Returning to work to “the new normal”… a few recruiter furlough tips to help!

June 14, 2020

Posted by Home (ENG)

Returning to work to “the new normal”… a few recruiter furlough tips to help!

By Lauren Howard

Firstly let me start with saying “Hi!” the silence on my LinkedIn has been due to a busy/eventful maternity leave which is now drawing to a close , so yes you could say I’m back but not quite yet…

Secondly I know the phrase “the new normal” makes me eye-roll too, but I couldn’t quite think of a phrase that articulates it as well.

This time has allowed me to reflect like many and I’ve had quite a few recruitment contacts reach out to me for a chat which has been lovely, aside from the obvious Covid 19 chat they’re pretty much along the same lines of “what do I do now I’m furloughed?!”. With over 55% of recruitment consultants in the UK being placed on the furlough scheme as of April 2020 they are not alone in this thought. (Source - Rec International).

The pandemic has had a sweeping mass effect on all industries in different ways from unfortunate redundancies, reduced hours, implemented systems of social distancing - a lot has changed and continues to. Whilst lots of recruiters are still at it working in their markets, others have been placed on the government furlough scheme – it all seemed quite sudden didn’t it? To be thrust from a busy recruitment desk in which let’s be honest it’s constant (do we ever switch off?), to having all of this time is a shock to most - let alone a recruiter that probably feels on edge leaving their desk for a 2 week jolly in the sun!

This allowed me to think of what my colleagues have been doing within this time to help get them ready for the return and as the old saying goes “adapt and overcome!”.

Let’s talk networking -

Of course not in real life, how dare I suggest such a thing with social distancing! I’m talking taking it virtual - some events have gone online, so get involved! Furlough may be different and I’m not giving the pretence that you have to do something daily to be productive, if not at work does it mean you have to be shut off from your network? – I think not. Keep in touch with your clients and candidates and even competitors to see what recent developments are occurring in your market.

Step up your market knowledge.

ENG are big fans of professional intelligence, so much so that some of my colleagues whilst furloughed have taken it upon themselves to gain industry qualifications to really understand their recruitment niche. (A massive well done to Sophia & Aisling, utilising their time to gain a qualification in their safety market!). This got me thinking, this is a fantastic opportunity to invest in your own learning with online courses/coaching to keep your mind and knowledge tip top.

Getting your social media presence/ work admin in line.

Yes I’m guilty of this, always too busy to do things that may not be my top priority or preference. Would I much rather be meeting recruiters for a coffee chat than sorting out my LinkedIn Recruiter folders / blogging etc? Well yes, but what better time to do things than now, this can help you get organised for when you’re back to work ready to go! This is also a time to reflect and plan, we’re in unprecedented times but it doesn’t harm to set yourself goals and have a think on how you will approach your market on your return.

Keep up your recruitment office culture.

We may not be together in the office at present but team wellbeing is still as important, both remote working and furloughed teams in ENG have been taking part in weekly challenges ranging from MasterChef style challenges to lead generation tasks. It may not be Friday evening drinks to celebrate a good week however team quizzes and zoom/team calls have come in handy for this!

Lastly take time for yourself and your own wellbeing.

Recruiters are a busy bunch, this is an extreme circumstance in which you can’t do anything to change, so take it in your stride and take advantage of the time and do the things you enjoy - whether that is a bit of yoga or catching up on your favourite series (I’m personally on season 6 of Game of Thrones – how am I so late to the party!?).

We won’t have this time again, it’s great to still feel connected in such an odd circumstance. I’m sure by the time the furlough scheme has finished and we’re back in the swing of things we will be top networkers and be experts on zoom/Microsoft team. There will be positive outcomes from this time, a different angle to view your recruitment desk (maybe diversifying your niche slightly for example), collaborating with technology, feeling organised and refreshed and ready to go! The world in recruitment may look a little different, dare I say it “the new normal”. We will most likely be arranging a lot more telephone/video interviews, onboarding will be adapted and the volume of recruitment may change with the economic landscape but by taking steps in furlough time your recruitment desk doesn’t have to completely stop without you actually recruiting!

Happy to chat with any of my recruitment contacts – it will also be interesting to see if you guys have taken a different approach to the above or have other furlough tips!