Boyden Executive Search

Hiring Adaptations as Executive Talent Needs Arise

By Ian Collyer, Sébastien Zuchowski

The global COVID19 pandemic has placed organizations and employees in unprecedented circumstances. Through our client conversations over the past few weeks, we see how differently the crisis has impacted the state of business. The spectrum is vast. While many sectors have been deeply negatively impacted, resulting in layoffs and the end to any hiring for the time being, some are unexpectedly booming – in many respects as a result of the drastic and swift changes we have made to our lives and business operations - and have important new leadership needs. The situation does highlight the fundamental necessity of having the right talent, in the right place, at the right time. But what does recruitment look like in the current state of crisis?

As we have worked with our clients on executive recruitment projects within our new social distancing and remote work environments, our approach has taken key several forms. These four core recruitment strategies align with our new reality and ones we will continue to adapt in response to the evolving COVID19 crisis:

  1. Emphasis on Talent Mapping: Moving from full search process to strategic talent ID/mapping of potential candidates for known future needs. The goal being for organizations to have a real-time appreciation for talent availability aligned with their needs and a shorter recruitment process once they are seeing a more normal return to business on the horizon.
  2. Virtual Experience: Keeping the cadence of current search processes by moving the entire search process to a video-based process using video meetings, interviews and virtual onboarding.  At Boyden, we have created best practice guidelines for one-on-one and group committee interviews, and recommendations for ‘virtually’ onboarding new leadership hires.
  3. Timeline Adjustments: In instances where in-person meetings will be critical to the interview, assessment and recruitment process, and recognizing that several factors may delay meeting and speaking with candidates (such as travel restrictions), the recruitment approach has been to initiate conversations and establish preliminary relationships with prospective candidates, with search timelines adjusted. This helps organizations to maintain the momentum and market presence for key leadership roles.
  4. Proactively Addressing Changing Business Models: The crisis is pointing towards certain lasting impacts to operations and business models.  The evolution of certain functions and the realization of permanent disruption has many organizations analyzing the short-, mid- and long-terms impacts on their business. We are working closely with clients to discuss these evolutions and identify their leadership needs to address these transformations, positioning them to proactively prepare for the post-COVID environment.

While there are many unknowns to the partial and full duration of the COVID19 pandemic and resulting micro and macroeconomic outcomes, some things we do know: having a mindset that is adaptable, empathetic and grounded in the knowledge that we will eventually emerge from this crisis is important. We also know that emphasis on having the right talent in place will be critical.

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