Recruiting and COVID-19: A Roadmap for Uncertain Times

The challenges facing the recruiting industry during the COVID-19 pandemic are complicated (an understatement). Accordingly, we have divided the subject into two companion pieces (you can read the first part here).

This article focuses on domestic staff recruiting post-COVID-19, which will not approximate anything like turning a light switch from on to off.

If we are going to use a lighting metaphor to describe how the domestic staff recruiting industry recovers from the pandemic, I suggest that a dimmer switch is much more fitting.

Previously, we focused on recruiting during a pandemic. This second article attempts to crystal ball gaze and hypothesize on what might be expected after the pandemic.

Much of what happens tomorrow depends on how long this pandemic goes on. How quickly will economies open? Different nations and jurisdictions will open at different rates than others.

That too will have an impact on the recruiting industry. We just do not know what kind of impact. I will set aside all of the questions surrounding science, COVID-19, second waves, etc., although they are critically important.

I will also venture to suggest that the pandemic will have a lingering psychological impact on the market. Individuals will react differently to their experiences enduring the virus and social distancing. Ask yourself…

Just how quickly will employers invite permanent workers into their homes? It will vary from household to household and that will have an impact on the private service staff recruiting industry’s recovery.

It is a good question. Private service staff recruiters should be asking because an answer should be ready when that phone begins to ring again… And that phone will ring.

In spite of the above qualifiers, there will be pent-up need once the new-normal materializes. Unlike 2008 when the financial markets crashed, COVID-19 will likely not having a lasting impact on financial markets.

There is liquidity in the market that can meet demand for goods and labour. That’s good news in what has been a bad news story. However, it would be a mistake to ignore those niggling uncertainties in the marketplace. They are there.

I generally do not like to prognosticate, however, I am going to indulge in some guess work. The private service recruiting industry is going to change. That is a given.

Here are a few predictions on what form change might take:

  • We are going to see an increase in virtual interviewing and virtual candidate presentation. Old-school recruiters are either going to adapt or fade away.
  • Recruiters, like all businesses, will need to develop Risk Management plans that include Crisis Management as a component piece. I have yet to encounter a single private service recruiter who has taken the time to develop a formal Risk Management plan. Perhaps they are out there and good for them if they are.
  • Better training of private service recruiters. Too few know too little about luxury homes and what goes into their safe maintenance and operation. Too few know how to qualify candidates to work in such environments. What will be the tolerance threshold of Clients and Candidates for such poorly informed “recruiters”? What will be the tolerance level of Clients for the poor recruiting practices of the past?
  • Best practices for sanitization and hygiene management are going to need to be built in to interview methodologies in a much more comprehensive way and recruiters are going to need educate themselves and be fully transparent with Clients about Candidate interview  results. We now know that too much is at stake to fudge poor responses to important questions. I hope Clients and Candidates are also listening.
  • There is going to be an increased demand for training in these areas as well. In that, there is a business opportunity for the savvy recruiter. In the business world, there is a concept known as “Blue Ocean Strategy.” Those businesses that practice it are constantly looking at opportunities and pathways to differentiate themselves from the herd via new products, services and offerings. The post-COVID environment will help such businesses thrive.
  • The above point, brings me to the bottomline matter of TRUST . COVID-19 has rattled trust with all sorts of entities. Right or wrong, recruiters will be included in that list. Recruiters are going to need to rebuild trust with candidates and employers. That might not sound fair, but it is a reality. The best way to rebuild trust is through a commitment to thorough and ongoing professionalism and the standard is different in a post-COVID world. Post-COVID professionalism requires an elevation in standards. I have already touched on a few areas in which that can be accomplished.

This poses an existential threat to the industry itself. Will private service staff recruiters survive or will they need to carve out a smaller niche of an already small marketplace niche?

I am not speaking of entities that already exist, but of much more streamlined, technically sophisticated, qualified, exclusive and vetted sites. The entities I have in mind do not currently exist. Previous to COVID-19, there was an implicit demand for such sites and my sense is that the pandemic has wetted that appetite. Time will tell.

Finally, running domestic staff recruiting firms on shoestring budgets with no rainy-day funds will become a thing of the past. Too many have operated payroll to payroll and placement to placement. Strategic business planning will need to become much more sophisticated with:

  • Funnel forecasting
  • Proper business plans for startups
  • Efforts at PESTEL analysis leading to SWOT analysis
  • Ongoing marketing strategies as opposed to the start-stop-start model followed by too many small businesses
  • Risk management models
  • GAP Planning
  • Blue Ocean Strategy development that seeks to create new marketplaces, etc.

Perhaps some will continue to follow past practices. My guess is that many of them will have already been sieved through the marketplace by the pandemic’s end. Creative thinking is a friend of business. It always has been and crunch times prove the point over and over again.

So, “A Change is Gonna Come.” Don’t fear it. Embrace it. Make it yours. Seek opportunity within it. These are horrid times, but we cannot throw our arms into the air. That’s not what we do.

Written by Scott Munden, who is the CEO of Portico Inc

About Estate & Manor

Estate & Manor is an online magazine portal which is dedicated to global VIP staffing. Estate & Manor offers readers a glorious insight into the world of working with affluent individuals – All of our contributors are known for their expertise and knowledge in their given industry niche. These areas consist of: Estate Management, Lifestyle Management, Yacht and Jet Crew, Childcare and Education plus many more.

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