The Current Candidate Dilemma: Should I stay or should I go?

02 Apr 2020

The Current Candidate Dilemma: Should I stay or should I go?

You remember the popular rock band The Clash? Well, now in times of COVID-19, we are talking about another kind of clash.

This time not only our businesses are at stake but also our health, which gives the clash an even more serious impact. Public but also economic life in many countries in Europe has come to an almost complete standstill.

But during this standstill, there seems to be a lot of movement on the labour market.

Odgers Berndtson consultants stay in daily contact with clients and candidates, in order to keep track of what happens in the talent space.

At the moment highly qualified people flock into the market not quite sure about their possibilities and uncertain about their future, especially if they are e. g. self-employed.

Companies seeking to hire new talent are torn between urgently needing this talent on the one hand and the uncertainty on the other hand if they can still afford this new talent. In times of cash flow optimisation, there is no room for additional personnel cost. As it is widely unknown how long the crisis might last, it is also unclear for leaders how tightly they have to watch their cash flow.

Candidates finally do want to make a move into a new position and make a career step. But being – according to the last-in-first-out principle – the first line of the lay-off list is not the most desirable place to be. So staying is not satisfactory, but going seems also very risky. Additionally, leaving your team behind may not feel like the right thing to do.

What to do?

"For a job reorientation, we see a strong trend towards initiative applications. We are currently in an exceptional situation, which offers us incredible new opportunities" says Sascha Hackstein of Berndtson Interim. There is a very clear trend emerging: Interim Executives and freelance consultants are interested in becoming part of larger networks like Berndtson Interim or to intensify an already existing collaboration.

We are currently continuing the thorough investigation of our potential partners.

"Furthermore, we are developing solutions in collaboration with Interim Executives that will help our customers to master the upcoming challenges of the crisis." adds Hackstein.

On the demand side, we see that companies categorize their open roles into critical vs. non-critical. "Is this role really needed? Or does this role add substantial value to our recovery and foreseeable future growth? These are some of the questions that companies use to categorize their roles. Critical hires continue, non-critical projects are put on hold." explains Markus Trost.

For projects that continue, a full suite of hiring tools is in place to ensure a smooth evaluation and hiring process.

But what can companies do to ensure that the urgently needed talent really signs up? "There is no replacement for trust between the parties. Building this trust and a good communication standard is part of a good hiring process!" states Ewald Manz. If this trust is not enough to enable both parties to work together, companies may opt for additional measures. These could include building the right packages to provide peace of mind for new recruitments, including signing bonuses and severance packages. For candidates struggling to leave their teams behind, companies can opt to postpone the starting date. Parties are then still signing contracts so that they can begin the onboarding process but are putting off official start dates so that they can continue providing support to their old team until a suitable replacement is found. Provision are being made in case a lay-off could take place.

"Openly addressing the risks involved when changing jobs right now and seeking to mitigate them jointly is more important than ever," closes Markus Trost. "We are still delivering mandates successfully in this way, and I personally believe that this builds an even better fundament of trust and appreciation that enable companies to recover faster with their new employees."