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How to get the most out of the recruitment market during COVID-19

business, recruitment consultant, hr ...

The recruitment business is all about bringing people together.

So how do you survive – let alone thrive – when your clients and candidates can’t meet each other, you can’t meet them, and you can’t even get together with your colleagues?

None of us has ever been through anything like this before. But there’s one thing COVID-19 hasn’t taken from us: our adaptability. And there’s one thing it’s given us: time. If we capitalise on those assets, we can succeed.

Here are five actionable tips to make the most of these interesting times.

1. Build talent pipelines for the future

It’s true that many employers have stopped hiring. But some haven’t. In fact, some employers, like Amazon and other home delivery providers, are desperate for extra staff to meet increased demand.

Sectors in which jobs are still available include:

  • Agriculture
  • Call Centre
  • Defence
  • E-commerce
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance
  • IT Support
  • Logistics and Transport
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Tech and SaaS companies

So it’s time for the recruiters to go job-hunting. Get on Zoom with your colleagues and decide on a proactive strategy to track down the companies that need staff and get in touch.

And don’t forget to talk to your existing clients. Offer them support. Pick up useful tips from clients who are handling the crisis well and share them with those who aren’t.

For clients who aren’t hiring, talk to them about what happens when the lockdown ends. Ask them what skills they’ll need to put things back together. Offer to build them a talent pipeline for when that happens. They may pay you for this service – and even if not, you’re keeping them engaged and will have the talent ready when they begin hiring.

2. Grab a bucket – we’re not in a talent drought any more

Far from being short of talent, employers who try hiring now are likely to find themselves drowning in applicants. So grab a bucket and help them bail out the flood.

Besides the pipeline mentioned above, what other new services could you offer that might help? Consider these:

  • Screening
  • Reference-checking
  • Managing communication with candidates
  • Managing the whole applications process


3. Be there for your candidates

Maybe the last thing you need right now is a pile of candidates. But remember they need you.

Call around your existing candidates and reassure them that even if jobs are thin on the ground now, you haven’t forgotten them and will be in touch as soon as opportunities arise. Spread your net wider by going through your ATS and calling everyone you’ve talked to in the past. If you need a conversation starter, just ask, “Are you OK?”

Invest some time in offering candidates a free CV review, or a Zoom chat about salary benchmarking or career planning. Or offer to help them improve their online brand by rewriting content and profiles.

4. Build goodwill equity with clients, candidates and colleagues

Reaching out to support others is the decent thing to do right now – but it can also benefit you. When all this is over, people will remember who was there for them and who wasn’t.

Remember: you can't control events or anyone else's behaviour, but you have a choice in the sort of vibe you put out to the world and those you interact with. Close your emails and conversations with a note of calm and optimism. Remind others that this situation is not permanent, and make time for moments of (virtual) connection.

Invite others to spend their lunch break with you over Skype or Zoom. Do you sometimes grab a pint with your colleagues after work on Fridays? Take the initiative to organize a virtual version.

Overall, stay in touch, and try to be the person who offers support and opportunities to relax, socialize, and maybe even commiserate a little. Others in your circle will probably be relieved someone is doing it.

5. Tidy up your mess

In recruitment, you’re always busy. Inevitably, you end up with messy piles of undone tasks gathering dust in the corners. Well, now you’re not so busy – so get tidying.

  • Speaking of online brand, how’s yours? Polish up your LinkedIn and other social media.
  • Spend some time on client and candidate research, online learning, and ATS data cleansing.
  • Get some marketing ideas ready for the recovery.
  • Finally finish that training material.
  • Write some blog posts.
  • Clean up your CRM and mailing list.
  • Overhaul your filing system.
  • Think about how to improve all your systems and processes.
  • Make sure you’re up to scratch on compliance.

You can probably think of many other ideas that are more specific to your business. The important thing is to stay productive – both for your success in the future and for your mental health right now. Be kind and generous and keep trucking – this too shall pass.