‘Unique opportunity’ for recruitment as talent pool opens up

COVID-19 has changed the way job seekers think

‘Unique opportunity’ for recruitment as talent pool opens up

The reopening of Australia's most critical border will see a significant shift in recruitment as businesses look to secure new talent.

The closure came into force in July as Victoria struggled to contain a second wave of COVID-19.

It was the first time the border had closed in 100 years.

HRD spoke to Monica Watt, chief human resources officer at ELMO Cloud HR & Payroll, who believes reopening the border will be significant for Australia’s workplace economy.

“There’s been a hunker down on talent inside businesses and employees were not willing to move so opening those borders enables them to feel safer to look for new roles,” she said.

“This means recruiters and HR teams have a unique opportunity to capitalise on the increased talent pool of workers that are out there.”

With many businesses vying to shore up their talent to drive recovery next year, Watt said it’s vital for HR leaders to develop a competitive package – both in terms of salaries and internal processes like onboarding.

Read more: Findex CPO talks recruitment strategy as NSW/VIC border reopens

But one of the biggest shifts from pre-pandemic times has been how job applicants are now prioritising their prospective employers’ health and wellbeing programs – something that was once seen as an afterthought.

“The increasing priority of employee wellbeing has risen so far during the pandemic,” Watt said. “Recruiters have to consider what they have to offer in regards to this.”

She has also noticed a marked shift in job applicants focusing on where they want to work, rather than the specific role.

As careers evolve and change, Watt believes this shift in mindset among applicants will cause an ever-bigger expansion of talent opportunities.

But as the Victoria/NSW border reopens, she warned HR teams must think sensitively about how they deal with the onslaught of applications.

Read more: What are the top priority areas for recruitment?

While NSW has faced its own challenges over the last nine months, those in Victoria have experienced one of the longest lockdowns of anywhere in the world.

“We’ve got a whole state that has been in a crisis but they’ve risen to the challenge and found creative ways to be productive,” Watt said.

“We need to be even more respectful when declining those candidates. We really need to be mindful of how we engage with candidates who’ve been in that difficult position, whether they’ve been let go or furloughed.”

Key takeaways for HR leaders

  • The border reopening will mark a key time for recruiters as employees who may have been nervous about moving jobs will feel more secure
  • Salary packages are no longer enough. What are you offering that speaks to an employee’s health and wellbeing? Is your onboarding process up to scratch?
  • Be mindful that applicants in Victoria have experienced one of the toughest lockdowns globally, and that should play into your rejection process. If not, you could lose that talent for good.

Recent articles & video

Can I fire an employee for refusing to return to the office?

Northern Territory sets March deadline for booster shots

Final week to be named a 5-Star Employer of Choice for 2022

Customising a wellness program based on employees' needs

Most Read Articles

HRD's Hot List winners 2022 revealed

Signs an employee is about to quit – and how to change their mind

The Great Resignation: What benefits can help avoid employee turnover?