At the onset of the global pandemic, talent literally left the building, and we’re realizing that in many places around the world, it’s not coming back.

According to a recent report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), over half (52%) of surveyed U.S. workers would choose to permanently work from home on a full-time basis if given the option. Companies are aligned, too. According to a CEO benchmarking report from the Predictive Index, an overwhelming 97% of companies will allow remote work in some form moving forward.

The future is clear: Technology has moved humanity away from the traditional office and back into homes across the nation and globe. And as we look ahead, that means big changes for organizations and HR teams seeking to attract top talent.

Challenge #1: Everyone is on a level playing field—making competition fierce.
The virus was never confined by geographic borders, and neither is talent in a virtual world. Unsurprisingly, many people have no desire to return to the office full-time, which means they no longer need to live close to it. Many are moving to more desirable geographies, becoming digital nomads and making themselves available to work virtually from anywhere.

The good news is this: The expanding world is now your resource pool—you can find great candidates in places you never looked before. This is especially helpful if you’re looking for difficult-to-hire roles, like high performing SaaS sales professionals or technical people.

The problem is, your competition wants the same top talent you do, which means you may need to sharpen your skills.

Best practices:

  • Use smart data and analytics to help you establish competitive compensation packages in local markets. Great candidates are receiving plenty of outreach and offers, so your compensation and benefit offerings need to be on par with your competitors.
  • Be creative with your total compensation package. Even if your salary isn’t the highest, a candidate may prefer your benefits. Many candidates want higher quality of life, so they’re highly interested in work flexibility, PTO, Glassdoor ratings and company culture.

Challenge #2: Finding diverse candidates has gotten tougher.
In today’s world, workplace diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) don’t simply increase your bottom line. DEI is also imperative to building a strong employer brand and attracting the best employees. But finding top, diverse talent is not always easy.

Best practices:

  • Use talent heat-mapping. Team up with a partner with heat-mapping technology to help you locate diverse talent, identify skills gaps, and become more cost-effective in your efforts.
  • Use analytics to uncover bias in screening. Rely on cutting-edge analytics technology to identify bias in talent screening, reconsider job requirements, and identify jobs that don’t attract diverse candidates.
  • Make sure diversity shows up clearly in your employer brand. If candidates with different, marginalized backgrounds look at your organization and don’t see themselves represented, it can be a problem. If you are not attracting the people you want, take a hard look at what you’re putting out there.

Challenge #3: Many people are gun-shy about making a move.
In light of recent layoffs and furloughs, many employees became hesitant to leave their current roles. Today, this talent needs more incentive to feel comfortable moving. And if you are a company that had layoffs, you’ll have an even tougher time attracting talent.

Best practice:

  • Make sure you’ve got a strong employer brand. This is perhaps the most important element in attracting, hiring, and retaining great talent. Equally critical, make sure your recruiting team knows how to communicate that brand story. Enlist outside training, if necessary. It’s that important.

Challenge #4: A great brand is not enough—recruiters need to offer high-touch communication.
In today’s world, old-school recruiting simply doesn’t work. You can’t expect good results from blasting an email template. Your communication needs to be very personal and specific.

Best practice:

  • Take a high-touch, communicative approach throughout the hiring process. Plan to have more focused, personalized conversations, even through SMS texting. Be well-versed in how to promote your brand, what sets you apart and the top reasons a candidate would want to work for you. This is also true for decline notifications (especially for mid-to-higher-level positions). Don’t send a blanket email. Candidates want to know why they didn’t make the cut.

Challenge #5: Recruiting teams need new skills and resources.
Talent attraction today is a whole new ball game—and your recruiting teams may need to learn new skills to pivot successfully.

Best practices:

  • Take advantage of outside resources to augment your team. The right partner can serve as a temporary extension of your team, providing the reporting tools, new techniques, offering recruitment training, and solving other pain points. They can also help coach your team on the latest recruiting techniques and new brand initiatives.
  • Harness the power of data technology. Align with a partner who uses artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies to pull candidate profiles, candidate move history and diversity profiles.
  • Evaluate your team’s recruiting processes. They may be stuck doing what they’ve always done (but not getting the results you need). Investing in training could make smart sense.