It has now been almost 18 months (and counting) since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Countries are at different stages of recovery, and as life returns to normal, practices will simply go back to how they were, while others will have changed for ever — and hopefully for the better. 

China was the first location to return to a more standard working rhythm, at least within its own borders. Even though there were a few new cases in Southern China and other places recently, considering China’s vast territory and the government’s effective control measures, there appears to be no causes for any major concern. 

The recruitment market in China is incredibly busy with a lot of hidden demand now coming to the surface. Over my 13 years working with China businesses, we have seen similar levels of activity before, though this time it seems to be particularly busy. 

I would like to share three personal observations with you. 

1. The rise of video-first interviews

In the days before the pandemic, nearly all first interviews were conducted face to face and there was little traction on using video technology — but not anymore. We noticed that the enforced move to video interviews has remained. It’s obviously easier for candidates to attend an interview virtually rather than travel across the city and possibly take time off work. As a result, the early stages of the recruitment process have become significantly more efficient. 

Of course, there are pros and cons to this. A candidate who is short on time can now easily attend an interview and be genuinely considered for a role in a company that’s located in a different part of the city, or even a different country and time zone altogether. Furthermore, candidates who are unsure of their interest level could be persuaded to meet someone from the hiring company and potentially become more interested through the process — all without having to commit to a face-to-face interview. On the other hand, since a significant part of job attraction is driven by the relationship you have with your line manager, it is difficult to build and understand that rapport over a video call. 

With that said, be it a company or a candidate, you need to have a clear interview strategy and your best virtual interview pitch. For companies, conducting a successful virtual interview is the first step to attracting high potential talent. Here are good practices to follow. For candidates, just like a face-to-face interview, it’s important to prepare ahead of time and keep these tips in mind to perform your best during the interview.

2. Oversupply of jobs leading to candidate shortage

Whenever there is an oversupply of jobs in the market, it leads to a shortage of genuine, quality candidates for each role. The best of them will typically have several opportunities available to them. In fact, we recently saw a candidate with as many as five offers made at the same time. Only the companies with the best proposition and processes will get the candidates of their choosing. This is evident within the Technology, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Multinational Manufacturing and Cross-Border E-commerce industries, which are experiencing high hiring demands and talent shortages. As such, companies need to have an efficient recruitment process with a clear understanding of how they are selling their business and the role available. 

Selling your company to potential talent is an art. Today’s job seekers have high expectations, and while salary remains an important factor in talent attraction, there are other intangible benefits and day-to-day experiences that have become just as important. Michael Page Talent Trends 2022 report illustrates factors influencing job seekers’ perception towards employer branding .. Learn here how your company can make a positive and lasting impact on job seekers amid the fast paced, ever-changing world of work.

3. Counter offers are back

Leading on from the point above, companies are keenly aware of the current candidate shortage. As such, when faced with resignations, they are making significant efforts to retain quality talent through aggressive counter offers. This is understandable, but it can be a frustrating process all around. There is plenty of data to suggest that this can be successful in the short term but will not change the fundamental reasons for why the employee is resigning in the first place. Counter offers merely delay the inevitable, and a similar event is likely to crop up again months later. 

The Talent Trends 2022 report sums up the most common reasons for leaving a job voluntarily from survey respondents. With that said, existing employers need to engage with all of their most-valued employees. Leaders must constantly rethink the way they keep their employees engaged and fulfilled, as well as amplify the power of employee recognition to let them know that their work and contributions are being appreciated. Prospective employers, too, need to ensure they make good offers and, with the help of their recruiter, try to cover any potential counter offers. 

For candidates, do think through your reasons for looking for a new role. For example, have you already shared any grievances with your line manager? Have you attempted to resolve said grievances? Before looking for greener pastures, you can explore ways to improve your current situation by taking action, and find out how you can create opportunities using what you love in your current role. 

The key to success in business is still finding the best way to attract and retain the greatest talent. Although the pandemic has changed our world in so many ways, many aspects in the recruitment market are operating much as they did before. It will be fascinating to watch how this progresses as the world continues to recover.

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