April 22, 2020

Looking for staff in the new normal

Some thoughts from the team at JacksonStone & Partners on recruiting in a fast-changing job market.

With the economy heading into unchartered waters, New Zealand businesses and workers are having to move quickly to adapt.

The way forward for each organisation and individual will be different as we all respond to tougher economic times. That’s become clear as our staff have been talking to people in a wide variety of organisations over the past few weeks.

We are also seeing from our calls some early, tentative signs that as organisations have adjusted to the lockdown some are now starting to look at their recruitment needs. A common question we have been asked is whether now is a good time to be looking for people?

The answer is yes but that it’s a different market now from what it was even a few weeks ago as we all cope with unprecedented change and volatility.

Candidate numbers
In terms of candidate numbers, there are a number of dynamics at play in the market. In the contracting space there is a good number of candidates available. This is a combination of organisations putting contracting roles on hold while they deal with the immediate lockdown issues and organisations’ inability to induct new contractors.

For permanent positions, some recent data suggests the pool of candidates actively looking for new roles in some sectors fell in March. This may reflect people deciding to stay put in uncertain times, or assuming there are no jobs out there, or needing time to adjust their home life to cope with lockdown. We will be watching to see if this trend continues as alert levels inevitably step down.

In other sectors, such as communications, we are seeing a slightly different scenario playing out. In the past few years we have been operating in a candidate-short market but there are signs this may be changing. Some candidates have taken the past few weeks as an opportunity to consider their future employment, others have been made redundant or have had their contracts terminated or put on hold.

In a number of fields, such as in finance and in the commercial sector, we are aware of a number of candidates who have returned from overseas, and who offer a wide range of skills and international experience.

Reaching candidates
In this rapidly changing market, using proven channels that specifically target passive candidates, and making direct approaches to potential candidates is going to be highly effective. We have digital banner advertisements on the Stuff website to promote roles. As well, searching out potential candidates is an area, because of our extensive networks and databases, where we are particularly able to help businesses and organisations.

With people working from home, we are finding it’s easier to connect with high quality candidates. With the fewer distractions during lockdown, many people who might otherwise have been engaged or difficult to access, are able to take calls and check emails.

Business continuity
Throughout lockdown we have been able to complete virtually all aspects of recruitment – searching, long-listing, interviewing, short-listing, panel interviewing, and background checking – without disruption. The only exception has been where clients want to meet with preferred candidates face-to-face.

The one thing we are certain of at the moment, is that the situation will change quickly. So, if your business or organisation is one of those that is considering recruiting or needs to recruit, we can provide you with an update on the market to help guide your decision making.

Written by Lindsay Jackson

A founding director of JacksonStone & Partners, Lindsay specialises in the recruitment of general management and senior positions across the public, private and NGO sectors, as well as governance positions. She also project-manages change recruitment processes and the establishment of new organisations. Along with change and general management, her expertise includes the coordination of JacksonStone’s recruitment teams and ensuring that clients benefit from a single point of contact with the company.

Having managed a large number of change projects, along with countless executive placements, Lindsay is a leader in the industry and is often asked to undertake public speaking engagements on employment trends.

With three decades’ experience in the recruitment industry, Lindsay is a seasoned problem-solver with a solid understanding of processes. She is respected for her ability to reduce risks for clients and keep large projects focused, with effective handling of multiple candidate applications, and is quick to respond to any project queries arising. Having Lindsay project-manage a transformation/change assignment adds significant value to the process, and her input is instrumental in ensuring the recruitment team delivers an excellence experience to clients and candidates alike.

Areas of specialisation: General management
Years in the industry: 30

P: +64 4 550 8007

M: +64 21 517 084

E: lindsay.jackson@jacksonstone.co.nz