How Executive Recruiters are Getting Ahead of the Pandemic Curve

June 18, 2020 – Paul Esselman is managing director and president of Cejka Search, which has provided recruiting services exclusively to the healthcare industry for more than 35 years. Its client roster includes Georgetown University Hospital, Northwestern Memorial, Levine Cancer Institute, St. John Providence Health System, Tenet, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, Centene Corp., Cape Fear Valley Health and Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Mr. Esselman recently sat with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the impact COVID-19:

Paul, how has the pandemic changed how recruiters are working during this time?

As the COVID-19 crisis has escalated, it has required recruiters to be both more responsive to and more sensitive of the needs of clients and the obligations to candidates. At Cejka Search, our executive search teams quickly shifted gears to focus on balancing the importance of keeping the recruitment process for critical leadership roles moving forward, while helping our clients manage their calendars and communications, and fill in the gaps where client team members just don’t have the bandwidth during this challenging time.

What are the disadvantages of not getting to meet candidates in person? Are there any advantages of working virtually?

For both clients and candidates, face-to-face interviews are invaluable. Removing the opportunity to meet onsite means a diminished opportunity to interact in the context of real-life settings and circumstances, which is often where those true professional connections are made and solidified. We must, however, be responsive and adaptable in this current climate, and virtual interviewing allows us to continue to move an important recruitment process forward, at times even more quickly that we would have been able when considering travel arrangements. The key is to ensure that we are doing our job by getting ahead of the curve and providing the tools and support necessary to support a smooth and productive video interview process for all involved.

How do you see the search industry bouncing back from this?

Executive search will always be a critical function, but it will be crucial for us to learn lessons from this event, just as much as it will be for the healthcare leaders with whom we work. Our ability to provide counsel and to function in an advisory capacity could hold great value as organizations assess their response to the crisis, as well as their organizational structure in the brave new world ahead.

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