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Hiring Trends and Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

COVID has changed how we hire. Our interviews are now video conferences and even our onboarding may still be remote. Today, 63% of companies source, interview, hire, and train remotely. Many workers are still remote, so this necessitates big changes across the recruiting and hiring spectrum.

What changes have we experienced? What are the lessons a global pandemic has taught us? We have answers, and some of them may surprise you.

The Market is Now Candidate-Driven

It’s no surprise that the candidate market has dwindled. It’s not just the hospitality field experiencing this either, but every field from IT to recruiting is feeling the pinch. Hiring has ramped up and in the hospitality field, businesses have reopened to indoor dining again. This is good news for an industry that lost more than 600,000 jobs last year.

The problem right now is that many of our best workers, who were furloughed last year, have moved on to other jobs even in other sectors. FSR Magazine says, “the industry as a whole is understaffed and desperately trying to find employees.”

What we now believe is that the pandemic has permanently shifted the hospitality and restaurant industry. For example, the COVID-necessitated ramp-up of our takeout and delivery offerings is now attractive to stay-at-home workers just for sheer convenience and not just for safety and lockdown reasons. FSR Magazine says that pickup, curbside, takeout, and delivery are all hot in the market. Over the past year, many consumers have fallen into the habit of skipping in-person dining.

Back-of-house roles are highly visible now due to the pressure of increased delivery. Cooking, meal prep, and quality control jobs are at an all-time high, and restaurants and hospitality organizations have ramped up pay and signing bonuses just to try to find quality talent.

All of this has changed how we’re recruiting talent. Some of the changes we’ve seen include:

  • An increased emphasis on digital recruiting. Interviews and career fairs are happening online now. More candidates come to us from social media and career sites. Interviewing remotely is here to stay, certainly. But we also must ramp up our search for candidates by using social media.
  • We’re emphasizing referrals more. Restaurants in particular are having trouble finding qualified workers, especially if their wages are low, they lack benefits, or the hours are “difficult” (as is often the case in this field). Even the smallest company must create a well-thought-out employee referral program or run the risk of being perpetually short-staffed.
  • We’re also seeing organizations up the ante on pay and benefits. Companies that are making headway toward filling the seats on their bus are trying to create better work/life balance and a culture that attracts more candidates. Too, organizations are trying to create wellness programs that emphasize mental health so that they not only attract talent but also have a shot at retaining their current employees.

When the recruiting environment is this tough, it’s good to know the hospitality and restaurant have a partner like Gecko Hospitality. We specialize in finding your talent. Contact us today for more information.


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