Flexible and home working ‘deal breaker’ for candidates

Flexible working is now “an absolute deal breaker” for candidates being interviewed for new roles, two in-house recruiters revealed in a virtual event last week.

“Now everyone wants it – they’re even willing to take less money,” said Katrina Hutchinson-O’Neill, CEO and co-founder of talent acquisition consultancy JoinTalent.

In a conversation hosted by the London HR Connection, Hutchinson-O’Neill (a previous winner of Recruiter’s In-House Recruitment Leader of the Year Award) and Barbara Sutherland, interim head of talent acquisition at ao.com, concurred that five weeks of lockdown last spring had been a catalyst for a movement with limited momentum over the past 15 years. “We’ve given them [the workforce] the taste of something here,” said Sutherland.

The WFH [working from home] phenomenon is a key result in the recruitment and employment space but the pandemic has created an imbalance in the types of recruitment and resourcing specialists working and left some needs unmet. For instance, the volume of applications is putting a focus on delivery skills instead on of the relationship building qualities needed for tech specialist recruiters, Hutchinson-O’Neill and Sutherland agreed. 

At the same time, many employer branding specialists within in-house recruitment departments have been made redundant during the pandemic, leaving the candidate experience expertise out of the current equation. 

“Volume recruitment is very different from specialist,” Sutherland said. Specialist recruitment requires someone “really logical with attention to detail” while volume is “more about automation and process”, she said.

“Recruiters are really good at papering over the cracks until the house falls down,” Hutchinson-O’Neill said.

“Companies prematurely cut too deep in the TA function,” Hutchinson-O’Neill went on to say.

While numbers of businesses are making thousands of redundancies, companies are still recruiting to fill “pockets of still scarce skills”, Sutherland said. “There is still a war for talent in tech… everyone wants it. There’s a little bit of movement but it’s still tough to get those people.” 

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