Well, to say that 2020 has been a strange year would be the understatement of the century! I would say that it’s been unprecedented, however, along with the term, “you’re on mute” I think I’ve heard that enough times already.

Working in recruitment for almost a decade has prepared for a lot of situations and I’ve seen a lot of things happen. Mining downturns, Government contractor numbers being slashed, natural disasters… you think you’ve seen it all until a global pandemic shuts down the world.

What has been interesting about this year is being able to observe the way that people act and react in new and different situations and with different pressures. The majority of my job as a HR/Recruitment consultant is to help individuals and businesses navigate through, not only the job advertising and application process, but also the interviewing, negotiation and onboarding process as well.

What I’ve seen this year caught me off guard a touch, but has also highlighted the value that a good recruiter can and does bring to the entire process.

The initial phase

Meeting with clients and taking a full brief from a hiring manager in a market that has higher than usual unemployment rates is imperative. Customers also have a much stricter list of criteria when hiring new staff and the fees associated are coming under more scrutiny as budgets get tight.

Obviously, this isn’t the case with every customer and every occasion, but on more than one opportunity I have seen clients asking for a long list of experiences, industries, systems and personality traits. The company holds the power at this stage of the process and candidates can often feel like there are a plethora of hoops that they need to jump through to be successful.

Some of you may think that is a good thing, that the customer should have high expectations, particularly in a market like this. I don’t disagree; however, I think that a realistic approach to all hiring decisions is important and the wants and needs from a client should be discussed openly with your recruiter. Sometimes you can’t have everything that you want!

Consider looking more carefully at the position itself rather than replacing a particular individual. What are the duties and responsibilities that you need that position to cover? Rather than what did the previous person did.

It may also pay to utilise a psychometric tool to assess candidates during the process. Companies are paying as much attention to personality traits and leadership/learning styles for successful candidates.  Rather than go off that “gut feel”, you can speak with your recruiter about getting some data to back-up your opinion. At Optimum we use a tool called Genesys and our Consulting team will also walk you through the results once its completed.

The shift in power

Towards the end of the recruitment process comes the interesting aspect that I’ve noticed this year in particular. There is a big shift in power from the company being able to set the pace, to the preferred candidate being more in control.

Once a client has identified the person that they want, they will move heaven and earth to get them on board.

It’s at this stage that a good and experienced recruitment consultant becomes invaluable. Setting candidates’ expectations, handling negotiations, working with candidates through counter-offers and helping with the onboarding/training early on.

2020 has thrown up more than a few situations where a deal has gone pear shaped at the 11th hour due to a preferred candidate changing their expectations and not budging. This has caused countless moments of stress for the client and the recruiter, but can be minimised and avoided with the right experience and process.

The value

So you think that there are plenty of people on the market and throwing up a Seek ad will do?

It might. You might even be able to shortlist down to a handful of suitable candidates that fit the brief of what you are looking for.

But are you prepared for the 11th hour?

2020 has been a year of firsts and a year of changing expectations in a lot of ways. Now is certainly not the time to be taking risks when it comes to bringing on new staff to your business!

Contact Optimum Consulting to find out about our way and how we can add value throughout the hiring process.

Isaac Dufficy
Executive Consultant – Group Solutions

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