According to Sterling’s recent “Hiring Reimagined” report, two-thirds of HR teams envisage an increase in the number of contingent workers that they plan to hire over the next two years.
This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. The pandemic moved us to a remote working world and people have reassessed their careers, with many opting for an improved work-life balance. But more fundamentally, the need to pivot and adapt has meant a need to quickly source specialist skills to meet with volatile markets and fluctuating consumer demand.
Meanwhile, the talent shortage — half of employers are still unable to find suitably qualified candidates — is dampening companies’ growth prospects. And with increasing numbers of workers now joining the hordes of remote, contingent or gig workers, companies can no longer afford to focus solely on their more traditional or permanent workforce alone. Indeed, four in 10 said that competing for temporary workers would be their biggest challenge moving forward.
This brings talent sourcing strategies into sharp focus. How can employers make their processes more efficient without losing robustness or thoroughness? Ensuring a smooth, user-friendly candidate experience will be paramount to attracting an retaining top talent. Portraying a culture and values that resonate with applicants is absolutely critical in today’s ultra-competitive market.
Insight from one of our recent webinars also revealed that 84% of the gig workforce apply for jobs using their smartphones. So, if your processes aren’t mobile friendly, you run the risk of losing out on top talent from the very outset. The same can be said about digital Right to Work verification checks, which will not only speed up processes but also make screening more reliable and effective. Technology can assist enormously, although you still need human experts to review and validate documentation.
Background screening is vital to avoid costly hiring mistakes. Yet worryingly, and despite 40% of HR professionals saying that they will be dealing with more types of applications, a third said that they were screening traditional employees only. The same number also admitted that they hadn’t made any changes to their screening process. A poor screening experience was also cited by a quarter of jobseekers as a reason why they either dropped out of a hiring process or considered doing so.
For the 52% of HR professionals who said they would add more services to make their background screening more thorough, identity verification was their top area of focus. This was followed by social media screening, which is another strategic way to unearth key information about a candidate and mitigate hiring risk.
Given the clampdown on illegal working and with the government recently publishing new guidance on employment status and rights, employers must ensure their background screening and identification checks aren’t in breach of immigration rules. Failure to comply can lead to severe financial penalties.
So, what can recruitment firms and internal hiring teams do to improve their hiring of contingent workers? Here are some suggestions:
Get comfortable with change. If the pandemic and the Ukraine conflict taught us one thing, it’s that we just don’t know what’s coming next. Organizations must therefore remain agile in view of changing market conditions. What won’t change is the need for contingent workers to help plug those acute skills gaps.
Focus on the candidate experience. There are always improvements that can be made to any hiring process. The end goal is to make it fast and efficient without losing any of the rigor that could negatively impact outcomes. Communication with applicants is critical throughout the process to maintain engagement.
Check carefully to avoid costly hiring mistakes. Carrying out background screening checks is a vital part of the recruitment process to ensure you recruit the right person. Balance moving quickly with being meticulous. Digital technology, automation and AI will speed things up, but you still need humans to validate information.
Take candidate feedback on board. No matter how successful your talent strategy, I would always recommend talking to candidates to gain their feedback. Take note of what they say and action improvements. As we found, a screening process must first and foremost reflect the organisation’s culture and values. That is at least a great place to start.