Management consultancy employers put the brakes on hiring with the announcement of lock-down. Uncertainty invariably results in recruitment freezes and go-slows.
It’s becoming clear that there are winners and losers thus far.
There are firms who are suffering badly and have furloughed or laid off staff. For them recruitment is not an option.
The same is probably true of consultancies that are weathering the storm but are in vulnerable sectors or services, or whose projects are typically of short durations and haven’t seen much or any new business in recent months.
For both categories recovery may be slow and the priority will be winning new work and getting utilisation back up before hiring is back on the agenda.
However as is widely known there has been a very uneven impact across sectors and services and there is another category of firms that are doing better or are even finding business buoyant.
So far recruitment has perhaps not been front of mind: however, it should be as it’s a great market in which to hire great talent.
Here is Prism’s plan:
Don’t bet the company but there’s definitely a case for now being proactive and positive.
There are very good candidates in the market right now. Surprised? Yes, some are “hunkering down” but many very good people are out of work, furloughed or concerned about their job security. Others are unhappy as they are stuck on work and clients because they have no choice. Some have seen promotions and salary rises vanish or had to take pay cuts. With the job market quiet you won’t have the competition for talent you’d usually have. It is a golden opportunity to talk to and consider hiring candidates you might normally struggle to reach.
While we are a long way from a return to normality there are already signs and predictions that the opportunity for employers to steal a march on their competitors may not last.
Perhaps you have a great Associate pool rather than a permanent headcount, which is comforting at the moment. But could you replace some of these with permanent hires: gaining a more profitable project, hires that quickly pay for themselves and also potentially add to the business’s value.
Always be looking
Under no circumstances waste candidates’ time or yours as there is a real backlash currently about “fake jobs”. But it is entirely reasonable to have conversations with candidates, providing you are transparent, in order to maintain a talent pipeline. There could be a business case for hiring an excellent person now…..or in a few months’ time. What is absolutely certain is that if you turn off the taps now it will take weeks or months to find good candidates when you next need them.
You don’t need to rebuild your recruitment team until there is more certainty: in the meantime, a contingency recruiter can find you candidates for free until they start work.
Review your brand
If active hiring is subdued it’s an excellent time to review your “employer brand”: ensure you have a clear proposition and brand identity as well as reviewing other aspects that attract candidates including clarity of company vision, career development, training and salaries.
Now is also a great time both to audit your candidate process and aim to really make an outstanding impact on people you are already in dialogue with or who come into your pipeline. While there are many aspects to this, it’s first and foremost about communication. So prioritise regular transparent updates and information sharing. Never over promise and under deliver! Be consistent.
Review your recruitment strategy
While checking your process, also audit other aspects of your talent attraction. Everyone wants cost-effective recruitment but make sure this isn’t at the expense of access to the best candidates or mean slower hiring. Both have a real, quantifiable cost that’s often overlooked and this is where good use of agencies or executive search can pay dividends. Another way of looking at it is that a quick hire of an exceptional candidate can repay the agency fee many times over and swiftly.
if you would like to discuss any of the above please contact Chris Sale Managing Director, Prism Executive Recruitment at [email protected]. Find more information about our services on our Client Services page and details of Our Recruitment Solutions.