Recruitment companies are agents of the Devil?

I've been having conversations with the VITA team recently about some of the challenges they are facing in the recruitment market, we are after all conducting business in a very different set of conditions to any previously faced. Barring the usual set of objections along the lines of 'Recruitment companies are agents of the Devil' and things like that, one notion keeps coming up, among companies large and small - 'We are not recruiting at this time, not because we can't afford to, but because we don't want to'.

If your company is struggling because of COVID-19, or you are just struggling due to a lack of finances, then I feel for you, I really do. Please take this bit of friendly advice though; don’t leave job adverts online and hoard candidate CV’s ‘just in case’. You are giving people who are out of work false hope. You can’t afford to take someone on just now, no problem, but don’t waste candidate’s time, or yours, by advertising for vacancies you have no intention of filling. Imagine a company contacted yours and said “sure, we can do business with you, no problem”, then held onto your details for a few months without actually giving you any business. Sucks, right? Candidates feel the same way. Now, discounting the genuine ones who are struggling, we are left with an interesting data set: companies with open vacancies that 'want to wait until things settle down' before recruiting. Cool, let's analyse that train of thought.

The recruitment market at the moment looks like this - many, many skilled candidates are losing their jobs through no fault of their own, or are freelancers with no freelance work going around for them. Perhaps we have candidates who are in ‘kurzarbeit’ too; worried that their next salary might be their last. As a result, VITA has seen a huge surge not only in high quality candidates, but also LOYAL candidates who were in their previous positions for many years. Now, what do you think is happening with those candidates? Do you think they are waiting patiently for your company to decide it is ‘a good time’ to start recruiting again? No, no they are not. Two types of company are taking these candidates right now – the first are the big players, Microsoft, Google and the like. They are snapping up as much talent as they can during these very different conditions because they get the fact that the market is full of higher quality candidates than normal. As I mentioned previously, we don’t just have a market full of disgruntled workers and serial job flippers, it is absolutely PACKED with talent! You might look at that and say ‘no problem, I can’t compete with the big players anyway’. Nor will you ever be able to, because you’ve just let the talent that you need walk through their door! The second set of companies that will take your ideal candidates though are your competition. Make no mistakes, if you need data scientists for example, so does your competition. Need an IT security consultant? So does your competition. Let’s assume you have some luck here; your ideal hire doesn’t want to work for a huge company like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc. Great. Will they hang around waiting for you? No, they won’t. Your competition will employ them. Now.

You may think my words are harsh, but I’ve never been one to tread lightly. I’m here to help people get through to the other end of this crisis, whether they be client or candidate, customer or otherwise. I will add in closing that whether you agree with me or disagree, I wish you and your businesses well during these crazy times. I look forward to a time where the news isn’t full of our friends and neighbours dying and our LinkedIn feeds aren’t full of good people losing their jobs and businesses. Until then though, take care, all of you.

Gavin Ewan COO

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