Is it wise to stop recruiting during lockdown?
The global pandemic has had an immeasurable impact on the way we live. With all of New Zealand recently going into Level 4 lockdown and Auckland staying in it, this clearly shows that the future remains uncertain. In this environment, the best thing we can do is be prepared.
The good news is that most businesses have adapted to manage their operations relatively seamlessly should a lockdown happen. This includes communicating well with their staff and customers throughout. Staff are generally also aware of what is required of them if they need to work from home and understand their responsibilities.
Recruitment halted during lockdowns
While most businesses have a continuity plan in place to keep their business moving forward operationally during lockdown, recruitment seems to consistently fall on the backburner. This shows a lack of foresight, as businesses stand to miss out on good candidates if they stop or lengthen their recruiting during lockdown.
Add the fact that the job market is very competitive right now due to a shortage of talent – which is made worse by border closures – and recruitment becomes even more challenging.
This is especially true for industries facing high demand, such as IT, healthcare and community services, where – despite some economic challenges brought about by the pandemic – the demand for workers in New Zealand remains strong.
Supporting this view, 43% of recruiters interviewed recently by the Human Resources Director (HRD) magazine said their recruitment had been stymied, not so much by corporate downsizing, but because of lockdown measures.
While there are some exemptions for skilled employees to enter New Zealand, these are very limited currently, but worth exploring. Immigration New Zealand has some guidance for employers.
Recruiting during lockdown gives businesses an edge
To counter this, recruiters and businesses are slowly moving to remote recruiting. Forward-thinking businesses are taking steps to ensure that their talent search doesn’t grind to a halt because of lockdowns. This is giving them an edge over those who remain wedded to the traditional method of recruiting.
Those that are resisting the move raise understandable concerns about remote recruitment. One of the main issues is that the new process involves offering job roles to candidates they’ve not met in person.
While remote recruiting may seem more impersonal – and potentially risky – compared with traditional face-to-face recruiting, businesses and recruiters are learning to embrace the challenges of tech-based candidate screening. There are many success stories circulating in the industry that demonstrate that it can, and does, work.
Border restrictions have also made it a lot harder for businesses to source high-calibre talent from the global talent pool. This has created a very competitive job market within New Zealand for the available local talent.
While this is great news for job seekers, employers are struggling to source and retain talent. Good people are being actively poached by other companies and small-medium business employers, in particular, are struggling to offer more money to attract new staff and retain existing employees.
Be creative and build relationships
In this environment, it’s important for businesses to consider more creative options to attract and hire staff, including remote recruitment. Your recruitment partner can offer great insights into what’s working in the industry currently.
It’s also important to remember that, despite the high demand for talent in the current market, job seekers are cautious about switching roles in the middle of a global pandemic. One in five job seekers is reluctant to move if offered a new role, according to HRD. This will clearly affect the number of applicants for job roles.
It’s also essential to build a strong and trusted relationship with potential candidates. This includes being available to take calls and answer messages – even from ‘unknown’ callers.
Also, even if a candidate isn’t a good fit for a particular role, it’s important to foster the relationship so when future opportunities arise, you can get in touch right away. This way, you can build up a talent pool of potential candidates to draw upon. A great way to add to this pool is to get current employees to recommend people they think would be suitable hires.
Don’t freeze recruitment and wait for ‘normality’
If you’re recruiting in a lockdown market, it’s important to consider all these factors. It pays to think twice before stopping, or delaying, recruitment just because the traditional way of hiring can’t be accommodated right now.
Businesses should consider moving to technology-based solutions to make sure they’re getting the right talent with the right skills to make their business survive and thrive in these difficult times. This is particularly true as candidates start thinking about their next career move as we get close to the busy pre-Christmas recruitment season.
If you’re looking to recruit in IT and digital, reach out to Techspace Consulting. As technology specialists in the recruitment industry, we build partnerships with your best interests at heart and work to match you with the best candidates. Our team members are experts at recruiting during lockdown and look forward to working with you.
About the author
Ana Dragulescu is a Client and Account Manager at Techspace. She is passionate about technical recruitment and enjoys enabling smart people to create amazing things.