Right now, the job market seems to be split in two. On the one hand, people on the hunt for jobs are in a much better position than they were six months ago. Now that businesses are reopening and people are getting back out there, there are more jobs being advertised and everyone who spent the bulk of the pandemic worrying about whether they were ever going to find employment again can breathe a sigh of relief.
On the other hand, it is a surprisingly hard time for a lot of businesses across a wide range of sectors. The combination of Brexit and the pandemic has led to a serious shortage of workers in many roles, and companies are struggling to fill the essential positions.
In such a difficult position, it is easy to see why so many businesses want to rush. After all, things are picking up, demand is still high, and the marketplace is fiercely competitive. Of course, you want to find people as quickly as possible so you can put the last eighteen months in your rear-view and start making a profit.
However, you don’t want to find yourself in a position where you have to be looking for someone to fill the same position in a few months when you realise that things didn’t work out. How do you go about hiring the perfect candidate? Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Ask About Gaps In Employment
Now, for most HR managers and indeed bosses, this is a standard part of any conversation with any potential new hire. A long gap between jobs is often a red flag on a CV, as is a short period of employment. We always want to know what happened, what went wrong, is there something that we should know about? But what you need to bear in mind right now is that you will be looking at a lot of CVs with these red flags.
A huge number of people were put on furlough and made redundant over the course of the pandemic. Seeing a period of unemployment on a job application is not going to be unusual if you are hiring now. So, what you need to be asking is not necessarily “why were you out of work?” but “what did you do with that time?”
Look For People Who Take Steps To Develop Themselves
Following on from the point above, one of the most important things that you should be looking for in a potential employee is initiative. A lot of people found themselves out of work. The question is: have they been taking steps to make themselves a more appealing candidate for recruiters?
Online courses are more widely available than ever before thanks to lockdown restrictions and social distancing. Have they been taking classes to boost their existing skillsets? Have they been teaching themselves new software skills during their months out of work, or indeed after their day jobs are over?
Have they identified gaps in the market where businesses are desperate for skilled workers? For example, we have all seen the news that HGV drivers are in short supply. The HGV Driver Training Centre offers virtual classes to help drivers develop the skills they need to jump into work, and they can offer businesses HGV training solution programmes to meet your requirements.
Look For People Who Are Upfront And Honest
When you are hiring for any role, you are going to hear a lot of pre-learned phrases that people assume will guarantee them success. You’ll hear about how people are hard workers, how they are straight shooters, how they are team players and so on. Of course, those are qualities that everyone is looking for, but something that is a little harder to discern is honesty about their abilities and their shortcomings.
Take the classic interview question: “What is one of your areas of weakness?” This is often when candidates will take the opportunity to frame a positive as a negative. You’ll hear about how they work too hard, they care too much, and that somehow going the extra mile is something that they think counts as a minus.
But one of the most important things that we have learned over the course of the pandemic is to talk a little more honestly about our feelings, our mental health and when we are struggling. If you want to get a clear idea of what someone might be like as an employee, try asking them how the coped during the various lockdowns.
The UK’s mental health has been incredibly hard hit by everything that we have been through, and while you obviously don’t want to push someone into talking about something hard, someone who admits that they had a hard time might be more of a straight shooter than the person who talks about how they just got on with it and kept working round the clock.