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How recruiters should communicate at this time of crisis

How recruiters should communicate at this time of crisis

Let’s be honest, recruitment as an industry gets a bad rap at the best of times – add a global crisis into the mix that is directly affecting people’s health, livelihoods and jobs, and I appreciate the industry could be in danger of appearing vulturous.

The truth of the matter is that it is quite simply not business as usual for any industry, and we have sadly already seen job cuts across most, recruitment is no exception.

As I write this, our clients are working tirelessly and around the clock to advise and support their clients on how best to communicate and engage with their customers, stakeholders and employees, given the far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. My LinkedIn feed has been flooded with engaging content from across my network about how best to communicate with various stakeholders during these unprecedented times, yet I’ve seen almost nothing from the recruitment industry.

As far as the communications industry goes, the market has not come to a standstill. Consultancies, although adapting, are as busy now as they were, and in some cases more so. In-house teams are real-life heroes keeping concerned stakeholders and most importantly employees appraised of the situation as best they can. There are just as many organisations who are continuing to seek out talent and build teams as those who are hitting pause. The key point here is that there is no right or wrong approach and that there is no one solution that will suit all.

Whether you are pressing on with interviewing, in need of freelance or short-term support, or simply looking to get insight into the market, we are here to help.

Likewise, whether you are looking for a move, seeking freelance or short-term work, or just interested to get an update on the market, you know where we are.

Either way, here is what you can expect from us:

Truth and facts, no fake news or scaremongering

As recruiters, we must appreciate that given the number and the cross-section of people we speak with on a daily basis we are conduits for information, and at the moment we are in a unique position to feedback on the state of the industry. It is, however, our utmost responsibility to ensure we are reporting on facts honestly and completely. We must provide the full picture and ensure our clients and candidates have all the necessary information to inform their decisions.

Awareness & sensitivity

Every business is impacted differently and therefore adapting differently. Every candidate will be affected differently and as such have different priorities. Making assumptions is not only insensitive but downright foolish. Along with the power to inform, we also have the ability to comfort, and I’d argue in the current crisis that should be our top priority.

Stay in your lane

We have not overnight become business strategists, government advisors or financial wizards. Stay in your lane and only advise on that which you are in position to consult on. It is not lost on me that the intention may be to try and help, but you may do more harm than good.

Power of network (& community)

In normal market conditions, I constantly tell people never to underestimate the power of their network. Although that still very much applies, recruiters are, again, uniquely positioned to be able to bridge networks and link people up to support each other at this time. Sure, the recruitment industry is predicated on linking people up ‘for a fee’ but just as our industry rallied together to support those affected by Bell Pottinger’s collapse, we must use the power of our networks to benefit and support our community as a whole.

One person’s normal is another person’s abnormal

Given we work with clients and candidates across the globe, a key part of our jobs is to build relationships ‘remotely’. For us, the thought of interviewing over the phone or video call is ‘normal’, however, we must understand this is not the case for most. As the industry adapts to the current situation and looks to move interviews and such to virtual formats, we must do our utmost to support those who are less comfortable with it, advise on best practice as far as possible and facilitate as needed.

How we can help

If this is an area of concern for you or your business, we are running a series of free webinars on Interviewing Candidates Remotely and ‘Onboarding Talent (Remotely or Otherwise)’ over the coming weeks. Please do register if you're interested.

With the current situation ever-changing, having consistency, honesty and reliability from your talent partner is key.

If I can support you, your business or your general sanity with a friendly chat – please don’t hesitate to reach out to samc@hansonsearch.com.

Stay safe, stay healthy!

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Author: Sam Corn

As head of financial communications recruitment at Hanson Search, Sam advises and recruits for the world’s most renowned strategic communications and global advisory consultancies, international publicly listed businesses and blue-chip financial services firms.

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