Now you see it, now you don’t – One effect of repeated lockdown on recruitment

At the risk of stating the obvious, lockdown has had a huge impact on recruitment. I am sure there no need to discuss the big picture on this again. Through most of 2020, we rolled with the punches and learned to adapt to the new circumstances. Covid policy is now a common term, and employers and employees alike are used to reacting to it. However, maybe understandably given the importance of the pandemic, we perhaps sometimes don’t see some of the smaller effects of the lockdown. Redundancy, downscaling, home working and other big issues fill our attention but, for example, we rarely consider the additional impact going up and down alert levels and in and out of lockdown has. When a change occurs in the alert level, or we go into full national lockdown, it creates an uncertainty that could prevent employers successfully recruiting key employees.

At the start of the pandemic, recruitment for many industries slowed at first before freezing entirely. In all fairness, in a world where nobody knew what the situation would be tomorrow, a recruitment freeze on all but the most vital positions was understandable. Then, as things started to ease, the flow of jobs returned. Both temporary and permanent roles started to reappear, and the recruitment process started up again. Then came the new tiers which resulted in uncertainty again and following that, back we went into full lockdown with all that goes with it.

How does it look to the candidate?

Because the pandemic effect has now extended over a period of time, it has resulted in a lot of roles being advertised, then removed, then readvertised and then…well, I am sure you get the idea. What that could mean to the candidate is that the job seems to vanish and reappear. When it comes down to it, the security of employment is a big motivator. Switching to a new role is bound to be accompanied by a level of apprehension about change, so naturally, a candidate with choices will factor in the permanence of the position. If a job is readvertised regularly, it can seem impermanent. As we put it in the title ‘now you see it, now you don’t’, suggests instability. Candidates, particularly those who are currently in a suitable position or semi-passive about moving, may well see the readvertising of the role as an indication that something is amiss. Usually, when a job is readvertised, it is because there is a high employee churn and that can be a red flag to applicants. A good recruiter will be able to explain the situation and maintain evidence of consistency. Without one, through no fault of their own, a business can appear unsettled or subject to high staff turnover.

In inconsistent times if you have a good recruiter actively working for you, it means that you have someone to explain the reality to the candidate. It puts someone in your corner actively selling your role and the opportunity it represents. Without a recruitment partner, not only are you not getting all the other benefits they bring, you could well be missing out on key staff because of misperception on the candidate’s part.


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