recruitment sector

COVID-19 : How the recruitment sector is adapting

  • Effects on the Recruitment Industry
  • Embracing more technological solutions
  • Create optimism out of gloom – “We are officially in a recession”
  • Creativity and innovation are key to ensure your ahead of the curve on the upturn


Effects on the Recruitment Industry

With the COVID-19 pandemic dominating the news for the last few months, there is no question that it has had a negative impact on recruitment. The lockdown policies mean many businesses have been forced to either close or downsize. The hospitality, travel and retail industry has been severely affected with major reductions in working hours and many redundancies.

From the beginning of March many companies had a recruitment freeze, most live roles were put on hold and there was a decline in new permanent positions in the UK. This has only increased with covid-19 here to stay until the foreseeable future.

Businesses are having to adapt to new styles of work ethics such as increase in multitasking as coworkers are on furlough or have been made redundant.

We have seen more people coming out of silo projects and into team projects to off burden the workload due to fewer staff members. As project teams are being reduced the need for cross transfer of skills across organisations seems to be the way forward.

Recruiters frequently mentioned that COVID-19 led clients to cancel or postpone recruitment plans until the outlook improved.

From the period of March to May 2020, the number of vacancies in the UK economy decreased by 42% on the quarter (Office of National Statistics, 2020).

Nick Kirk, managing director of recruiter Michael Page in the UK and Ireland, agrees video interviewing has vastly accelerated time to hire. “In a typical recruitment process we might get a call, you’d have to tie up to diaries, meet the client face to face and then there would be a long list, a short list, more diary coordination to meet with the shortlisted candidates…” he mentions. “Now, we can arrange a Zoom call with the client straight after getting the brief, interview candidates and get them to ‘meet’ the employer over video all in one day. It compacts the whole process.”

Embracing more technological solutions



If you never had an IT personnel or department then you might want to think about hiring one or two, because having an IT infrastructure will be a necessity for the future of an organisation.

From budget cuts, remote work challenges, to delivering bad news to candidates still in the pipeline, it’s all happening online.

With those still recruiting, social distancing makes it more challenging for face to face interviewing and the majority is being done online.

Video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams have exploded onto the scene and being used both to communicate with clients and meet with candidates. This is now becoming a standard tool in recruitment.

Pre pandemic businesses were already adapting to the vast changes in communication, digital technology, and marketing. Post pandemic the effects on the whole global economy have only increased the need to either train existing employees, create remote workforces or recruit new talented IT savvy and creative people.

The recruitment industry will be in offering hand to help clients adjust to the new nature of recruiting, from the implementation of new technologies such as video interviewing and virtual onboarding, to adopting flexible and remote workforces.

Create optimism out of gloom


So, it has finally been declared “We are officially in a recession”.

It’s no secret that the pandemic has significantly hindered the typical, day-to-day business operations and recession is the last thing we needed, however there is hope to rebuild a sense of ‘normality’.

All this talk about covid-19 and now a recession seems scary but having a more optimistic outlook creates new opportunities. Many world business leaders have called recessions in the past as a detox to the economy. So when organisations start thinking of downscaling employees become more creative and some would say more focused to ensuring the organisations survival.


Why in a downturn it’s natural to shred everything!…both people, costs and visions!…but why it’s not always the right thing to do. Creativity and innovation are key to ensure your ahead of the curve on the upturn” (Sahar Hashemi -Co-Founder of Coffee Republic).

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Stay safe, be optimistic and call Blue Octopus Recruitment for any advice and support you may require.

Look out for further blogs on our website, where we discuss more in the news topics.

By Lara Basic, Marketing Executive at Blue Octopus Recruitment


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