The year 2022 has been full of surprises that continue to impact the recruiting industry and the economy. We sat down with Recruit Action Partners Kristyn Oleskewycz and Domenic Calcara to discuss the current state of recruiting, the challenges candidates and employers face, and where they believe the business is going. We invite you to read what Kristyn and Domenic have to say below.
How has the recruiting sector evolved over the last three years?
Kristyn: The previous year has been one for the books. It will be our best year yet in permanent placements given that it is currently a candidate’s market – we are seeing a massive influx of candidates interested in permanent opportunities but a lot less interested in contract roles. Currently, the most challenging roles to fill are entry-level positions. But, again, given the state of the market – candidates are more interested in work-life balance, stability, and remote work opportunities.
There has been a change on all fronts of the recruiting industry that have made us rethink how we operate a staffing firm and recruit for our clients. We are now recruiting outside the major centers (GTA, Montreal, Halifax) because of increased remote work opportunities.
What adjustments has Recruit Action made to confront the changes in the recruiting sector?
Kristyn: We focused on what we can control and where our strengths are, placing permanent candidates. We have made it a priority to be more competitive and educate clients on the current market conditions and the current market salaries for different types of roles.
Domenic: We have opened our doors to the rural sector and instituted comprehensive remote work flexibility. We have also developed new activities to engage our team to maintain a strong company culture. For example, our company Christmas party during the Covid pandemic occurred at the Esterel Resort. Due to restrictions, we all stayed in separate rooms, ordered room service, and connected on Zoom for a virtual party. The next day we all went for a walk outside. Challenging times require more creativity and flexibility but cannot compromise the need for human connection.
Business appears to be returning to normal after nearly three years of pandemic-induced challenges. However, many companies face the challenge of employees who still want to work remotely. Is Recruit Action facing the same “remote vs. in-person” challenge? How is your company handling the situation?
Kristyn: We are facing this challenge. Before the pandemic, a hybrid schedule was one of our work perks. However, the hybrid option is no longer a work perk since most companies offer the same arrangement now. We adjusted our approach to providing co-working days and a remote schedule. Most of the team is interested in working remotely, but everyone recognizes the value of spending together. We make sure to use those days more efficiently to discuss things outside of recruitment and do more brainstorming sessions.
Domenic: We have faced the same challenges that other companies have struggled with after the pandemic. We established an employee engagement policy that includes weekly virtual team gatherings, virtual one-on-one connections, and monthly in-person meetings in different parts of the province.
The demand for temporary workers is returning to normal levels. How is this change impacting the recruiting industry? What is your advice for candidates seeking full-time work but only offered temporary contracts?
Kristyn: I advise ensuring the salaries align with the current markets. Temporary wages need to be higher than what companies offer permanent positions, given that temporary roles often don’t provide benefits. However, I would encourage candidates to apply for temporary contracts because they can often lead to full-time opportunities.
What do you feel is vital for companies to consider as they plan to hire new employees during this time?
Kristyn: It is vital not to delay hiring someone and to ensure the interview process is efficient. If you are considering a strong candidate, it is crucial to make sure you are making a move to hire them as soon as possible. I recommend not exceeding three interviews because the candidate may already be gone if the interview process is too long.
Domenic: It is vital to understand the type of candidate sought after in a remote working environment. A person that can work at home alone 100% of the time is not the same as someone who works 100% in the office. Personalities are different, and companies need to know what personality type performs better in different environments. We are working during a time when in-person social gatherings are diminishing because people are not coming to work. I feel the casual gatherings that often happened following a work day helped strengthen interpersonal connections and increase industry knowledge. A business must work harder to create social engagement outside of work. Life will never be the same, and people’s priorities and desire to connect have changed. However, the human connection will always be a significant element influencing how employees work well together.
Roughly 24% of Canadian workers say they are less satisfied with their jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic. What do you feel is essential for candidates to consider if they seek a new job at the end of 2022?
Kristyn: I think candidates have realized the importance of work-life balance. The benefits of working remotely far outweigh the downfalls. You get more time at home with your family. You have less commuting and more time to focus on the things that matter most because work is important, but it isn’t everything.
How important do you think companies should prioritize workplace flexibility and communicate their expectations concerning the issue? Why?
Kristyn: I think it is imperative to communicate workplace flexibility expectations because many companies are offering this option. I know many candidates are willing to take a pay cut to have better flexibility in their work environment.
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