I don’t often post, but we’re living in extraordinary times! It’s quite hard to make sense of everything right now against a backdrop of Coronavirus and the impact on our daily lives. Outside of work I have been worried about a range of things. From the health of my amazing Grandfather who turned 100 last week to asking myself “do we have enough toilet roll”?!
Having worked in recruitment my entire career I have experienced several impactful events. Starting with the Dot.com bubble bursting in my first role post university, through to the mayhem of the financial crisis that really took hold in 2008.
The current situation feels very different, both in terms of the immediate impact on people’s health (which is of course the primary concern) to the effects of everyone’s livelihoods.
I often feel that recruitment activity is a good barometer for economic confidence. So, I thought I’d share my experiences this week and some thoughts to help both employers and candidates currently in a recruitment process keep perspective.
Major headlines this week
Whilst some clients have requested to ‘pause’ recruitment activity, this has been flagged as a short-term measure (a matter of weeks). This has been caused by a range of factors but confidence in the future economic outlook has not really been the main one.
Most clients have simply flagged either immediate uncertainty as events unfold, priority given to ensuring safety of current employees or travel restrictions (which impacts both interviews and onboarding) as the main reasons.
We have also seen several clients use the current situation to prioritise open vacancies. Some non-critical positions have been placed on hold, but significant urgency has been placed on key roles that remain hugely important to the immediate success of the business in question.
So, how do we manage recruitment projects over the coming weeks?
Now more than ever recruitment partners need to be providing support and advice to their clients on a case by case basis. I have spent the last two days working with clients to agree sensible plans to ensure that we do not lose the outstanding talent we have both worked so hard to secure. These include…
- Switching to video conference interviews (blindingly obvious I know but not everyone has adopted this yet as part of their recruitment strategy).
- Clear communication to the candidate about next steps. Nothing is more effective than an open and honest explanation as to the delay. Simply going quiet creates nervousness and creates a bad impression.
- Offer presented and accepted but with a delayed start date. Advise the candidate to not explore a reduced notice period (which is quite common for those on a 3 month notice in Europe).
- Consider whether the onboarding process could be managed remotely. Our software vendor clients provide virtual product demos to customers. It is surprising how much of a ‘typical’ onboarding process is done in a classroom and could therefore be delivered remotely. The welcome lunch with the team will just have to wait a while!
If any of the topics I have raised strike a chord, I would be delighted to hear from any of my connections (client or candidates) that would require some advice in the coming weeks.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on +44 (0) 7881 923 388.