Remote Work Disrupts Recruiting

What is the biggest disruption that remote work has brought to recruiting? You might think it would have to do with recruiters working from home and the difficulty that entails. You might think it would be the challenge of hiring someone without meeting the person face-to-face.

In fact, the most important disruption is that your talent pool has exploded.

Imagine that you’re running a traditional office in Phoenix. Where do you recruit people from? Well, with few exceptions it will be from Phoenix. But suddenly due to the pandemic, your organization has discovered many jobs can be done remotely. There is no need to limit recruiting to Phoenix anymore.

To put a number on this, the population of Phoenix is 1.6 million, while the population of the United State is 324 million. This means that Phoenix has 0.5% of the U.S. population. If you go from just recruiting in Phoenix to recruiting in the whole country, then your talent pool has grown by a factor of 200.

Article Continues Below

Not only is the talent pool much bigger, it also has different cost-of-living profiles. Phoenix is only slightly more expensive than the average U.S. city, but it will be much more expensive than some rural areas. You may find an accountant in a place like Harlingen, Tex., will be happy with a lower wage than one in Phoenix because it’s notably cheaper to live in Harlingen.

We are used to seeing technology make all kinds of impact on talent acquisition, but this one has a different flavor. It’s not that technology has changed talent acquisition — it’s that technology has changed the nature of work. As a result, it’s really important to clue into what a big change the sudden acceptance of remote work can have on recruiting. You need to identify where the opportunities are greatest for your organization.

David Creelman is CEO of Creelman Research. Based mainly in Toronto and partly in Kuala Lumpur, he’s best known for his research on the latest issues in human resources.

He works with think tanks such as Talent Tech Labs (New York), Works Institute (Tokyo), Workforce Institute (Boston) and CRF (London). He’s collaborated with leading academics such as Henry Mintzberg (leadership development), Ed Lawler (“Built to Change”) and John Boudreau (future of work).

His books include The CMO of People: Manage employees like customers with an immersive predictable experience that drives productivity and performance with GrandRound’s CHRO Peter Navin; and Lead the Work: Navigating a world beyond employment with John Boudreau (USC) and Ravin Jesuthasan (Willis Towers Watson).

You can connect to Mr. Creelman on LinkedIn