How to keep up with talent acquisition (post Covid-19)


The Covid-19 pandemic is putting pressure on most businesses and disrupted any hiring campaign. In the medium and long run, it will change the relational dynamics between employers and candidates. The head hunter Vittorio Nascimbene shares some insights

Employment rates scored the record figure of 23.4 million active people in Italy in the second half of last year but, according to the Ministry of Labour, preliminary data about December 2019 and January 2020 have already shown a slowdown. The current health emergency is expected to have a highly negative impact on labour: lots of industries are being penalised by Covid-19 – tourism and transportation are two resounding examples –, with consequences on national GDP and the overall economic system.

The pandemic is holding back most of the planned hiring campaigns, except for organisations and professionals directly engaged in Covid-19 response. In the medium term, coronavirus will also change some of the dynamics between employers and potential employees.

Which direction should employers take to keep attracting talents after Covid-19? “Today smart working is under the spotlight”, tells Vittorio Nascimbene, founder of head hunting firm Ricercamy. “Both junior and senior candidates are not likely to consider employers that do not allow any kind of flexibility about office hours, remote work or digital tools. We’ve been discussing about agile organisations for a long time, now this is highly relevant for people looking for a job, in some cases it is as important as salary”.

‘Purpose driven HR’ is also accelerating, with corporate purpose being more and more integrated in employer branding. “Millennials, and not only them, prefer companies with a clear and stated social commitment, a sound sustainability approach, and a strong attitude for diversity and inclusion. Their contribution in an extraordinary situation like the one we’re facing nowadays will also be considered”, adds Nascimbene.

Talent attraction is directly linked to training and education programs to improve individual and team competences. Candidates are more and more keen on personal branding, and they know that careers and professional growth depend on a constant investment on personal abilities, specifically if considering technical or digital know-how, or soft skills such as communication and leadership.

Will Covid-19 modify recruitment channels and tools? That’s hard to say. Recruiters have gradually left analogue tools (paper resumés, job ads on printed papers) and moved online. The advent of job portals, then LinkedIN, changed the game, but these innovations are now 15 years old. Despite the numerous enhancements, digital is not yet the perfect matching place for demand and supply in the labour market.

“Technology is mature but, differently from other industries where e-commerce is winning, the human touch is still strong in recruitment, and this influences the relationships among employers, head hunters and candidates”, comments Nascimbene.

Broading the horizon even further, in the next five years the labour market will see an increased segmentation, with low-specialisation jobs becoming a commodity, and high-specialisation ones requiring a more refined recruitment process, where head hunters will play a major role.

In both cases, and specifically for high-specialisation jobs, employers will compete to attract the most promising talents – and a valid employer branding strategy will surely help.