The pandemic has been a challenge for many businesses but has also presented its fair share of unexpected opportunities. It’s likely that your business, for better or worse, looks a little different to how it did 15 months ago. And we’re not just talking about empty offices or your team wearing masks and sanitizing more.

The pivots and rejigs have saved many hardworking businesses from failure. Tenacity and conviction have been rewarded, but these necessary changes will also have opened unknown boxes. Do you have the right skills on your team to match the jobs you now need done? Is there other expertise out there that can elevate your business to the next height?

You may also have seen some of your people move onto new roles or sectors. We all had more time to question our jobs and lives during lockdown and some have chosen to explore different career paths. So if you’re finding gaps in your team, hiring will be on your mind. And like most things post-pandemic, the hiring landscape is now painted in different hues. We run through what to do to kickstart your hiring processes to find the best people for your team.

Increased access to a pool of talent

First of all, hiring is undoubtedly more straightforward now for a lot of roles. We’re all used to Zooming and connecting over video so it shouldn’t seem odd to do your hiring over these platforms too. If it’s important to you to meet someone in person before asking them to join your company, then by all means go ahead. But the video interview can be an extremely useful early stage check, at the very least.

Video interviews and phone calls are easy to organise because working from home is acceptable now. Even with offices going back to varying degrees of hybridity, it will always be easier for candidates to fit in an interview while working from home. You’ll be able to connect quickly and easily, so a lot of the scheduling headaches have been removed.

Much like you may have seen your own team re-evaluated their priorities and move on, your hiring pool is doing the same. And that pool is understandably a lot bigger. In what’s being hailed as ‘The Great Resignation’, in the US alone 4 million people quit their jobs this year. That’s the highest number since records began in 2000. According to Microsoft, more than 40% of the global workforce is thinking about resigning this year. And just under 40% of UK and Irish workers are saying the same thing (with some waiting for signs of a stronger economy).

Some sectors are seeing worker shortages

Some industries are finding it tougher than others. Hospitality and construction typically have a higher EU workforce than their counterparts. And the workers that went home during the pandemic are largely not returning. This is in part due to the continued pandemic restrictions, but also the complications brought on by Brexit.

As a result, many business owners have had to increase their wages to remain competitive. For a lot of restaurants this is by about 15%. And for every sector, the minimum wage has risen by over 2%. And with companies like Amazon still growing and taking other workers from lower-skilled positions, these are becoming increasingly difficult for small businesses to fill.

What can you do?

1. Get online – the classic job platforms like Indeed, Reed and LinkedIn are of course a great first port of call. Beyond that, explore your sector-specific sites like Counter Talk for hospitality roles and Grafter for construction. If you’re looking further afield then companies like Velocity Global can help find talent across the world. 2. Outsource – Outsource your hiring to agencies and recruiters. Yes you’ll be spending more money but the time and effort you’ll save may prove worth it. Besides, you’re also paying for their networks and the additional time they can spend finding and vetting good candidates. This is especially useful for more senior roles where you might want a specific kind of experience. 3. Tap into your existing network – Talk about the fact that you’re hiring! Firstly with your own networks on LinkedIn or other social platforms. You never know who might have a friend of a friend who’s perfect for the role. Also take the time to appeal to your existing team. If they can spread the word through their networks then you’re automatically amplifying your search. Think about offering a referral bonus as an incentive. Talk about it on email on Slack and in company-wide meetings so it’s on people’s minds. When we started hiring, our CEO even wrote this blog post.

Ask yourself how attractive you are

When the pandemic is over, who knows exactly what the workforce and the office will look like? But after 15 months of increased freedoms and less commuting time, employees will want more flexibility. It’s up to you to decide what you want that to look like and what kinds of people you’re hoping to attract. But we’ve seen that working from home is possible and is helpful for a lot of people.

We now have the opportunity to define a better work-life balance and create equal opportunities for those who are less mobile. Whether that’s because of a disability, care-giving or parenting responsibilities, your talent pool is far less limited if you offer flexibility.

Another thing to note is that the number of other businesses on the look out is increasing too. And that means extra competition. If you want to be in with a chance of attracting the top talent then you’ll need to stand out. Review your work perks and policy to make them relevant for a hybrid age. Take this opportunity to look at how your job ads are structured too. Is your company culture clearly articulated? Putting your values front and center will hopefully speak to applicants who are better aligned with your brand.

The importance of personality

Never have our connections been more tested. Teams have had to do more for each other when working remotely, and maintaining meaningful connections has been difficult. Making sure your new hires fit into their teams personality-wise is crucial if there’s still going to be an element of working from home.

In hospitality or other industries where your team works in person or in front of customers, the demands of this year have been tough. Maintaining hygiene and sanitary conditions is something we’re unlikely to turn our backs on. Working under tougher conditions and in potentially smaller teams means you’ll be looking for better cohesion.

So don’t just rely on one interview, or focus only on role-related questions. Understand who your candidate is and if they’re the right fit for your company culture. You’ll be more likely to hold on to them and see stronger performance if the team gets on well.

The right hires breed loyalty

Make the most of the opportunities now just as you did in pivoting. Approaching hiring more seriously requires you to do some company soul searching. Be clear about the kind of people who do well in different teams and what your company needs. And now that we respect people’s lives and freedoms more, you’ll need to make every effort to show that you do too. There’s a lot of movement going, so you want to stand out.

If you need a cash flow boost to make the most of your hiring opportunities then you could explore a flex loan. We think of it as working capital on demand, that you can dip in and out of as needed.