Recruiting during a pandemic

You’ve been inundated with articles on how to find a job, how to work from home, how to conduct a Zoom video and how to make a frothy coffee during the pandemic. But what about how to recruit during a pandemic?

While recruitment certainly isn’t back to 2019 levels, there are still businesses recruiting in Milton Keynes and across the country. Certain industries are booming, and there’s still the natural churn of people retiring, having babies and winning the lottery (we can dream!) In July to September 2020, there were 488,000 vacancies in the UK.

However, just because unemployment is at its highest level in three years, hiring talent hasn’t become any easier. If anything, it’s harder recruiting during a pandemic, and it has nothing to do with video interviews or remote onboarding.

Why is it harder to recruit this year?

In theory, when unemployment levels are higher, filling vacancies should be easier – there are more people actively seeking jobs. But the reality, especially this year, is different.


You’ve seen the news articles – receptionist job gets 1,000 applications in 24 hours, 400 people apply for evening bar work overnight. The spike in redundancies this year has created a candidate pool that’s burst at the seams and getting fuller by the day.

Businesses recruiting in Milton Keynes and other areas are experiencing a phenomenal response to vacancies, which is extremely difficult and time-consuming to manage.


People lucky enough to have a stable job are less likely to be job searching because they assume businesses aren’t hiring or they think it’s too risky changing jobs during a global pandemic.

This means that high-performing employees aren’t actively searching and, therefore, are less likely to come across your vacancies.


Last year, 28% of employees would change job for a remote position. This year, many employees received what they wished for (albeit in far less ideal circumstances), with 24% of people working exclusively from home and others working from home on a flexible schedule.

In theory, this means employees are happier and less likely to leave their role, especially if their remote working schedule fits their lifestyle or childcare commitments.

How to recruit in a pandemic

Luckily, it’s not impossible to recruit during a pandemic. In our recruitment consultancy in Milton Keynes, we’ve helped companies successfully hire new employees throughout 2020, and six factors are key to success:

1. Tell people you’re hiring

With the natural assumption that businesses aren’t hiring right now, you need to shout about your vacancies. This includes advertising them on relevant job boards, and promoting them on your website, social media accounts and LinkedIn profile.

2. Target passive candidates

Thirty per cent of employees are open to a new job, despite not actively searching. The passive candidate pool is a goldmine for talent, especially during the pandemic. A passive candidate search also avoids an influx of applications from non-suitable candidates. Use traditional outreach methods (such as employee referrals) and work with a local recruitment agency to target their passive candidate books.

3. Use an executive search for senior positions

If you’re recruiting for a senior position, use an executive search service to identify, assess and target outstanding candidates. You can read more about when to use executive search in our recent blog: Executive search vs contingent recruitment.

4. Don’t neglect diversity

There’s a risk that diversity and inclusion will take a backseat as businesses grapple with recruiting during a pandemic. This mustn’t happen. Our relationship director, Jason Sinclair, has been speaking with companies about how they can pipeline talent during 2020 while ensuring there are no barriers to attracting diverse candidates. Read more in our guide to BAME recruitment and job advertisements.

5. Use basic screening questions

Basic screening questions at the beginning of your application process reduce the number of unqualified candidates applying for your vacancies. However, be careful with the questions you ask. As mentioned, it’s crucial to foster diversity, and your best candidate could be someone who isn’t strictly qualified.

6. Work with a recruitment consultant

If the thought of thousands of applications or no applications is keeping you awake at night, a recruitment consultant can help. At Profile Resourcing, we’re helping businesses recruit in Milton Keynes and beyond, during one of the most challenging times. From handling the advertising and sifting through to conducting an entire passive candidate or executive search – you select the services you want and a price you’ll love.

To find out more, get in touch.

About Profile Resourcing

Profile Resourcing is a Milton Keynes recruitment agency, working with local and national businesses to recruit the best talent in one of the most trying times.

Our pick ‘n mix selection of recruitment packages enables you to build the recruitment service you want to find the talent you need.

Get in touch

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