Why there’s still opportunity in recruitment during COVID

18 Nov 2020 by Chris Hunter

There has been some commentary around lately painting a bleak picture for the recruitment industry, with many organisations significantly reducing or freezing hiring altogether, but for me, it’s not all doom and gloom. For those forward-thinking recruiters who can ignore the noise and take a positive outlook, there are plenty of opportunities to be found.

Why there’s still opportunity in recruitment during COVID

Sure, many of your clients might be taking a hiatus from recruiting right now and that can feel deflating, but the reality is that they will always need good people and it will end at some point. With so many displaced workers across almost every industry, recruiters are going to have a huge role to play as companies emerge from the crisis looking for new talent. 

It’s just my opinion, but I believe when this is all over, everything is going to explode. Industries like hospitality and travel might just see a massive boom as people have a new appreciation for what they couldn’t do for so long. 

And when an industry is growing, what do they need? More people.  I think there is an opportunity for recruiters to get ready now, and, for me, those that do will be the ones who come out stronger.

Diversification is critical

The impact of COVID-19 on recruitment varied wildly based on the industry you were working with.  Those working in aviation, travel, hospitality and tourism had their business wiped out almost overnight, whereas many of those in healthcare and construction saw an increase in demand. As more companies switched to temporary recruitment, those who were 100% permanent were also among the hardest hit.

It’s no surprise, really. Recruitment has always been a highly specialised industry, with recruiters building industry-specific knowledge and connections to carve out niches for themselves. It’s a model that has worked for a long time, so the need to diversify has been a tough learning curve for the recruitment industry.

Even if you are working in one of the booming industries, COVID has shown us how precarious this highly specialised model actually is, so I think a diversification strategy is a must-have for all recruiters.

There are many ways you can do this.  For some, it might be about hiring in recruiters with expertise in other industries or branching out further in your niche fields. For others, it’s about looking at how existing skills and experience can be transferred to other industries or expanding from permanent to temporary and contract employment. Whatever combination works for your business, it’s important to review your options and start building out other channels.

Prepare your business now for the boom

With almost 1,000,000 displaced workers as a result of COVID-19, there are going to be some highly experienced and skilled people in the market and, as companies start to recover, I think competition for these people will be fierce.

Getting your database in order now, reaching out to your networks and making sure you are ready to go with pre-screened candidates will give you an edge when your clients resume previous levels of hiring.

On top of the surge in job seekers, with so many companies continuing to work remotely, we are also going to have to look at how we deal with large numbers of applicants who are based all over the state or even the country. Your tech stack is going to be key to getting this right.

Review your tech stack

In our fast-paced industry, we often don’t have the time to take a step back and look at our technology, so if you do have the time now, it can be a great opportunity to set yourself up for the future. 

The right tech stack can save your business significant time and money while also providing a better candidate and client experience.  The Referoo team have talked before about what to look for in your tech stack, and you can check out our tips to get started here.

At the end of the day, if you’ve survived these last few months, you’ve weathered some of the worst conditions our industry has ever seen, so now it’s time to prepare for what’s next.  Whatever moves you make in the next few months, make sure you are doing something towards building your business. With so much uncertainty, it can feel paralysing, but the only sure thing right now is that if you do nothing, nothing will be the result.