What we think
This is where you can peer into our minds and learn a bit more about us as recruiters, consultants and humans. Expect plenty of insight into Consumer, Retail, Recruitment, and life in our Leeds and London spaces. Some tips from the top and the odd guest appearance. Enjoy and please feel free to leave us a comment!
Recruitment in the time of Corona: 2020 Part 219th May 2020
Over the last month we have seen many things slow down as business has reacted to the pandemic. Food manufacturers and distributors have had to keep going in their effort to feed the nation, and as recruiters operating in Consumer Goods & Retail this includes many of our clients. Although we’ve seen a reduction in new roles and some processes paused, several clients have kept recruitment processes moving throughout the last two months. As we are seeing the first steps towards whatever the ‘new normal’ will look like for us all, we thought it might be useful to gather together the ways in which we have kept our clients hiring amid the biggest change to our day-to-day lives for a generation.
Firstly, businesses are looking again at their reasons for hiring. Retailers must be customer-first with a strong focus on convenience; never before has this been clearer. Obviously there’s been a shift towards online; (only 7% of grocery shopping took place online before this situation) a trend that shows no sign of abating as anyone who stands in the socially-distanced queue for the supermarket at the moment will agree – it’s not a quick or convenient task now and it won’t be for some time! All Retailers are considering their online offer and recognising their skills shortages, and will need to make team changes to increase their capabilities and adapt to changing customer habits.
When it comes to the actual recruitment process, businesses with established flexible working and working-from-home capabilities are of course best placed to keep moving, but even those for whom this isn’t the case have adapted to the ‘new normal’ (or the interim normal) really quickly. There are many video conferencing options in use across our clients, but no matter what they are we are preparing clients and candidates to get the best possible outcome. We are helping both sides to check sound and WiFi capabilities, helping candidates make a Plan B should the meeting halt due to those issues, ensuring candidate presentations are with the client in good time before the interview to get round screen sharing issues; the list goes on and varies from person to person but in short our Consultants are doing everything they can to gain reassurance for both sides.
Candidates can expect the pandemic to play a big role in their interview responses; they will undoubtedly be asked how they see the next few months playing out for individual retailers and Consumer Goods businesses. They may be asked to present their own plan. They may be interviewing for a role created to actually deliver that plan. Whatever the motivation of the client, it’s a great time for candidates to showcase industry knowledge, trend awareness and operational capabilities during the interview. We have been recommending clients take a virtual coffee break with candidates also; once the formality of tests and second stage interviews are done, it’s really useful to also arrange a more casual meeting for both sides to assess the other in a more relaxed way.
To conclude, the clients who have strong relationships with their recruitment partners are best placed to keep their recruitment processes moving in these testing times. If you’ve selected a partner whose values align with yours, who share your goals and understand your business, then that partner is well set-up to support you now. It is clear this week that we are to see a return to work wherever possible and this will include an acceleration of the hiring process. We will need to do all we can to bridge the literal and metaphorical distance of the last few months in the many digital and physical options we have available to us. We should and will create our ‘new normal’ in the best way we can!
I’m more than happy to speak with more detail to clients and candidates about how they do this – just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
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