Many companies are feeling confident again and hiring in anticipation of growth. Finding good people will be challenging.

In addition to recruiting new staff there will be musical chairs with over 40% of people considering new pastures and life choices after the pandemic according to a recent survey. Many are NCB (not coming back). Perhaps they have moved. The tubes in London are 44% of their pre-pandemic passenger levels now. Who can predict where that number will be in a month or two let alone 2022?

Several companies are reminding themselves how to find staff and are buying an ATS for recruitment efficiency. That is a reasonable motive. A small monthly fee will save many times that sum in saved recruiter wages because you can hire more with less HR staff. However, there is an even bigger advantage that is often overlooked. You have made your best guess about how the year will unfold and you are hiring for the future.

How do you get the diversity in your team that will bring in all those brilliant new ideas?

Recruiters are discussing whether it is better to have a picture of the person you want and look for that person or whether you should put up the job needs and see what comes in. Obviously, which works for you will depend upon the job and its envisaged career paths.
I suggest automation will help if you are really looking for a diverse team that will respect each other because they are unified by a recruitment and selection journey they felt was just and meritocratic.
If you are hiring stewards, carers, catering staff, security personnel merchandisers, promoters and many others in high numbers, you can really leverage an automated impersonal application process. People applying may have to deal with filling in a machine form. But then you need people with such skills now anyway.

Most importantly, a standard application form is a level playing field. You can collect pictures and names and other personal contact data so you can ID and write back to them later in the process. However, you need only show the people doing the selection the data they need to run down a list and choose. They simply tick those applicants who have the specific skills and attributes best suited to your needs regardless of the skin colour, religion, gender or anything that might introduce bias.
Again, this is a win for everyone. It eliminates bias that could filter out people with the right face and the wrong skills. This keeps your process compliant and protects your company from any accusations of bias – positive or negative.
There is an audit trail in most applicant tracking systems to show who was selected at any stage and why.
I have heard stories (admittedly from a salesman pitching an employment law protection service) that there are people who apply multiple times for jobs under different identities. For example, they might use both the name John and the name Ibrahim and if “John” gets invited to interview and “Ibrahim” does not, they usually settle out of court for a four-figure sum for racial discrimination. They do not need to go to the interview let alone work for the prospective employer. an you imagine the reputational damage for the employer who may simply have tossed a coin over the two. Who amongst us can claim a total lack of bias in hiring? We have all visited many substantial businesses with only one race or gender in charge – well into the 21st century!
The answer is surely to follow this recipe.

  1. Get an ATS with application forms that can be changed as requirements change and in which you can create efficient, pleasant candidate journeys.
  2. Make sure you have a privacy policy explaining what data you collect at each stage and why and how long you keep it and why
    a. if they are unsuccessful
    b. if they are through to the next stage
    c. if they are successful and work for you
  3. Make sure they sign up before applying and do not forget things like image rights if you advertise your business with pictures of your staff providing the service. For example, stewards helping spectators to park or find their seat. Promotors having fun with the public at a station. You need this for advertising your company more than ever now.
  4. Ensure any accusations of discrimination or other attacks on your compliance with recruitment law can be countered easily by pointing to your dispassionate, “applicant blind process”.
  5. Be compliant. Get professional advice. If you need people who look a certain way for modelling or security guards with specific qualifications or any other requirements, make absolutely sure you and your clients are in line with the law and with fairness and decency.
    You will build a great team and they may be different to the one you loved before the pandemic but they will probably be better because times have changed.
    If you aim to get between 4 and 7 things nailed now, you will do well. Feel free to add to this list. Not all business owners can have a CIPD but we can do a good job while we grow big enough to hire in the expertise and use the right ATS tools that enforce good practice.