Recruiting during COVID-19 and the lockdown

Experiences of the past few weeks

Jan 4, 2021
Apr 8, 2020

At close of business on Thursday 9th April, Pratap Partnership will have been on home working lockdown for four weeks. Our last day of normal work was Friday 13th March. (Far from being an unlucky day, it was a great day for the business!)During this time, we have spoken to so many businesses and people who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus crisis, and in so many different ways that you could never have imagined. We have all had some of the most difficult conversations in our careers to date, seeing our forecasts drop materially, fees lost and our pipeline decline significantly. We have all been talking to our network of finance leaders every day, with one assumptive question being asked more than any other:

“I imagine the whole recruitment world has ground to a complete halt?”

Our answers have reflected what I have written in the paragraph above, but there have been some positive stories within the past few weeks that we have enjoyed sharing in our conversations and below;

  • The vast majority of our advanced stage WIP has been postponed and not withdrawn – start dates have been put back and regular dialogue between client and candidate has continued to maintain momentum.
  • A number of placements (interim, contract and permanent) have successfully started during lockdown. Induction processes have been meetings in car parks to receive laptops and phones before dialling into video initiations – unconventional but effective in the circumstances.
  • A good number of the positions we have been recruiting for have been business-critical for our clients - recruitment campaigns have continued successfully using video interviews. They have worked well for presentations with (screen sharing) as well as conversational interviews.
  • All three commitments of a temp-to-perm conversion from 1st April have been applied.
  • We have started a number of new campaigns during the lockdown period (including branded campaigns for a Finance Director at Heras, Head of Finance at Burnley FC in the Community, Group Finance Manager at Ancala and FP&A Analyst at CBT Clinics)
  • Candidates who have been involved in these campaigns have been brilliant – adapting to the circumstances admirably and performing well in front of the cameras.

As a partnership team, we have worked in the face of some adversity in the past. Moving employers comes with a few challenges and we all worked together through the credit crunch recession. Although this is very different, we are still able to find a number of huge positives that have been borne out of these past few weeks;

  • More collaboration with different recruiters. There is more solidarity between competitors than at any other time that I have observed. I have spoken with over 20 different recruitment leaders, helping each other to navigate through these unprecedented times, understanding what government support exists, sharing working practices and celebrating in each other’s ongoing successes.
  • Grasping effective use of Zoom, TEAMS, Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp video in keeping in touch with each other, our candidates, clients and partners. We have already engaged in numerous “virtual” coffee meetings and our first two “virtual” breakfasts this week. It is amazing what can be achieved and overcome when you find new ways of working.
  • Confirming that it is still possible to have a good celebration of your first- year end during lockdown – (three and a half hour Houseparty call with a lot of fizz and just a 5-minute break for the applause for the NHS at 8pm!)

There is still a long way to go before we come out the other side of this crisis. I know that there will be many more bumps on the road, plenty of frustration and even more belt tightening. I am blessed to have such a close-knit and supportive team around me and am trying to follow these two goals;1 – Find something to be happy about every day (big tick so far!)2 – Focus on the facts you actually know and do not get distracted by what you do not knowKeep well everyone

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