From Responsive Change to Strategic Planning – a Recruitment Perspective

Michael Gorman

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From Responsive Change to Strategic planning – a Recruitment Perspective

2020 has been a challenging year personally and professionally for most people, not least the recruitment space where both internal and external recruitment has slowed in the face of Covid-19.

But it hasn’t just been the volume that posed challenges, but also hiring methods themselves have had to evolve. This article will take a look at the journey so far as well as the road ahead. Because while the crystal ball is still a little hazy, we’re now seeing a greater appetite for planning and creating robust hiring systems that can take us into the future.

The Road so far

We at Engage People saw a significant slow in recruitment activity from mid-March onwards. The pandemic put a pause across most recruitment activities in those early weeks. But not all of this was down to talent planning. A big part, we learned in retrospect, was a result of resource allocation focusing on solving the other HR challenges, including remote working and supporting employee needs and mental health.

Once firms got the more urgent needs under control, the dialogue in the market place shifted to asking questions like, “When will we be getting back to the office”. We witnessed a real sense of wanting to get back to ‘Business as Usual’ from both our clients and candidates. Some were more keen to return the office, some were in less of a rush, but the overriding theme was “let’s get on with things”.

The market adapted very quickly in most sectors and displayed real resiliency, once again looking towards the future. Business began planning for their futures again and recruitment activity began to increase once more.

We’re now through the autumn period, and in some markets it has been busy. Admittedly we’ve seen lower levels then January and February of this year, but there has been growth month on month since then. In the face of new challenges, innovations in the recruitment space have arisen and the question is now how we integrate these into our recruitment strategy going forward. There is still plenty that remains unclear in the market, but what has become very clear, is that there are many recruitment tools that we now have in our arsenal. They are no longer just a response to overcome a short-term challenge and have now become a source of recruitment strategic advantage.


To get the most from these innovations we must commit to building them into our long-term planning so that we can allocate the budgets, provide the training, and champion the methods to run smooth and successful processes. Some of these innovations may not be new, perhaps their use has just increased or adapted as needs required. A small snapshot of these innovations include:

Every business will take a different view on how their recruitment process evolves but what is for sure, is that what was (and still is) a great challenge, has become the catalyst for positive change in the industry that both candidates and companies (and me the recruiter….) can benefit from over the long term.