Hiring In Uncertain Times

Hiring in Uncertain Times

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Hiring in Uncertain Times

​During times of uncertainty, it can be hard to distinguish which channels are most effective to help you fine-tune your recruitment strategy. Take a look through some of our hints, tips and advice on hiring during uncertain times.


“Make the right decisions quickly” - I’ve heard people say this in business often enough, and as someone fairly risk adverse it goes against my natural instincts but in uncertain times it pays to go with your gut. If you’ve gone through interview stages and you know someone is right for a role or a team make the decision or they will be gone. Very cliché but it’s true.

A 2019 study by McKinsey found that “Managers at a typical Fortune 500 company may waste more than 500,000 days a year on ineffective decision making.” Decisiveness (and thus speed) has always been important in hiring, it provides certainty for the candidate and it demonstrates you as a motivated employer; that’s a good set of traits to show at times like these, and more important than ever. You can’t just rely on having a good brand (or even the best role) during uncertain times it’s about making the right decisions quickly to inspire confidence. It may feel that everything has been paused for now but pausing is always temporary and it doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels.


Move quickly once you’ve met people but be strategic from the outset to avoid making rash decisions you’ll later regret. If you need to take some time to set up a plan of action, to pivot your hiring or amend the business plan then now is the time. Do it before you start the hiring process. Ask yourself; What is business critical now? What will be business critical in the next month, 6 months and 12 months? Have you had to let people go but need to rebuild with a different model?

The climate is changing rapidly but if you have a solid plan you will still get relevant people into the business. Now could be the right time to hire contractors that could then go permanent. This may dictate choosing certain contractors over others; Are you hiring people that would consider permanent roles? Do they have a track record (references) of adding value?

Long term planning during uncertain times can seem a mammoth, or counter-intuitive task, but it can also be a time to re-jig projects and plans in order to create an enhanced strategy.


As someone who specialises in Interim solutions within Accountancy and Finance it may seem like I’m pushing an agenda to advise the use of contractors during uncertain times, but I do genuinely believe this. I know how many great contractors who are extremely agile, adaptable and flexible at working in businesses during difficult times. They come equipped with a robustness from dealing with (and mending) situations that are far from perfect and often in a time of need which means they can add some real value to companies right now. A study by LinkedIn (2017) alongside Adecco Group found that “flexible employment [also] opens the door to hire more senior professionals”.

Furthermore, when times are uncertain it’s hard to promise longevity and certainty to new permanent hires. Along with the fact that less candidates in permanent roles will want to move. Contractors are perfect to keep everything moving during the short-term and when you don’t quite know what you’ll need out the back end of COVID-19. 

With IR35 being delayed by 12 months, it allows medium sized businesses to have one less thing to worry about when hiring contractors. This is unlikely to be the case in large businesses who have decided to no longer take on LTD company contractors as the logistics of reversing their blanket decisions will take up too much time and resource. However, for those that haven’t done this it is a great time to utilise good contractors. Now is the time to tap into a market of contractors who would otherwise be extending or moving directly into new assignments. I’ve spoken with dozens of extremely strong candidates who have been cut loose from their projects due to COVID-19 and would usually be very difficult to snap up, but they are available and keen to get into new positions.

The right contractors add real value and help push businesses and projects through difficult times, whilst also allowing flexibility for managers who can’t commit to long-term hires right now.


If you’re a hiring manager, whether you’re experienced in this or not, it’s always good to ask for advice from colleagues and peers in the industry, the HR or internal talent team, and of course recruitment consultants. It’s vital to get an idea of what your competition as well as other relevant businesses are doing, and their strategic hiring plans.


During uncertain times employees will be feeling stressed and stretched, hiring freezes can be unsettling. The need to hire is led by growth or replacement. If you are not replacing staff that have left, then you are automatically putting strain on the remaining team. I appreciate that many businesses will be under various pressures, but the best way through this period is to be open and honest with your team. A recent article from Bain (2020) suggests to engage with people in the right way during COVID-19 you must adhere to the following:

1)   Keep communication under 30 minutes at a time

2)   Relay messages via trusted/well known managers

3)   Expect resistance and be understanding

Keep communicating as there can be nothing more debilitating to a business than negative speculation within the team and more motivation than ever is needed right now.

Reach out to our career experts for more information, or if you just want a friendly chat with our Accounting and Finance specialist Perrin Joel to discuss the financial landscape contact:

Perrin.joel@broadgatesearch.com or visit our website on www.broadgatesearch.com to find out more.