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And while confidence is possibly too strong a word at this stage, this new activity gives us hope and encouragement that certain industries are forging ahead and we can find a way back to work. I doubt any of us thought we'd ever be saying that to ourselves. However, while it's only been 3 months since lockdown commenced, it has been a very long 3 months. A lot has changed and what we go back to will be very different to what we left behind.
For a start, the whole market has flipped around. We left behind the lowest levels of unemployment we've seen. Candidates were the modern-day gold and clients had to be flexible, accommodating, but also willing to move quickly for fear of losing out. That is no longer the case for the majority of sectors. Control, and dare I say it, the power has changed and now clients will be able to control the process in a way they've not been able to for years. These things go in cycles and those of us who have worked in the industry for any length of time will have seen this before, but for some newer consultants this will bring a new way of working they are not used to or potentially trained to deal with.
While sourcing those hard to find candidates was once a key skill, there will sadly now be a lot of people on the market. This gives any hiring manager choice (and power); it also gives any recruiter a real challenge. How do you manage an influx of candidates, give them that all-important 'experience' and protect your brand when they don't secure that much needed role?
Hiring managers will potentially be able to post jobs directly, and for the first time in many years, get decent applications meaning they have less need to use agencies. That however will not be without its own challenges as they won't want the challenge of dealing with high volumes of applications, and damaging their own employer brand with multiple associated rejections.
So the long-forgotten skill of taking a detailed job spec/brief becomes crucial. 'Fag packet' specs will no longer suffice. You will need to understand exactly what a client is looking for to have any chance of being successful. Hiring managers won’t need to accept second best or mediocre, they can hold out for the very best, and any recruiter who sends unsuitable candidates is unlikely to get a second chance in such a market.
Adapting to the new market dynamics is a key challenge for agencies to face in the coming months. For more key insights about how the recruitment industry has responded to Covid-19, our new Recruitment Recovery Guide raises thought-provoking questions and outlining strategies for the next phase. Download a copy to discover lessons learnt and how to plan for the new next normal.