When it comes to hiring, here’s what your competitors are doing right now…by Barden

When it comes to hiring, here’s what your competitors are doing right now…by Barden

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been out there trying to figure out what recruitment strategies and tactics different employers are using in light of the current situation. Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

Some hiring market headlines to get us started:

  • Companies not immediately adversely impacted have kept the majority of their roles open and continue to recruit, albeit employing different practices.  These include the obvious areas of healthcare/food retail/food/pharma/medical device manufacture/supply chain and IT software as well as less obvious areas such as companies exclusively supplying products and services to these industries.
  • Companies adversely impacted have put all but business-critical roles on hold.  The nature of business-critical roles differs from company to company but will often include finance, payroll and customer support functions.
  • Companies severely impacted have put all roles on hold, have deferred some start dates for new hires in April to May/June and have, in some instances, rescinded existing offers, effectively letting people go before they have started.  See our blog on some of the tricky situations we’ve seen here >>>

Some of the consequences of the above include:

  • A dramatic drop in the number of permanent roles.
  • A marginal increase in the number of contract roles (short term solutions to business-critical roles, continued hiring for maternity leave cover and some hiring for short term illness cover).
  • A number of people being left between jobs.
  • An increase in the temporary lay off or reduced working hours for Accounts Payable and similar finance staff.


Here are some of the hiring tactics we’re seeing:

  • The majority of companies are now using the following process for early-stage screening – 1st interview by phone, 2nd interview by Zoom or equivalent.
  • An increasing number of companies are moving towards a final interview by Zoom and then making a hire based entirely on a virtual recruitment process.
  • A significant number of companies are bringing their candidate of choice to a final virtual interview, making the hiring decision on the back of that meeting but deferring issuing an offer until they have the chance to meet the candidate in person in the future. TOP TIP.
  • A small number of companies, where they can deem the position is business-critical and related to the provision of an essential service, are conducting face to face meetings, observing and documenting all HSE guidelines.  These are being held in the office or in a public place observing social distancing.
  • Only a handful of companies are properly prepared for virtual on-boarding.  More on that in a future blog.


Here’s some of our observations/advice:

  • Candidates have fewer options = a temporary shift to a hiring manager driven market = more choice for hiring managers = slight downward pressure on salaries.
  • Candidates, in general, are a little more reluctant to apply for jobs in the current market; better the devil you know, loyalty to their current employer to see them through this, fear factor around health issues and an array of other factors are impacting candidate supply.  This drop in supply will impact the economics of supply and demand cited above – too early to tell how.  (It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming weeks, especially for those companies that are hiring directly, rather than through a 3rd party, in the current market.)
  • Companies employing blanket recruitment freezes will be at a competitive disadvantage in the near future v’s those that employ virtual processes to identify talent to be hired in the near future.  Companies that recognise that there is a difference between identifying a candidate of choice and making an actual offer will bounce back faster than those who do not.  (For example: Company A has 6 people fully screened and will be ready to offer those 6 people on May 1st depending on the situation at that stage.  Company B has 6 open roles and will only begin the recruitment process on May 1st.  Which one of these companies is making the smart play?)

In summary, companies that continue to pipeline talent in preparation for a post-Covid world will have a significant competitive advantage over the coming months. As restrictions are lifted there will be a flurry of recruitment activity as companies reorganise and restructure themselves for the post-Covid world. First mover advantage applies to talent as much as it does to technology. There is a big difference between identifying a candidate of choice and offering someone a job. The companies that recognise and embrace these two things will win the war for talent in Q3 and beyond.

That’s all for now. We’ll continue to be curious out there and we’ll continue to share with you our experiences and or observations and advice on how to navigate through the coming months and make sure your team comes out of this time stronger for the future. If you’ve got something you’d like us to share please drop a note to edheffernan@barden.ie.  Stay safe in the meantime.



At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to hello@barden.ie and we will take it from there. Easy.