10 Things to consider on the Recruitment landscape today

Over the last four weeks, the recruitment landscape has changed dramatically in the face of COVID-19.

After speaking with clients and contacts across our industries, we want to share with you ten things we’ve learned in the hope it might give some clarity and guidance to recruiters and and recruiting managers.


1. Critical hires are the priority

Hiring has slowed down over recent weeks, however critical hires are still ‘on’ for most companies. Recruitment for designated FCA key worker roles is continuing as normal, especially for mission critical hires and senior positions. Strategic growth hires have also remained fairly resilient in the face of the pandemic. 

Many companies are using their experiences of 2008/2009 to position themselves for growth. There is also a growing interest in our Talent Pipeline service. Companies employ this service to identify and engage quality candidates who currently have more time on their hands to speak.  


2. Video-led hiring

This one is a no brainer.  

In recent weeks, businesses the world over seem to have embraced the use of Zoom and other video-calling apps with Recruitment companies following suit. 

We are also seeing an interesting trend in companies conducting “first-stage” telephone interviews via Zoom, which is a positive development in our view.

However, in order to adapt we advise everyone to brush up on their Zoom and Skype etiquette! We love this article which gives straightforward tips for a quality call. 


3. The job seeker is less likely to accept a job over VC

In contrast to companies making hires via Video Call, many candidates, and particularly passive candidates, are uncomfortable accepting job offers this way. 

It’s understandable. For all of the benefits that video technology offers, old habits die hard. 

There is still nothing like a handshake and a first “face to face” impression to assess culture fit and compatibility. Trying to push an acceptance through this way will lead to poor long-term outcomes. 

Be patient. You should be hiring to hit 12-month anniversaries and not the start date.


4. The assessment of culture fit could do with a shake up

We think video hiring is here to stay for the long term. Which will be beneficial to companies in the long run by reducing time and money, thereby improving productivity.

The common hurdle is the “white of the eyes” moment.  It is extremely difficult to assess two-way cultural suitability over the phone or on a video call.

Using internal exemplars to culturally benchmark is a good start but not fool proof, and the same goes for psychological assessment tools. 

If there are effective tools that you use to assess culture ft, we want to hear about it.


5. It’s BAU hiring for some 

Companies who have spent a long time recruiting and onboarding remotely have seen little change, apart from prioritising critical hires activity. 

Notably, technology-led companies are continuing with their standard processes albeit with a focus on critical hiring. 


6. For most though, the BAU hiring horizon is in 3 months

Most companies are approaching the current situation with equanimity. Government support has helped provide a measured response and it means that most companies still have an eye on BAU recruiting activity.

Hiring companies are getting their BAU pipeline into good shape to respond quickly once normality returns, with video interviews for BAU roles taking place now, in order to position preferred candidates for a final face to face interview after the lockdown ends.

Most companies we’ve talked to are working to a 3-month horizon to return to BAU hiring and activities.  They are monitoring this timescale day to day and week to week. 

If the clouds don’t clear on that 3-month horizon quite soon, then we predict a more significant recruitment slowdown.


7. The onboarding experience is changing

The majority of people due to start new jobs are still starting but with a different onboarding experience. 

Laptops and equipment are being couriered to homes and the onboarding process has moved online. 

We haven’t yet had concern from candidates onboarding in this way. However, there is a question mark over the long-term candidate experience and the impact on future churn and retention.


8. Committed to new starters but delayed onboarding

Some start dates have been pushed back but thankfully no hires have yet been cancelled in our customer base. 

The main reason for delaying the start date relates to the above point. Many clients don’t feel able guarantee a stellar onboarding process. Rather than risk a poor experience for new starters, they have chosen to postpone start dates. 

However, this has left some candidates in limbo. 

In one example, a start date was delayed by two months because the new employer placed most existing employees in furlough.  The new candidate is unable to start the new job, resigned from their previous role six weeks prior and was replaced, consequentially they can’t access the furlough scheme of their new employer. They now face an uncertain period with no salary or benefits. 

We’ve also seen other instances where a start date has been pushed back but fortunately the current employer has agreed to retain or furlough the employee during the limbo period. 


9. Internal Recruitment teams have more time to work on all roles

Internal Recruitment teams are more likely to work on more diverse roles as they find greater capacity within their working day. This includes specialist hires which usually found their way to external recruiters. The knock-on effect is a healthy potential pipeline but a lower current supply for agency recruiters. 

Use of our Critical Talent, Market Intelligence and Talent Pipeline services remain popular as ever, with internal teams reaching out for support in different ways. 

We encourage all recruiters to think about different services (free or paid) which will support internal teams. 


10. Internal and network hiring gives a greater feeling of certainty

Understandably, hiring managers are turning to who they know more than ever. 

Many candidates who may have been overlooked for internal promotions due to lack of experience are now securing a step up or moving across.  The same applies to the ex-colleague, consulting partner or referral.  All of which can give the hiring manager under pressure, a better indicator of future success.

The rationale?  They would rather be sure of an individuals, company and culture fit than take a leap of faith with a brand-new employee, even if they have better experience.


Do you want to talk to us about getting the highest quality candidates into your vacancies? Schedule a call with Dan today


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April 8, 2020
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Daniel Waltham
Written by Daniel Waltham

Responsible for leading FourthLine’s Talent Services business. Dan takes a lead role in customer engagement, identifying, creating and designing innovative solutions to help our customers at every stage of their hiring process. Fifteen years of experience in the sector as a hands-on recruiter and manager of interim and permanent recruitment businesses.