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Covid’s Silver Lining: A Suddenly Broader Talent Pool

Hiring During Covid
Lionseye insights from AC Lion

In 2020 the world of work experienced the most massive shift it has ever experienced. Greater than the impacts of the industrial revolution. Greater than the impacts that technology has had on every industry. In 2020 the impact of COVID-19 rapidly—almost instantaneously—led to a sea change in how many employers viewed the ability of their staff to work in sites other than the organization’s own facilities.

Prior to 2020, while telecommuting, or remote work, did occur, it tended to occur on a very limited basis, often addressed in a case-by-case manner by organizations that would sometimes allow employees who were “known commodities” to work from home when personal situations dictated such a change. But then, suddenly, when the virus hit all but those organizations and employees deemed “essential” needed to either stop work or work differently. Companies and managers formerly opposed to the idea of remote work or believing it just “couldn’t be done,” suddenly found their hands were forced and, in fact, it could be done. In fact, some reports have suggested that employees are more productive and, consequently, more effective when working from home.

A Hiring Trend That’s Likely to Continue

Kevin Harrington is the CEO of Joblist, a job search platform. He’s followed the world of remote work closely for the past several years and has also built and managed his own remote teams. Harrington says that the company has “seen that ‘remote’ and ‘work-from-home’ job listings increased by more than 25% this year despite the fact that overall job opportunities have decreased due to the economic disruption caused by COVID-19.” Forward-looking organizations had already embraced the concept well before COVID-19 hit, he says. For others, though, he says: “the developments of this year have simply accelerated the underlying trend.” It’s a trend he expects to continue.

One of the big benefits of recruiting beyond traditional boundaries is access to a broader talent pool. “By looking beyond our local market, we have been able to proactively recruit the perfect people to fit each new role on the team regardless of geographic location,” he says. This is particularly important when recruiting for traditionally hard-to-fill, or very specialized jobs.

Others are finding the same benefits that Harrington has realized. Jacob Dayan, cofounder and CEO of Community Tax, says the company has taken advantage of a wider talent pool, especially for more senior positions, since they’ve begun to ramp up their recruitment efforts again. He’s seen a number of other companies doing the same. “It comes as no surprise,” he says. “You now suddenly have access to a much wider and more diverse talent pool than you were previously limited to.”

Dayan expects to see the trend continue even beyond the pandemic. So does Mark Coster, BSc, PhD, an online entrepreneur and the driving force behind STEM Toy Expert.

An Example of Making it Work

Coster, in fact, has already been leveraging the potential of reaping benefits from remote workers. “Over the past several years, since my business has begun to blossom, I have hired dozens of freelancers and employees from all corners of the world,” he says. Initially, he says, he only recruited people from Australia where the company is based. But then, he says, “it dawned on us that there was not a single reason to stop there.” Today he has team members from countries including the UK, Philippines, Serbia, France, and the US.  In a digital communication environment, finding employees is increasingly easy to do. Coster says that LinkedIn has been a top source of candidates for him.

While he says that he knows of many business owners who believe that “remote may get too remote,” his experience has been positive. “Not many companies are doing this at the moment. But the word is out there already, and the trend is rapidly growing,” he says.

Best Practices for Building a Remote Workforce

When building a workforce remotely, while much remains the same, there are some key points that require consideration:

  • Legal issues, requirements and labor laws that may impact employers, especially when hiring across country boundaries
  • Communication issues and considerations related to technology and time zones
  • Equipment ownership and maintenance and the protection of proprietary and digital data
  • Pay issues including how “market” rates should be set and issues related to hourly workers and overtime requirements

As some companies begin to adjust to the impacts of the pandemic and return to more normal operational practices one of the things they’re likely to consider is how the continued reliance on remote workers—and especially the ability to recruit top talent from other geographic areas—can provide benefit for their organizations.

In 2020 the world of work experienced the most massive shift it has ever experienced. Greater than the impacts of the industrial revolution. Greater than the impacts that technology has had on every industry. In 2020 the impact of COVID-19 rapidly—almost instantaneously—led to a sea change in how many employers viewed the ability of their staff to work in sites other than the organization’s own facilities.

Prior to 2020, while telecommuting, or remote work, did occur, it tended to occur on a very limited basis, often addressed in a case-by-case manner by organizations that would sometimes allow employees who were “known commodities” to work from home when personal situations dictated such a change. But then, suddenly, when the virus hit all but those organizations and employees deemed “essential” needed to either stop work or work differently. Companies and managers formerly opposed to the idea of remote work or believing it just “couldn’t be done,” suddenly found their hands were forced and, in fact, it could be done. In fact, some reports have suggested that employees are more productive and, consequently, more effective when working from home.

A Hiring Trend That’s Likely to Continue

Kevin Harrington is the CEO of Joblist, a job search platform. He’s followed the world of remote work closely for the past several years and has also built and managed his own remote teams. Harrington says that the company has “seen that ‘remote’ and ‘work-from-home’ job listings increased by more than 25% this year despite the fact that overall job opportunities have decreased due to the economic disruption caused by COVID-19.” Forward-looking organizations had already embraced the concept well before COVID-19 hit, he says. For others, though, he says: “the developments of this year have simply accelerated the underlying trend.” It’s a trend he expects to continue.

One of the big benefits of recruiting beyond traditional boundaries is access to a broader talent pool. “By looking beyond our local market, we have been able to proactively recruit the perfect people to fit each new role on the team regardless of geographic location,” he says. This is particularly important when recruiting for traditionally hard-to-fill, or very specialized jobs.

Others are finding the same benefits that Harrington has realized. Jacob Dayan, cofounder and CEO of Community Tax, says the company has taken advantage of a wider talent pool, especially for more senior positions, since they’ve begun to ramp up their recruitment efforts again. He’s seen a number of other companies doing the same. “It comes as no surprise,” he says. “You now suddenly have access to a much wider and more diverse talent pool than you were previously limited to.”

Dayan expects to see the trend continue even beyond the pandemic. So does Mark Coster, BSc, PhD, an online entrepreneur and the driving force behind STEM Toy Expert.

An Example of Making it Work

Coster, in fact, has already been leveraging the potential of reaping benefits from remote workers. “Over the past several years, since my business has begun to blossom, I have hired dozens of freelancers and employees from all corners of the world,” he says. Initially, he says, he only recruited people from Australia where the company is based. But then, he says, “it dawned on us that there was not a single reason to stop there.” Today he has team members from countries including the UK, Philippines, Serbia, France, and the US.  In a digital communication environment, finding employees is increasingly easy to do. Coster says that LinkedIn has been a top source of candidates for him.

While he says that he knows of many business owners who believe that “remote may get too remote,” his experience has been positive. “Not many companies are doing this at the moment. But the word is out there already, and the trend is rapidly growing,” he says.

Best Practices for Building a Remote Workforce

When building a workforce remotely, while much remains the same, there are some key points that require consideration:

  • Legal issues, requirements and labor laws that may impact employers, especially when hiring across country boundaries
  • Communication issues and considerations related to technology and time zones
  • Equipment ownership and maintenance and the protection of proprietary and digital data
  • Pay issues including how “market” rates should be set and issues related to hourly workers and overtime requirements

As some companies begin to adjust to the impacts of the pandemic and return to more normal operational practices one of the things they’re likely to consider is how the continued reliance on remote workers—and especially the ability to recruit top talent from other geographic areas—can provide benefit for their organizations.

 

 

Alan Cutter

Alan Cutter founded New York City's premier digital recruiting agency, AC Lion International, and continues to lead the growing company as their fearless CEO. For over 20 years, AC Lion has been the trusted provider of revenue generating talent in the digital and technology landscape. Our reach spans from innovative venture-backed startups to enterprise level organizations. AC Lion is a proud member of the Lionseye Group, a collective of brands furthering talent acquisition through Venture Capital, HR Technology and Thought Leadership.