKS AGO people were struggling to see the role of recruiters, with so many of the workforce being furloughed, limited work during lock-down and squeezed budgets. But now their value is evident more than ever as we recognise the shift in working patterns and begin to better understand what companies and employees want.


What Employees Want

After a period of very different working conditions, employees are thinking twice about where they work. We’re beginning to question if the culture really does fit with our values now that we’ve all had time to take a step back and reflect on what is important to us. People are contemplating their use of time and whether they want to spend hours commuting, or relying on public transport. There is a greater realisation of the importance of feeling cared for and valued that has become very apparent, one way or another, in the behaviours of their managers. People want to engage with activities that are meaningful; if Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s the fragility of the world and how we have to make the most of every opportunity we have and to look after ourselves and each other before thinking about else. And with so much more awareness and status around mental health, wellbeing and engagement, candidates are undoubtedly searching for companies where they experience less stress, where their emotional needs are met, where there is flexibility in working patterns, where communication and support are given high priority and where leadership values are aligned with enabling people to be their best. This is a tall order for companies to match!


What Companies Want

On the other foot, companies need to be prepared for a movement in personnel as they begin to align their workplace to suit their needs and values more than they perhaps gave consideration previously. And therefore managers need to be ready to recruit and now is the right time to be hiring people who have the right qualities and characteristics for the next generation of working. This requires a shift away from traditional checklists of skills and competencies measured against traditional performance managementindicators, and towards more fundamental characteristics and qualities that people have to offer. Recruiters want candidates who show resilience and are able to be accountable, without being in eye-sight of their manager. So, how do businesses assesses these qualities?


Jayne Johnson from Better People joined me to explore how to get underneath the surface of both the candidate and the company when interviewing so that recruitment is a great fit for both parties. With the change ahead of us, businesses can’t afford to get this wrong.


Jayne, what questions should employers be asking to ensure they’re accessing the qualities they need to be seeking?

“I think resilience, personal accountability and self-reliance are going to be important qualities in employees as we look to recruit individuals who are going to spend more time working away from our offices and under the kind of observation that we have been used to. It is also important that we find people who are natural communicators and who will readily reach out for help or support when they need it.

“We should also be asking what experience people have of working from home, and working alone, because in my experience, working from home does not suit everyone. Some people need the social connection of being with others all day and although the flexibility of working from home appeals to them, they will very often find themselves suffering and unable to cope with being distant from work colleagues.


So asking questions like:

  • What is the hardest you have ever had to work for something? What was it and what did you have to do to achieve it?
  • What do you think are the most difficult aspects of working in a team?
  • Tell me about a time that you have had conflicting demands on your time. What was the situation and how did you deal with it?
  • What has been your biggest failure to date and how did you deal with it?
  • Can you describe a situation where you had to ask for help from your colleagues /peers to get something done, or get a project over the line – what was the situation and what was the outcome?
  • What has been your greatest success in your working life? Why did it work so well?
  • What do you think are the challenges that might be faced by a manager who has a team who work from home a lot?”


What questions are candidates more likely to ask in an interview? What are they now looking for in a company?

Candidates are going to be looking for organisations who can offer them a genuine authentic values based work environment, where the questions around diversity, equality, well-being, family support, progression and culture can be answered to their satisfaction.

Candidates will look more carefully at company websites for the “more than money” aspects of a business, job and work environment.  We already know that millennials look for more than money when selecting the organisations they want to work for. Candidates research a company on feedback sites such as Glassdoor to read what ex and current employees may be saying about those businesses and how they treat their employees.

If we want to attract these valuable individuals to work in our businesses, we have to make sure that we are presenting these aspects of our culture, to the outside world as well as to our internal workforce.


So I think managers interviewing need to be ready to answer questions like:

  • What are your work place values? How are they embedded into your culture?
  • What kind of businesses would you refuse to work with?
  • What difference do these values make to the day to day working life in your company?
  • Describe the flexibility you can offer? Working hours, holidays pay etc.
  • What difference do these values make to the day to day working life in your company?
  • Can you give me an example of someone who is succeeding in your organisation?
  • What qualities do you think someone should have in order to succeed in your organisation
  • How do you support working parents in your organisation/What extra support is available for working parents?
  • What support do you have in place for people working from home?
  • What equipment do you provide for people working from home?
  • What flexibility do you offer around working hours?
  • Do you have a holiday buy back scheme?
  • Do you offer a flexible benefits scheme?”


Get the Match Right

Matching the right employees to the right company is going to be of paramount importance to support businesses to be the best they can be, moving beyond Covid-19. For most organisations the need to re-set will involve significant change and therefore it is essential to have a workforce that can help shape and develop the next chapter. Jayne is a great person to help you on this journey.


Now is also the time to ensure you have managers who are competent and confident enough to lead the future of your organisation, to create workplaces where the culture supports high engagement, productivity and wellbeing. Never before have reputations been so highly regarded in light of the demands employees will be making. It’s a big ask of your management who are already under immense pressure and it’s unrealistic to expect them to have the know how in such changing times and under so much scrutiny. I can bounce ideas, be a reflective ear, help develop emotionally intelligent plans and explore ways to improve wellbeing and engagement. Drop me a line.


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