I’ve been a Recruiter all my life. One of my personal mantra as a Recruiter is that we should “Always be Recruiting”. “Why” – you may ask? This is because we work in a tight talent market, so if you only start interviewing when someone resigns unexpectedly in your organisation, you are way too late. I advocate the same to all my clients.

Then…. A pandemic hit and all hiring activities slow to a crawl. I do understand many companies are in tough situations and some have even gone belly up. But for companies which are still relatively unscathed – why has hiring taken a pause? Many companies I know are already preparing for the new normal post COVID-19. What happens then? Do you then start competing with 10 other companies for the same talent whom you could have otherwise secured if only you had met them NOW?

We interviewed one of our client partners, Mr Nimesh Desai – CEO of Wunderman Thompson to gain his perspective on why they are still hiring amidst the current economic climate. Below are his responses:

a. What are the roles/positions you are current hiring? Why are these important/critical roles?

Given the current situation and unknowns we are not actively looking at hiring. However, as Wunderman Thompson is a fairly new merged unit, we look at critical areas where we can bolster our core capabilities, namely data and martech and CX. As we are an agency focus on creative, data and technology, these roles form the foundational basis of our work.

b. Why have you decided to continue with the hiring amidst the current situation?

Hiring happens on anticipated new business and possible attrition. We need to be ahead of the curve to ensure we can continue delivering to commitments.

c. What difficulties/challenges have you faced (if any) in recruiting in this climate and how have you overcome them?

With the current climate, there is a greater anxiety in leaving a known environment to an unknown where one has to rebuild their standing in the organization/team. We focus on culture. How we treat our employees, the transparency and our behaviours are important. Employees share that with others through various channels. That helps to some degree attracting talent to WT. The portfolio of clients and current talent speak for themselves when people consider joining us. In addition, we have a fairly robust marketing team in the region that actively publishes thought leadership and participate in speaking forums.

d. What advice can you give to other companies who are in a dilemma on whether to continue hiring?

Hiring is a double edge sword given the current situation. We have to have a strong structure to understand what is happening on the ground. Pre-empting potential new business and potential departures will help you better plan hiring needs. We need to find a balance on being able to deliver on current commitments but at the same time build capabilities for longer term growth. Easier said than done and it requires strong planning and a robust leadership team in place.

I guess the key message here is to continue building your talent pipeline for critical roles within your organisation so as to stay ahead of the curve, as well as pre-empt potential new business and potential departures.

So..... would you like to stay ahead of the curve in the war for talent, or risk falling behind?

Have your 2-3 cups of virtual coffee a week! It’s the talent you need… that aromatic cup of cappuccino is just a bonus.