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It is fair to say that 2020 shook recruitment (along with most other sectors) to its core. Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to the recruitment industry that were expected to take years have happened in mere months.

But now that we are almost halfway through 2021, are these changes likely to stick around?

Out of necessity, many employees were forced to work from home for the majority of last year. But this necessity has created new opportunity, with many companies realizing business can carry on, as usual, no matter where their teams are based. Now, many organizations are adopting an increasingly hybrid approach to the workplace.

As such, the definition of ‘workplace’ has changed dramatically — a lasting change that will undoubtedly continue long after the pandemic is over.

But what does this momentous shift mean for financial and accountancy recruitment going forward? In short — digitization.

The rise of hybrid working

Thanks to the pandemic, the traditional hiring process has been flipped on its head, with many recruiters (and clients and candidates) scrambling to adapt to a fully remote experience. But remote work has become the new norm for many, meaning virtual recruiting is not going anywhere.

The past year has seen many companies take a haphazard approach to recruitment, attempting to hastily fill talent gaps in a panic. However, digital hiring solutions such as online assessments and video interviewing should not be seen as a short-term patch for the COVID-19 era. Instead, they should form part of a long-term hiring strategy. Virtual recruitment requires just as much care and attention as traditional hiring options, and retention should always be a top priority. The cost of a bad hire is monumental, so it is essential to get recruitment right the first time.

With hybrid working on the rise, many firms are now also casting the net wider when recruiting new hires. As a result, recruiters must adopt hiring technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to enhance the recruitment process and improve efficiency when sifting through a larger candidate pool. For instance, algorithms and AI can automate the CV screening process to ensure all candidates are replied to and even schedule interviews. Candidates expect a smoother experience when applying online, and in 2021, there are no excuses for clunky application processes or not getting back to candidates.

However, despite advances in technology, it is vital to keep recruitment personal. Attention to candidates makes for a lasting workforce, which is why an effective hiring process should still include people at both ends. Rather than replacing human connection, intelligent automation should supplement the recruitment process by filtering through data quickly, transparently, and without error.

On-screen talent assessment and selection

Although the recruitment world has changed dramatically over the past year, the hiring process itself still follows the same steps — albeit with some adjustments to ensure the caliber of hires when recruiting virtually.

Social media and online job sites have long played a crucial role in sourcing candidates and will be instrumental in remote recruiting, opening up an entirely new world of finance and accounting candidates to consider. For senior positions which may not be advertised due to sensitivity, recruiters can also use social media platforms like LinkedIn to ‘headhunt’ talent, combining their connections and expertise to source the best candidates for the role.

Given that new hires are now less likely than ever to engage with recruiters face-to-face before onboarding, post-2020 recruitment must also be able to assess and select talent effectively from a distance. As a result, there is a growing demand for online psychometric and aptitude assessments as recruitment tools. When recruiting remotely, it is also important to translate the organization’s culture and values into tests or surveys to determine whether a candidate is a good ‘fit’ and will stay with the company.

Even with advancements in technology, this screening process can take a long time and requires close attention to detail to ensure only the best candidates with the relevant qualifications and skills for the role are put forward to the client.

The final hurdle

With remote hiring becoming the norm, we can expect to see in-person job interviews become a later stage of the recruitment process when both the recruiter and the candidate are sure the role is a good fit.

It is, therefore, vital for recruiters to maximize new assessment tools available to facilitate virtual recruitment. Unlike email or telephone interviews, video interviews give the recruiter a more comprehensive perspective of potential candidates. With video conferencing now widely accepted, the interaction can still be personalized and used to establish a connection. As there is no travel involved with digital interviews, they are also easier to schedule and can be recorded and shared amongst relevant stakeholders (with the candidate’s permission) to enhance the selection process.

Plus, everyone’s time is precious. From a candidate’s perspective, it is much easier to find the time for a virtual interview, meaning they can accommodate availability sooner than in person. With the traditional recruitment process, many hybrid candidates would discount themselves due to availability and having to come up with a plausible reason as to why they were not present at work. With virtual recruitment, this is no longer a problem.

Taking the recruitment process further

To ensure the quality of new hires, it is imperative that organizations take the time to adapt the traditional hiring process to the new, more digital way of working.

But why stop once new hires have accepted the job offer? In order to retain these recruits, equal efforts should be put into post-hire talent acquisition as the pre-hire onboarding process.

When done right, remote recruiting can not only save time, free up resources, lower hiring costs, and provide opportunities to broaden the pool of candidates — but it can also ensure companies RETAIN staff.

After all, is that not what good recruitment is all about?

With over 50 years of experience, Howett Thorpe has evolved to become one of the South East’s premier accounting and finance recruitment agencies — offering workforce solutions across multiple specialisms. The agency also has a strong foothold in practice and business support roles, such as office admin and HR.

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Sally Fletcher
Sally Fletcher

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Sally Fletcher
December 12, 2023

I would highly recommend agilis recruitment to anyone looking for work. I was contacted a few weeks ago by Chris, who matched the skills I have to an opportunity I was unable to refuse. He was professional and knowledgeable, but also friendly and down to earth. With quick response times, he was able to answer every question I had about the role whilst selling my skills and personality to the company before I had even met them. The input form Chris throughout the process, not only made everything easier but also it took the pressure off massively. I am very grateful. Thank you.

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Jon Ives
December 11, 2023

Chris has done a great job for me. It's most refreshing to have a recruiter that both understands the role being recruited and listens to the candidate's requirements and concerns. Top marks!

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Michael-William Kelly
December 2, 2023

It was great to work with Chris at Agilis to find my new role. He was always on hand to guide me through the process and make sure I was fully briefed prior to each interview. I would happily use Chris to find me a job... although I'm very happy where I am now! M-W Kelly

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Eric Edge
October 31, 2023

Had a top experience with Edd. Sorted me 3 interviews with my preference of company, landed a role very quickly after. Professional + Friendly guy, would recommend.

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Edna Atkins
July 17, 2023

An excellent recruitment experience. From the initial contact and throughout the interview process, Chris and his team excelled. I can highly recommend this agency.

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Brendan Dodge
May 15, 2023

Chris from Agilis recruitment was fantastic. Professional and friendly; from providing the role, to the level of contact throughout the process.

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Jen Cummings
May 15, 2023

Edd was great, I had some bad experiences with recruiters whilst looking for a new role but Edd restored my faith!

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Harry
March 29, 2023

Chris at Agilis was professional throughout the entire process and was always available to discuss any concerns. He also made sure to only flag roles that I would have a genuine interest in. Thanks again Chris!

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Mac Beirne
March 1, 2023

Chris Ellsworth was my recruiter and I was greatly impressed with the level of his assistance throughout the process from start to finish. He provided me with job role applications that were personalised to me based on what I told him I was looking for. If there was any confusion, I was always able to contact him throughout the whole process and ask for clarification which he would then, always happily give. Chris genuinely made me feel that he wanted me to get the role as much as I did and helped me with every step on the way.

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subhash d
May 24, 2022

I had a great experience with Ed and Agilis. Found me a job which was the perfect fit and supported me along the way. Thank you so much for the support Ed.

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Jessica Stafford
May 10, 2022

Had a great experience with Agilis Recruitment. Ed helped me find the perfect role for me in a great business. He also was very professional, cooperative but most importantly, understood what was important to me and listened to what I was looking for. Thank you Ed!

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Arthur Guide
February 25, 2022

Amazing experience with Agilis, a professional company. I have no words to thank Edward. He found a great role for me.

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Miles Jarvis
February 5, 2021

I had a great experience with Ed and Agilis. It was great to have a recruiter who understands exactly what his clients are looking for in a candidate. 5 stars!

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Damian Marchewka
February 2, 2021

Ed was great, found me a job which was the perfect fit and supported me along the way, solid agency

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Nadia Mkinsi
May 27, 2020

Laura is a lovely individual and easily the best recruiter I have ever worked with: proactive without being pushy, professional without lacking sincerity, and most importantly, she genuinely cares about her clients. She was incredibly conscientious in understanding my background and aspirations, and matched me with a role I WAS really excited about. I knew I was in good hands from our very first conversation – and I am happy to say I am a month into my new job and loving it!

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Dean Rudge
April 21, 2020

I worked with Ed when securing my role. It was a massive step in the direction I wanted to move my career in and Ed was pivotal in making that happen. I liked that right from the start he was not pushy, he listened to what I had to say and feedback and he kept in regular contact without bombarding me, using the most suitable form of messaging whether it be LinkedIn, Email or a Phone Call. I would highly recommend Ed and the guys at Agilis - keep up the great work guys!

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Paul Stonuary
March 30, 2020

A really nice team to do with. Proactive, prompt and supportive - just what you want, but rarely find in a recruitment agency.

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Chris Harvey
March 23, 2020

Have found Agilis recruiting fantastic. Cannot rate them highly enough! Give them a go for all recruitment needs!

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Harry Ray
March 20, 2020

Laura and Ed at Agilis helped me get placed last year, and Laura was exceptionally accommodating and patient, calling me outside of hours when it was convenient for me and keeping me in the loop about everything that was going on. I'm happy with my role and feel like the guys at Agilis really put time and effort into their work -- thank you!

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Tarnea Garvey
March 20, 2020

My experience with Agilis has been great. I found Laura to be incredible helpful and always ensured she remained in contact with me throughout my job search. Thankfully I managed to find a new job through Agilis and the company has turned out to be everything that they told me the it would be! 5 Stars from me!!

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Alex Dewey
March 19, 2020

Great experience with Agilis. Following relocating to Bristol I’d found myself having conversations with a couple members of the team. I’d expressed how important it was for me to find the right role but also due to circumstance I needed the process to be accelerated as much as possible. Laura was my main point of contact and managed to find me the best role I’ve ever had in what must be record time. I couldn’t rate their work higher and will definitely be my first point of contact when looking for new opportunities. Thanks again!

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Harry Rossiter
March 19, 2020