One of the areas the COVID-19 crisis made its mark on was undoubtedly the job market. Restaurants, clubs, cinemas, hotels, and airlines were among the most harmfully affected by the lockdown and average people’s fears. Many have been shut down for good but the managers of others were striving to survive, imposing numerous cuts.
The most popular have simply been employment reductions of various ranges. As a result, millions of employees worldwide have lost their jobs following the outbreak. And millions of others are afraid they’re next in line. They often represent such industries as hospitality, tourism, aviation, transportation, entertainment but also retail, and training services. Along with them, there came the problem of the recruitment business. It’s obvious that since much less workforce is needed, the hiring industry is on the list of problematic enterprises. But does it apply to all HR entities? Who is more likely to weather the storm? And what steps should a hiring agency take to survive turbulent times we’re living in?
How to survive recruitment industry crisis
Thousands of recruitment agencies are to be blown away from the market, for sure. There are some entities, however, that will be a little luckier. Or, more precisely, managed and prepared for crises better. If you invest in Employer Branding, Candidate Experience, relations with hiring managers, you may be OK even during recessions. Cutting-edge software, innovative solutions, and offering clients what’s best on the market, can also make a difference.
But if you haven’t been active enough in these fields it may be too late for corrective action now. If candidates and employers don’t see you as a reliable partner, they probably won’t turn to you during crises. There are, though, some actions that hiring agencies may try to undertake to stay afloat. Some of them include switching to industries less affected by the coronacrisis, like the IT one, pharma, and delivery. Such companies may also stress other, auxiliary HR services they offer apart from recruiting per se. These embrace Employer Branding, HR, and payroll services, as well as staff, legal, and even tax advisory.
But the hiring industry crisis also affects candidates and employees. And many of them had to rethink their careers. Some artists or tourist guides have become translators, or even couriers, lately. Plus, many people tend to look for something more stable and secure in these turbulent times. Quite often, these are remote jobs. And recruiters may use this knowledge and approach people stuck in their homes more easily.
But the uncertainty is not going to end up any time soon. This means that many companies will put hiring projects on hold even longer. And candidates won’t be that eager to look for new jobs that might involve unwanted replacement, domestic or international. The requirement to work on-site instead of remotely may also be unwanted.
Recruitment business in the future – some pieces of advice
For now, the basic task of hiring companies is simply to survive. They should keep in mind, though, adapting to post-crisis bounce. First and foremost, far-sighted actions need to be taken in advance. And we should maintain strong bonds with all parts of our business environment. Proper networking, building sustainable relationships, and creating a wide base of returning customers of different sizes is simply crucial.
It’s good to offer diversified services, appropriate in both good times and bad times. Interim Recruitment and RPO are great in the case of the latter. Others may include Executive Search, e.g. within IT/Telco industries, Talent Market Mapping, headhunting, as well as Employer Branding. Also, your company’s employees ought to keep on growing in professional terms, trying to excel in certain areas.
They should master in both traditional and innovative sourcing methods, knowing when to adapt particular parts of the mix. In the talent search, however, it’s good to take into account all candidates available for remote work. This attitude is highly beneficial for both sides because there are great talents outside of metropolises, too. They expect less than candidates from Warsaw or Cracow and do appreciate attractive job offers from remote recruiters. Also, it’s good to offer clients a variety of temporary, contract, and flexible work solutions.
Plus, some top-notch hiring specialists advise not to lose touch with top talent and keep recruiting even in crises. This way, we may be on the top of our game when hard times are over. This applies, however, not to all employment categories, but selected specializations, as IT recruitment. Developers, programmers, and other IT people take advantage of the somewhat special position they still have in the market. And other employees may envy them again, even during the recession.
IT recruitment – still very special?
IT contracting is still a vivid part of the HR market. However, it had to adapt to new circumstances that have embraced many other groups of employees, too. Firstly, remote recruiting has become more widespread and started to include all stages of hiring, even onboarding. Of course, it had been in use even before, but mostly in the form of e-screenings and video meetings. But then virtual career fairs, assessments, job tryouts, and “meet and greets” with new employees have become quite popular.
And those remote forms of hiring not only required alertness, swiftness, and courage, but also new tools and solutions. Some of them were social communication tools, recruiting software, data security solutions, and cloud computing. Online file sharing, and automated scheduling but also gaming services, VOD, and telemedicine platforms have become more popular, too. And the dissemination of such solutions, but also e-businesses and delivery services gave IT people even more work.
However, the recession wasn’t beneficial for all IT employees. Those representing the junior level could see reduced demand for their services, and growing competition among peers. And we could observe the same trend among team leaders, IT managers, and system analysts. The number of IT job openings issued by finance, banking, and consulting industries decreased, too.
Many senior specialists, however, could experience a greater appreciation, and even more impressive remuneration. What has been slashed, however, were additional perks and benefits. And, even more frustrating, it was accompanied by the increase in the number of requirements to be fulfilled. Less favorable forms of employment, like temporary and contract, only for particular projects, have also reached a popularity increase.