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Webinar: Understanding candidate motivation in the face of Covid-19

Published: Wednesday 14th October 2020

We recently released results of our recent white paper on ‘Understanding candidate motivation in the face of Covid-19’. Therefore, we sat down with Neil Harrison from NH237, National Grid HR director Catherine Schlieben and Adele Swift, national recruitment manager at Handepay. Together, we looked at some of the main points revealed in the white paper. This includes how employers’ actions and attitudes are changing because of the ongoing pandemic. We wanted to better understand how the UK employment market continues to be impacted by Covid-19. The white paper focuses on how job seekers feel about future career moves, revealing the challengers employers now face.

How can employers meet job seeker expectations?

The white paper revealed that nearly half of all workers surveyed want potential employers to have a ‘positive reputation’. Over a quarter stated, how a potential employer treated staff during the pandemic would also be important. However, nearly 50% said they would be reluctant to join a company with a poor Covid-19 reputation.

Regarding these challenges, HR director Catherine notes that constant communication is important. She stresses the need for regular feedback regarding what is happening at work. This includes updates from leadership and listening to the needs of staff. Her company did this through regular surveys and calls with staff to gather feedback. Catherine goes on to detail the many different things it did for workers who had to remain office based. This includes creating sleeping rooms for employees and providing quality catering to those still working.

Recruitment manager Adele agrees with the need to communicate and be open with staff. Pointing to the needs of job seekers, she says company must give more information. It is important to answer the questions that employees and potential employees have. However, she does note this can often be difficult as many employers simply do not have the answers.

Street sign saying job security, reflecting the need for more understanding of candidate motivations

Are companies still hiring?

The survey revealed that many people are reluctant to move jobs until the economy feels more stable. However, is this uncertainty reflected in the hiring practices of companies? Both Catherine and Adele admit their companies are still hiring, but that things have changed. This includes understanding candidate concerns and trying to relieve these. Both admit to seeing job application numbers increase, including more over-qualified candidates. However, the flip side being they have both seen jobs be turned down because of candidate fears over the ever-changing economic landscape. Whilst companies are hiring, there appears to be a natural apprehension to hiring big numbers of people in the current climate.

Mental health and employee engagement

The group also looked at the findings that revealed mental health is a growing issue for employees. This included ways that employers can improve employee mental health through communication and taking an individual approach to issues. Issues discussed included the importance of office layout and staff safety for understanding candidate motivation. As well as how to continue group bonding events for teams of staff that are remote working. You can watch the video below to learn more about these and other topics related to recruitment post-Covid-19.

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