The Role of Recruiters During a Crisis

By Justin Wilkins on April 3, 2020

“A new normal.”

This is a concept that arises whenever people face significant challenges. Whether it’s a global pandemic like COVID-19 or an economic crisis like a recession, a stressful event can have many adverse effects on those impacted.

At the same time, those same stressful events also present opportunities for individuals, companies, and societies to rise to the occasion and support each other in new ways. Everyone has a part to play in creating “a new normal” during and after a crisis, including recruiters. Here are seven main ways that recruiters can step up and support their industries during challenging times:

  1. Listen, understand, and support. Rather than charging immediately at a problem with ideas and solutions, recruiters should first pause and listen. Touch base with clients, not to offer input but simply to see how they’re doing and to understand specifically what they’re going through. When they make requests or reveal specific pain points, then it is appropriate to start offering tangible assistance. Be a source of support, both practically and emotionally.
  2. Be valuable, not distracting. Recruiters must understand that in high-stress situations, leaders are generally focused on mission-critical projects that will keep their businesses operating as smoothly as possible during turbulent times. Focus on assisting with high-priority issues, and refrain from bringing up non-essential business until things return to normal.
  3. Be a partner, not a vendor. A crisis situation is the perfect time for recruiters to prove what so many claim: that they are a true partner to their clients and candidates. Find ways to meet clients’ needs, even if that means stepping outside traditional recruitment responsibilities. One example might be gathering helpful industry data to keep clients informed about the state of the market and the projected short- and long-term effects of the crisis. In addition, recruiters should continue working with candidates even in a hiring slump or freeze to ensure that when the market stabilizes, the candidates’ resumes are in great shape and their interview skills are sharp.
  4. Focus on relationships, not transactions. Recruiting is, at its heart, all about building relationships. Whether it’s by making a phone call to check on the well-being of a candidate and their family, asking what a client needs and working hard to make it happen no matter the challenges, or simply offering a listening ear to an industry pro who needs to voice their fears or frustrations, recruiters have a chance to stand out by putting their relationships ahead of their desire for a sale.
  5. Work with a servant’s heart. During a stressful time, it is more important than ever that recruiters are dedicated to serving their industries. Being available at all times, keeping in regular contact with both clients and candidates, and working hard to provide support however they can are just a few of the ways that recruiters can demonstrate their commitment to their industries and all the people they work with.
  6. Be resourceful, diligent, and kind. Often, crises present the world with unprecedented challenges that require out-of-the-box thinking to overcome. When traditional approaches to recruitment, hiring, and general business practices aren’t the answer, recruiters must be creative, work hard, and always put the needs of others first to successfully navigate a complex and ever-changing working landscape.
  7. Remain positive. Above all, it is critical for recruiters to be a source of positivity during an otherwise dark time. Businesses and employees alike might be panicking about the state of things, and the best thing a recruiter can do is help them remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and there are things to be grateful for even in the midst of a struggle.

No one knows what the end result of a crisis might be - what the “new normal” might look like, or how long it might take to come around. But by focusing on relationships, taking things one step at a time, and staying positive no matter what happens, recruiters can ensure that they continue to provide value long after the storm has passed.

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Justin Wilkins

Justin Wilkins

Vice President

Justin began his career with Kimmel & Associates in 2008, first serving as an Associate and then as Market Leader. In 2018, he was promoted to Vice President, overseeing the Industrial & Energy Division for Kimmel & Associates.

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