There have been many recruitment lessons learnt as a result of the pandemic which ultimately are changing the way we recruit.

Whilst the nation continues to navigate the pressures and challenges of a 3rd lockdown, many organisations are starting to feel more optimistic about the future. With at least 2 vaccines now approved and a speedy roll out already underway across the UK, businesses are thinking about the future and a time when normality can prevail. But what recruitment lessons have we learnt from the pandemic and how is that impacting the way we recruit?

For in house recruiters and HR professionals, the recruitment landscape may have changed forever. New technologies driving greater efficiencies together with the change in expectations from job seekers will continue to influence processes both in the future and the next few months until lockdown measures are eased. 

Recruiters have learnt some valuable lessons during the pandemic, which will ultimately drive the future of recruitment. 

Optimising your vacancies to help attract top talent

Almost every industry has been affected by the pandemic and as a result the number of vacancies being advertised hit an all time low in 2020. Yet those that were able to continue to recruit or needed to recruit to cope with a surge in demand had access to a wealth of talent as over 800,000 people lost their jobs, had been furloughed or were keen to seek new and more secure employment. 

Arguably, the number of jobseekers will continue to exceed the number of opportunities for some time to come. Whilst this will inevitably help to increase response levels, optimising your vacancies will ensure you also attract the best quality candidates too. 

Every job board, aggregator and social media platform choose to display vacancies in a different way. As the information and the algorithms they use to determine how your vacancies rank in the search results varies so much, optimising your vacancies for all of your chosen sites can often prove a little more difficult. 

As the pandemic continues to change the way we recruit here’s some helpful tips on how to optimise your vacancies during lockdown and beyond.

Job Title

Job seekers will start their search with the job title so it’s imperative that you get it right. Make sure that you research your job titles carefully and avoid using internal titles instead of more widely recognised job titles.

If you are looking to maximise quality over quantity, it is also important to be as precise as you can. For example if you are looking for a Retail Assistant then you will attract candidates from all types of retail roles, but if you need someone with specific experience, ie within electrical goods, then adding this to the job title will highlight expectations and encourage those with the skills you need to apply. 


Due to the number of candidates that have registered for job alerts based around a specific location, using the town or city where the role will be situated will help significantly increase the reach of your vacancies. On some platforms you can also add towns or cities that are within a commutable distance so your vacancies come up in even more searches and are promoted to even more registered candidates. 

Work from home  

In light of the pandemic, many job seekers are now also searching for opportunities where they can work from home and job boards are adding new filters to facilitate these searches. Likewise employers are keen to add the option to work remotely to reassure job seekers at this time whilst also appealing to those who prefer to work in their new environment. 

Advertising a role as remote whether partial or full time obviously allows you to reach a much wider audience of candidates by removing any potential geographical boundaries. 

When manually adding your jobs to a job board like Linkedin and Total Jobs for example, you can select whether the role includes the option to work from home which will automatically ensure that the advert is included in the search results should a job seeker be looking for such an opportunity. For those that dont have the functionality to assign your advert in this way, you may want to look at the use of keywords to ensure your vacancy appears higher in the search results.

As a generally new concept, there are many issues in terms of terminology used. Whilst some use the word remote working, others choose home working, home based or even work from home. Google trends suggest that ‘work from home’ is currently the most popular search term used. 

However, focussing your advert to rank higher for the term work from home or remote may impact your ranking for primary search terms such as job title or key skills and should ideally be approached on a platform by platform basis. 

It’s also  important not to forget that millions of candidates across the UK have registered to receive job alerts based on a specific location and in order for your vacancies to reach them you need to include a location.  Where possible combining your office location and the option to work from home will help to maximise the success of your vacancies. 


Salary remains a key factor when it comes to a jobseeker choosing to apply for your vacancies or not. It also helps eliminate those who are looking for too much money and can often create a sense of seniority so people can assess whether they would be suitable or not. UK career portal Jobsite found that drop off rates for job adverts without salary details are between 25-35%.

Benefits and Incentives 

Despite the fact that not advertising a salary on your advert will have a negative impact on the number of applications you receive, financial compensation is no longer the only driving factor when it comes to looking for a new role. 

One of the biggest changes influencing the way we recruit is a shift in what people want from their employers and the new degree of importance factors such as security, social responsibility and equality and diversity are now outweighing the more traditional requests for financial compensation or work related perks. 

Be sure to promote your employer brand and focus on the reasons why someone would like to join your company as well as promoting the role itself. 

Engaging with candidates during lockdown 

With so many potential candidate’s now working from home, direct communication has become much easier. In many situations no longer does a candidate need to wait for their lunch break to take a call or make an excuse to leave their desk to take a call. However, as a recruiter we need to respect the fact that candidates ( especially those on furlough) also have the ability to apply for more roles and are more likely to be waiting for a response, an update or some feedback regarding their application. 

Whether it’s a simple acknowledgement to say you have received their application, an outline of your processes and suggested time frames or notification to tell them that they have been unsuccessful, communicating with each and every candidate remains one of the most important elements in terms of positive brand awareness and building a pool of potential talent for the future. 

Managing candidates during lockdown 

Whilst most candidates appreciate that the processes may be a little delayed or different during lock down due to staff shortages caused by illness or furlough, there is also an expectation that companies should also be engaging technology where possible throughout the recruitment process to help streamline events for both parties. 

Video Interview technology is one of the most popular technologies to be introduced by organisations during lockdown and for many looks set to remain a standard feature due to the significant time and cost benefits it can deliver. 

With restrictions on travel, parents struggling to manage home schooling and the need to keep employees and candidate’s safe from the virus, video interviews are no longer considered a novel use of technology but actually welcomed and often expected by candidates.

Whether you choose to use platforms such as MS Teams or Google Meet to conduct interviews in real time or implement a more structured option of recorded interviews the use of video interviews may have changed the way organisations initially meet with potential candidates forever. 

Onboarding candidates during lockdown 

During a time of increased uncertainty, pressures and general anxiety, making employees feel like they have made the right decision in joining your business is paramount. Not only could they be awaiting a number of other offers, but they could also be encouraged by their existing employer to stay which can have significant time and cost implications on your business. 

An efficient and professional onboarding process can help to both reassure new employees that they are making the right choice and ensure that the introduction to your company is the best it can possibly be, even when face to face meetings cannot go ahead. 

No candidate expects to receive a contract through the post anymore and even more so they do not expect to have to send it back once signed. Sharing and collating both personal and company information can and should be completed via a secure online portal. The time and efficiency savings speak for themselves but the impact on new hires sets a clear precedent for their future. 

If recruitment in 2021 continues to increase as promised, businesses need to ensure that their employer brand, application process and recruiting strategies all reflect the changes in society and job seeker behaviour. 

The recruitment landscape has evolved, many lessons have been learnt and the pandemic continues to change the way we recruit. In house recruiters need to embrace and maximise the opportunities that are available to them, adapt their recruitment strategies based on the lessons learnt in order to achieve success post pandemic. 

For more information on how your organisation can innovate their recruitment in 2021, please contact us. 

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