“Gradually, and then suddenly” was how Ernest Hemingway’s character Mike describes himself going bankrupt in the novel The Sun Also Rises.
We can think of no better description of how COVID-19 has upended our daily lives. And we’ll place a bet that the rest of the globe feels much the same.
So, in what feels like the blink of an eye, life has changed. We dive into what that means for hiring in this post.
What comes next?
There are many dissenting voices out there on how the COVID-19 pandemic is going to end.
Some economists and politicians predict a V-shaped recovery. There’s a school of thought that says the moment people are free to go out again and spend, they will.
There is also a cohort of experts who say that hopes for a V-shaped recovery are fading fast and the world could be in for a global recession.
However, consumer confidence hasn’t gone away. Instead, it’s been put on ice as the virus sweeps across countries. The truth is we’re in a whole new environment and no one knows conclusively how things will play out.
Hiring is still happening
The frontline healthcare and food retail workers are keeping our country going as all of us focus on playing our part and staying at home. We are grateful to them, and recognise the enormous sacrifice and commitment they are making to help us.
The business community is also coming up with innovative ways to keep going, and we’re seeing businesses beginning to adjust to this changed “normal”. We are noticing businesses find their feet as they get to grips with running remote teams. No one doubts the gravity of the situation, but as restrictions tighten to help fight the pandemic businesses are finding ways to go about their… well, business.
That means that we are finding companies looking to hire. Although none of us can make an accurate guess as to what state the economy will be in when we emerge from COVID-19, the essential role businesses play in our society is of no doubt.
Recent research from Glassdoor has shown that job specs have increased greatly for roles in government, healthcare, pharma, biotech and non-profits in the US.
Some of these trends are being mirrored in Ireland.
Recruitment in the time of Corona
The National Recruitment Federation has stated that there is an increase in job vacancies currently in sectors that include logistics, procurement, healthcare, food retail supply chains and insurance.
There’s also a steady stream of roles still being recruited for in the fields of accounting, technology, sales and marketing.
Alongside this encouraging news, it’s also worth taking a macro view of commercial activity. Kantar recently released their research into consumer attitudes during COVID-19. This research takes a look at the wider business environment.
While there are many findings in the study, the general gist is that people expect brands to keep operating during the pandemic. This expectation comes with clear caveats that brands are not to take advantage of the situation and should be as helpful as possible towards government and healthcare organisations.
Therefore, while we know business is dealing with as much disruption as any other sector of our society, we also know that there’s an appetite for business to continue.
Pivot to video interviews
In terms of how hiring processes are being adapted to the current environment, we are noticing a heavier reliance on video interviews.
This makes perfect sense. It’s also heartening to realise that video interviews are not that new an adjustment for many firms. Companies with part of their teams in other countries have been including a video interview stage in their hiring process for a while.
Of course, in 2020 video interviews have become even more critical in the hiring process, but other steps could still be included too. Phone interviews and/or completing a written project could still be part of the process.
Communication is key
No one knows what the new normal is going to look like, but we know at some point there will be a lifting of the social-distancing restrictions and businesses will seek to make a new start.
For this reason, it’s critical that organisations continue to communicate with their audiences.
We’re not talking about sending email messages on how you’re committed to the health and safety of your staff and customers, we have no judgement about these emails; everyone was, and is, trying to do their best in unrecognisable circumstances.
But we are talking about communication that goes beyond that.
If you are still providing services to clients virtually, make sure you have communicated across all of your online channels how customers can reach you. If you have a good news story to share, please do. There’s a real appetite for this type of content. And while we’d caution spending too much time on Twitter (or any other social newsfeed) for the sake of your mental health, we’re also seeing regular tweets from journalists and editors who are actively looking for business stories now.
One of your audiences is the candidate pool you may be hiring from again. And, let’s hope, in the not too distant future.
Keep communicating with them too. Maybe you don’t have any active roles that you’re hiring for right now, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any news to share.
Your LinkedIn company page is your connection to these candidates. So too are the newsfeeds of your staff. Communicate with empathy and transparency to the people who follow you.
We are in unprecedented times, but everyone agrees that the sense of community and social solidarity we are feeling in Ireland is a balm. Our businesses are a critical part of our community and we want to hear from you.
About the author: Maura O'Hea is the Managing Director of Next Generation. She is responsible for the creation and implementation of the company's business strategy and company-wide objectives. Extensive experience in both contingency and managed service recruitment, operations management and a history of enabling others to successfully achieve productivity and sales goals. Maura’s personal goal is to run a financially successful operation that allows all of its employees to reach their full potential in an environment that is both challenging and supportive.