In the post-pandemic world, how has candidate behavior shifted, and how can recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) help employers adapt to be successful? Brianna (Brie) Schumacher, Senior Vice President at Hueman, and Anthony Breen, Solutions Director UK for NES Fircroft, said that candidates are now focused on finding roles that best suit their personal needs than on salary; and prioritizing workplace mobility and flexibility.
In part two of our three-part series for RPOA’s Talent Leader Council about changes in candidate behavior, experts describe the latest trends in candidate behavior and provide insight into how RPOs can unleash employers' hiring power to attract and hire the best talent. The following is an edited version of council members Schumacher and Breen's interviews for the series.
RPOA: How did candidates’ behavior change recently?
Schumacher: The candidate market is continuously changing. In late 2021/2022, candidates essentially had their ‘say’ and could ‘shop’ around. In healthcare specifically, many organizations were forced to use more travelers than desired, thus driving up wages and job opportunities. Today, we are seeing fewer candidates ‘shopping’ across multiple organizations looking for the top dollar; instead, what we are finding is candidates are more driven toward specific roles and organizations that align with their personal needs (i.e., company stability is now more important than the dollars more per hour). The change in the economic market is the most prominent driver of this candidate behavior.
Breen: The most obvious change we are consistently experiencing when representing our clients is the increased emphasis candidates place on workplace mobility and, more accurately, workplace flexibility. With a backdrop of employees who have become accustomed to working remotely, post-pandemic, companies took various approaches to work patterns across a vast policy spectrum.
Consequently, workplace mobility has become a significant differentiator for many candidates. With more than half of all new jobs being created in the STEM sector and an already depleted talent pool, competition for talent has never been so challenging.
Another trend we see is far from new, but its impact has become increasingly pronounced. Candidate care and, in particular, timely communication with candidates have never been more critical. Despite ongoing AI-enabled enhancements to ATS platforms, the quality of candidate care during the talent acquisition cycle remains variable–when it should be more consistent and intentional.
What is causing these changes?
Breen: We can blame a lot of different causes, but few would disagree that the pandemic has a lot to answer for. Combine this with a shortage of new workers entering the STEM talent pool at a much slower pace than those leaving, and the impact of rapidly changing technology on global industry and the changes become easier to understand.
How can RPOs help their clients adapt to a changing candidate landscape?
Schumacher: This is what we are made for! Now more than ever, it’s about finding the RIGHT candidates and engaging them quickly with the organization. RPOs focus on quality over quantity to solve the current challenges, developing strong engagement campaigns and highlighting the unique employer value propositions for the organization.
Breen: As companies globally transition to the new normal of where their people work from, strategies remain varied. Arguably, there is no right or wrong way. Every organization has the right to define what is best for them. RPOs support their clients by helping to communicate workplace preferences early in the candidate engagement process and consistently throughout the recruitment cycle.
Candidate communication should be an easy fix when combining a professional RPO partner, an appropriately configured ATS with a genuine commitment to candidate care, and timely communication. We can add tremendous value for our clients and candidates.
Check out our Talent Leader Council on the RPO Voice blog to gain the knowledge you need from top talent acquisition experts to help your organization attract and hire the best talent.