In times of crisis like these, we could forgive our clients from instinctively battening down the hatches, protecting those deals and developments underway, consolidating cash and trimming costs until this whole bloody nightmare goes away. Quite reasonably this could mean the postponement or scrapping of the planned new hires to the business.
And yet perversely we have just had a record month at Hyperion, exceeding our own ambitious targets by 40%. In the face of self-isolation and restrictions on movement, senior-level search assignments have been completed for Ola, BayWa and Electric Feel; a further fifteen searches are continuing for C-level and senior roles from across our markets in Europe and North America. Last week – in the height of lockdown – we picked up three assignments for exciting new roles from clients who want to push on with their expansion plans now. The message from our clients has been clear – keep calm and carry on.
So, what’s the logic of continuing or starting senior level executive searches now with everything else that is going on? We’ve identified three key reasons why it just makes sense:
- Cloud technology works for remote hiring.
Arguably the biggest change on business practice through the COVID crisis has been the engagement of cloud-based video platforms to keep teams connected. Zoom, Skype, GChat and other platforms allow us to adapt our processes to lockdown, enabling business to function as close to normal as possible.
At Hyperion we have championed the use of these tools for some time to enable us (and our clients) to reach out to the best candidates across our markets. One such example is Hinterview: a live two-way interview tool which allows us to meet and screen candidates online, with interviews able to be recorded and shared with clients through secure links. Perhaps most surprising is how clients have been happy to commit to remote interviews right through to the final stages. Looking into the whites of candidate’s eyes through a video platform rather than across an interview room has just become a new norm. The bottom line is that this technology works.
- The best hidden candidates are captive at home and open to contemplate their next career move.
One of the key challenges on any senior level search is tracking down and engaging with the hidden cream of the talent pool. These people are typically getting on in their current roles and are often less open to consider other opportunities. But right now, some of the brightest and best minds are exactly where you and I are sitting – riding out the pandemic from the temporary desk in the spare bedroom. Other strong candidates who were previously searching for new roles are still searching, possibly more actively and enthusiastically. Whatever their situation, prospective candidates have space and time to reflect on what they want from their careers; being inspired to look at more impactful, challenging opportunities with companies that have a strong mission to achieve success and do the right thing by the planet.
Right now we’re able to reach out, form relationships and open up about the exciting career opportunities that are open. The ability to tell the stories of our clients is an important part of what we do in engaging with candidates – especially those who didn’t know they were looking for a new role or career change. By blending our storytelling with our industry expertise, we are able to search further and faster, especially now that industry superstars are sitting at home in one place. Ironically, in lockdown the top talent that could change the game for your organization post-COVID is more accessible than ever.
- CEOs and leadership teams need to get on.
Following on from the initial pandemic firefighting to address continuity plans, lockdown restrictions and contingency financing, CEOs, boards and leadership teams are also finding time to reflect and focus on the key priorities for what lies ahead. In spite of the COVID glitch, business plans are still intact, still relevant and still there to be executed.
Having now adjusted to the circumstances of a global pandemic, business leaders are looking beyond the lockdown and want to ensure that they are in the best place possible for when normality returns. The stakes have been raised for the second half of 2020 and – having started this new decade with huge optimism and ambition – CEOs and boards are focused on realising success by bouncing back with the strongest possible second half of the year.
Those Hyperion clients who are pushing ahead with searches for new talent now contest that this is about making sure that they have the best people on board at the right time. With teams in place and bedded in by summer, these companies can push on hard when the markets come alive once more. For them, having the best talent in their corner is critically important – now perhaps more than ever.
Wherever companies are at in their planning to build their teams, we at Hyperion are ready to support. In addition to specific executive searches, we also offer expert guidance on market mapping, shaping job specifications, and providing insights on salary and package benchmarking. We will be flexible in the terms that we adopt to support our clients through this challenging period and will work at their pace on assignments to reflect the challenges of operating under lockdown. We are genuinely all in this together. We will get through this together.
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