‘Lockdown’ Your Recruitment Strategy

Posted in : HR Updates on 6 August 2020
Emma Kieran
Clarendon Executive
Issues covered: Recruitment and Selection; Coronavirus; Remote Working

COVID-19 has forced an abrupt shift to remote and new ways of work and organisational agility is critical for survival. In response, organisations have adopted flexible and collaborative approaches to survive this pandemic and keep their business moving forward.

Before COVID-19, the last five years has seen the UK recruitment sector steadily growing each year, with the 2019 market valued at £38.9bn; an impressive increase despite much uncertainty over the impact of Brexit.  The previous landscape was an employee marketplace with companies investing heavily in securing the best possible hires.  Now, with millions unemployed and the latest figures have already shown the steepest decline in the recruitment industry since the 2009 global economic crash and a workforce ready to find and participate in the “new norm”, organisations must learn to adjust to change as the future of recruiting arrives.

Recruiting strategies have and will continue to change to keep up with the shifting ways we work and live. To forge a clear, productive path forward, companies must be ready to have a strategic recruiting strategy in place and be ready for the future of recruiting. Organisations must be mindful of how they will approach the issue once COVID-19 has passed, ensuring that they have the right tools and the smartest approach to acquiring new talent once again.

Changes are inevitable, and it is important that you incorporate changes in your recruitment strategies as:

  • The effects of COVID-19 on the global economy will last for years to come
  • Technology will play an ever-increasing role in all business sectors
  • Increased use of technology will create skills gaps
  • Existing staff will need counseling to accept the change
  • Training to upskill employees will be essential to ensure they remain agile and adaptable
  • Employees who are not able to adapt to these changes will potentially be laid off
  • Skill gaps may have to be filled by hiring remote workers
  • Recruitment strategy will need to have a hiring process in place for remote workers
  • Companies will need to plan a budget for investing in technology to support remote teams

It is time for businesses to re-evaluate the current recruitment strategy. Some of these strategies could include prioritising digital recruitment and onboarding, remote hiring, and the use of virtual interviewing technology over in-person processes. Companies may also need to reassess their recruitment strategies, candidate screening criteria, and applicant tracking systems.

There is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly hindered the typical, day-to-day business operations across many industries, including the staffing and recruitment sector. While the market size of the industry in the UK has decreased notably, there is hope for the field on the other side of the pandemic.

During these uncertain times, the only way forward is to go through it.  Recruiting may not be a top priority right now, but things are going to be normal in the future, and that’s why recruiting should not stop. If you wait until your company comes back to its full capacity to start trying to fill empty roles, you will lose valuable time (and talent).  

If you are not hiring right now, your approach should be two-fold: nurturing and engaging with candidates to keep them warm and understanding the resources you will need for the future.  Until the economy allows people to get back to work in offices, you should be actively working to fill the roles you will need in the future.

The current crisis has foregrounded the truth that people are an organisation’s greatest asset. Organisations have learned that their success can be measured by the skill, knowledge, experience, and effectiveness of their employees. While many workers will not return to ‘normal’, we have already seen business operations begin to resume. This begs the question many leaders across the world have had: How and when will businesses begin to repopulate their workforces to pre-pandemic levels? Even with updated forecasting from the experts, the short answer is that it will take time and effort across every organisation.

Organisations should start to (if they have not already) identify the roles they have lost and the roles that they will need moving forward. These roles will need filling both in the short-term and the long-term, so it is important to have a clear view of the skills you have and the skills you will need as the economy starts to reopen.  Investment in talent should be like any other strategic investment choice: get the complete picture before you make any decisions.  To gain a full understanding of your current workforce, look to your talent pipelines and existing talent for building your recruitment strategy.

Recruiting will continue to be more about perks and a demonstrated investment in the organisation’s people.  In addition to offering more robust benefits and rewards packages, upskilling your existing staff, and allowing room for growth is imperative. The nature of employment and the recruitment sector has changed forever and when the recovery happens it will be in a very different world to the one we left behind.

The team at Clarendon Executive are available to support your business with your future recruitment strategies. Please do get in touch if we can offer our assistance in any way through this difficult time.


This article is correct at 06/08/2020

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Emma Kieran
Clarendon Executive

The main content of this article was provided by Emma Kieran. Contact telephone number is +44(0)28 9072 5750 or email Emma.Kieran@clarendonexecutive.com

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