IT Recruiting & Pandemic: Time to Hire

The impact that COVID-19 has on the whole world is devastating, but there has always been a sector of the economy that had managed every crisis and this is no exception: IT. Companies rely on technology because it is the short term solution that will allow companies to carry on with the day to day activities. This new way of working will turn, in the long term, into distributed flexibility that will allow companies to carry on with their activities. This is known as digital transformation.

     1. Changes In the Job Market

Lately, news shows that the unemployment rate is increasing and that many industries had completely frozen their operations. One of the consequences of the pandemic was that the demand for services went through a subdivision/compartmentation in which IT was a lot more required than other services, which is why this area can be considered a “winner”.

COVID-19 forced companies to accelerate its digital transformation, because it was seen as a goal in the medium or long term but now it has become essential. The arrival of remote working turned digital tools into direct channels of online commerce. At the same time, it was evident that not all markets were equally affected by the pandemic, considering that sectors like online commerce, online education, along with the gaming and the entertainment industries, among other SAAS based industries, experienced a significant increase in their business.

In the IT area, the processes automation and the development of digital tools of communication are quickly growing and developing. Particularly, areas such as DevOps, developers, Big Data Engineers and AI professional are meeting the high demand from people (interpersonal relationships, education, entertainment, etc.) and from companies (remote work, conference calls, team managements, digital interactive channels, eCommerce, etc.) Collaborative tools and Cloud platforms always linked team members, allowing them to work remotely and to develop their activities, and the pandemic turned them into essentials.

The automation and the digital transformation of companies’ processes do not necessarily mean that professionals are going to be displaced; on the contrary, it means that there are new opportunities for them to automate some tasks and to start taking care of others, to make their job more productive and more in tune with the current needs.

COVID-19 laid bare many organizations and put on display its vulnerabilities and inefficiencies. To go through a digital transformation forcibly, without training and change management will not have the best outcome. If there is no real training  and if the importance of the transformation is lost, then the outcome will be an immediate reaction and not an answer on the long run, that is well thought through, steady and smart. It is useless to adopt mechanical processes without understanding its reasons, just like it is useless to automatically replicate how to use tools without understanding its importance. 

Everyone was shocked by the news and it cannot be denied that the IT recruiting sector stood motionless and there was nothing else to do but to listen, to read, to think and to wait and see how the characters were playing its part on the scene. However, this motionless stage was short and, despite the frustrating and negative prospects of the pandemic, it confirmed that the recruiting market changed and it was for the better.

For years, these changes were awaited and nowadays they are the new normal because the pandemic and the lockdown speed up everything like, for example, remote work.

       2. Changes in the companies

The pandemic forced the world to see that digital wellbeing (connectivity and digital transformation) is essential. Up to these days, all sectors had to go through a reinvention phase. Buying online is no longer seen as something strange or risky, it became a necessity. Remote work is here to stay and its continuity will depend on how companies are going to implement this particular way of working, along with the roles and the positions remote work has on each organization

When it comes to screen candidates, the remote position offers versus the on site ones (in-person) were always a point of discussion and a filter. Most of the companies were forced to let their employees work remotely and many of these companies are having good results. The management realized that so many years of resistance had been futile and now they feel free and are tempted to hire any professional in any part of the world. Because work is what we do, not where we do it.

Companies must commit to maintain its openness on the workload and communicate efficiently. There was also an increase of freelance work. Professionals now have more time on their hands and this means that they can put more hours on other jobs or other short projects, and companies have started to require this type of position.

The pandemic also left companies on alert and ready for emergencies and unusual situations, which is why they are looking for people willing to adapt, able to do different things and ready to act quickly in situations in which it is necessary to adapt quickly and to survive. Professionals with several skills, able to play different roles, still able to be an asset to the company, even if things go wrong.

      3. Changes in the candidates

Remote work also brought new concepts and skills that recruiters must, on the one hand, look for in candidates and, on the other hand, talk to with clients. Not everyone can work comfortably from their home.

The location of a candidate can make visible the differences between more developed cities and less developed ones, just like the difficulty to answer with the same infrastructure and the same tools. The professional’s quality of work can also depend on this.

The level of responsibility is also very important in a candidate, because not everyone has the same professional maturity to do remote work. A candidate is very valued for its autonomy, the decisive and the self managed capacity, the ability to communicate with its team, whether distributed or remote, the lack of hesitation when it comes to asking if some doubt arises, etc.

Those who had managed to do remote work found themselves free to work on shorter projects, from different clients. As it was mentioned before, freelancers or professionals that were required by companies saw the opportunity to start their own projects and to work independently, which also gave them the chance to manage their own business venture based on their clients’ requirements.

What about the recruiters?

The growth and the transformations of several positions that went from in-person to remote gave recruiters the benefit of considering candidates no matter their location and also granted access to those candidates that, despite distances, asked for a remote position as a must. Today, talent is international, distributed and globalized. Now, the time frame to interview candidates is more extensive, because they are at their houses and they are more available to be interviewed. The companies’ competitiveness reached a new level: there is no longer difference between those that offer remote work and those that do not. Companies that did not adapt are now set aside and hard to cover.

It is also true that the pandemic left many people unemployed, not because there was bad performance, but because those companies belonged to industries that were affected 100% by the pandemic. The outcome was that a lot of professionals are available to work and many companies are taking advantage of this stoppage to hire the best of the best. It is up to recruiters to make the clients see the great possibility that is to have such talent on the market nowadays.