The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak is evolving quickly. Here are the different types of client conversations my team and I have experienced, ONLY since last Thursday.
“We need to put the role on hold, we will revisit it at the end of the year”
“The board has demanded cost cuts. We can’t extend one contractor and we need to reduce the other contractor hourly rates by X% as of next week”
“We don’t want to issue the employment offer now and then potentially have to lay them off right away”
On the other side of the coin
“We will hire again soon. People will only become more risk adverse to move companies for security reasons. Continue to interview candidates and help us raise awareness about the exciting things our company is doing.”
“Continue to recruit for the position. I still need to build a team and I need the best person out there. The market will pick up and there will be more competition for good people.”
“There won’t be any changes for us. It’s great you can video interview and you already have a network you have met before. There will be less in-person interviews that my company doesn’t need to worry about.”
My team and I have had lengthy discussions about the outlook on hiring and what the effects of COVID-19 means for companies in Australia and New Zealand. There is no doubt jobs will be affected and recruitment across every industry will be largely scaled back. In the oil and gas sector, many companies should be in a better position to cope with the low oil price than five years ago, but the virus has added a new layer of complexity.
Our experience shows that it’s not all bad – yes, the question remains of how deep this will cut and for how long it will take to recover, but hopefully companies and individuals remain calm while continuing to move forward together.
If you are planning to hire this year, even if you have a hiring freeze, discuss a strategy of how you are going to get ahead and what your adjusted timelines are. Don’t put it aside, don’t stop building relationships with potential partners, suppliers or candidates. We live in a new age of video conferencing – if you don’t have the resources yourself, engage with companies who can help you. Embrace new learning and innovation that can come from this because this will change the way we work – from day to day to business travel which will be viewed differently years from now. I read somewhere that ‘physical distancing’ is perhaps a better word than social distancing. I can see sense in that. A collective goal of trying to achieve social collaboration via different means, where possible, will be key to the economy.
For managers still hiring, remember that companies like ours have an established network and are experienced in qualifying people via phone, Skype, Zoom and WebEx. Reassure your existing staff. Don’t forget that talent pipelines for challenging roles take months to mature – we can’t simply stop completely, because it will pick up again. For some roles, adverts will soon become redundant in value when you need to hire again – be strategic. The ability to grow and capture opportunity will be down to your reputation, how you whether the storm, who your brand ambassadors will be and how you treat people.
For job seekers
Don’t put yourself out of the job-hunting race. Companies are still operating, some are still recruiting (both critical and non-critical roles) and we are not forgetting about you. Use your time at home effectively – Update your LinkedIn profile, work on your CV, continue to connect with your network and do online courses. LinkedIn is opening 16 of its learning courses for free. Courses that provide tips on how to stay productive, build relationships when you’re not face-to face and using virtual meeting tools. Track that job that was just put on hold – because if you let it go, someone else will get it. Focus on your families, help your children with their emotions, enjoy that nice bottle of red stored away (why not?!) and certainly don’t neglect your own mental health. After all, we are all affected. This will pass, and a job is only a part of your identity.
It’s an unsettling time out there for everyone. We are at the coal face of seeing what the impact of job loss and insecurity has on people’s well being. We are striving to make a positive difference by supporting companies and people where we can through this uncertain time.
If there is anything Lacuna Search can do to help your recruitment plans remain a priority, please get in touch with Kelly or myself. We can arrange a call to discuss how this has specifically affected your business and what the best strategy is to take when you are ready to hire.
Job seekers, please continue to register your CV with us or email Courtney.
We will keep providing feedback and advice for our contacts and clients. We encourage you to join our Lacuna Search network by following our LinkedIn Company Page.
Author: Kyle Giddins, Director of Lacuna Search.