Employer brand

Recruitment then and now: What’s changing and are you ready for it?

The pandemic has been a bumpy ride for employer brand teams. Long-standing employer value propositions suddenly needed a rethink. Candidates turned their priorities upside down. In some countries, remote working became mandatory overnight. 

Alongside the personal worries of COVID-19, there were unexpected challenges for employer brand teams. Making it through unscathed meant devising new strategies to take on a different and highly unstable recruitment landscape.

Such a monumental cultural shift has changed employer branding and our attitudes towards work in general. The first responses from industries, sectors and individual companies have already become permanent fixtures.

Recruitment then and now

There have been countless world-changing events and employment crises that came before COVID-19. Lockdown was not the first time that employment took a sudden and unexpected turn. Recruitment has been around since some of the earliest human civilisations. It has changed and evolved with the world and played a significant role in shaping society.

Despite its very early beginnings, the world of recruitment that we know today only really began to take shape after The Second World War. There had been a huge employment gap as people left their regular jobs to contribute to the war effort. This created an urgent need for recruiters to help fill empty roles during the war, and after it to find jobs for the returning soldiers.

Events that shaped recruitment as we know it

Recruitment in wartime

  • Recruitment agencies began taking out newspaper adverts to fill jobs left by those serving in the war.

Post-war employment

  • To help those returning from the battlefields, businesses began working more closely with recruitment companies to advertise their open positions.

The resume

  • As recruitment companies became more focused on efficiency, they began using resumes to match candidate’s unique skillsets with the most suitable roles. By the 50s, resumes had become essential for applying for most jobs.

Recruitment on the rise 

  • Recruitment agencies continued to thrive throughout the 1960s, and got even busier in the 70s. In a time of economic growth, more businesses than ever were outsourcing their recruitment.

Read all about it!

  • Previously, community bulletin boards had been the main space for promoting jobs. In the 80s however, this shifted towards newspapers which – by then – had dedicated sections for job seekers.

Recruitment gets connected

  • In the 1990s, processing large numbers of applicants went up a gear. The invention of email meant that recruiters no longer had to sift through applications sent by post, fax or delivered by hand.

The digital revolution

  • As computer software and social media improved throughout the 2000s, searching for jobs and processing applicants changed forever. This transformed the way recruitment worked and opened the doors to new tools and online hiring processes that made matching candidates and jobs much faster and much more accurate.

How did 2019/20 transform employer branding and recruitment?

Employees gradually return to offices. Lockdown restrictions are easing. We can cautiously say that we’re seeing the tailend of the pandemic. However, the world of employer branding is never at a standstill. Here are four trends that have emerged as a result of the pandemic:


Whether it’s having time to think while on furlough or seeing their work-life balance from a new perspective, the pandemic gave employees the chance to reconsider their current roles. Hiring managers need to understand the needs and wants of their ideal candidates. Time to get your recruitment campaigns ready before the best talent is snapped-up.


Flexibility will be a must-have for the post-pandemic candidate. If they haven’t already, companies need a way to align remote and on-site staff with their EVP. This might include remote on-boarding, flexible working hours or new employee benefits schemes focused on work-life balance.


Work-life balance. Employee wellbeing. Preventing burnout. These were already hot topics in marketing pre-pandemic. Skip forward a year, and lockdown restrictions have only made things worse. Employees in improvised home offices have been juggling childcare, higher workloads and concerns about their own health. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that candidates and employees want to see the wellbeing initiatives your company has to offer.


With hybrid working here to stay for many, creating a unified sense of belonging has become even harder. At the same time, a tough 2020 for everyone has made it an even higher priority for employer brand teams.

The first place to start is with your EVP. Does it resonate with staff across the globe? Does it take remote working into account? Are there advocacy programmes that all employees can get involved with? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, then you may have some work to do.

Brands that embraced opportunities from the pandemic

A strong brand purpose and globally recognised EVP makes it easier for entire corporations to react to new challenges. With a single company-wide goal, the world’s largest global brands have been able to steer their employer brand in a positive direction through the pandemic.

In fact, many had already been working towards better work-life balance, more staff flexibility and hybrid working models long before the pandemic hit:

IBM embraces flexibility

  • Most corporate organisations still have their hesitations about the hybrid working model. IBM has it set in place for the long-term.

TikTok tries its hand at recruitment

  • Funny clips and fast-paced dance routines couldn’t be further from the corporate formality of traditional job sites. Nevertheless, TikTok is working on a recruitment feature aimed at young adults. Could videos replace resumes in the not-so-distant?

Chipotle acts on its words

  • California-based Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle had made some big claims on employee benefits, promotions, and inclusion. Even when lockdown restrictions hit the hospitality sector especially hard, it kept its promises. After adding mental health programs to its benefits in 2019, Chipotle went on to bolster its parental leave program smack bang in the middle of the pandemic.

Prepare your employer brand for the future with BAM

It’s clear that the employer brand landscape is still undergoing some important changes. To help you stay relevant in the post-pandemic workplace and be ready for whatever is around the next corner, BAM by Papirfly™ has everything you need to: 

  • React fast to shifting priorities 
  • Achieve global EVP consistency 
  • Empower your teams to create the assets they need for specific campaigns

See everything BAM can do for your employer branding by booking your demo today.