Talent Acquisition Success Factors in the Age of COVID-19

October 16, 2020 – Talent acquisition has undeniably changed as we all face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many organizations have slowed or halted their addition of talent while others have reduced their size.

“The industries we have primarily been serving in banking and insurance have been impacted significantly with only limited additional hiring for banks in risk management, security and mortgage processing,” said Steven Landberg, managing director of Claymore Partners, in a new report. “Insurers have hired for predictive analytics. Banks and Insurers have continued to hire but more slowly for digital transformation initiatives.”

“For consulting and IT services clients, we have seen a divergence of growth dependent upon specific industries served and types of practices or focus of boutique firms,” he said. “While the overall strategy, operations and IT implementation practices for larger consulting firms are experiencing a slowdown, those practices that address the healthcare, pharmaceutical, social media and technology spaces are growing especially in the digital transformation, risk management, IT security and M&A arenas.”

Based upon those trends, Claymore Partners has modified its focus to concentrate on the rapidly growing fintech, payments, health insurance and PE backed firms as well as more specialized midsized consulting organizations.

“We find that many larger organizations with internal talent acquisition teams are seeking to keep them occupied with the lower level of hiring so have reduced their use of third party executive search firms other than for very specialized executive searches,” Mr. Landberg said. As a result of this situation, Claymore Partners as well as other boutique executive search firms have further shifted their focus towards mid-sized and smaller organization with limited internal talent acquisition capabilities and where they can further focus on directly serving the business leadership team.

Related: Leading Teams Through Times of Crisis

“We have also established strategic executive search relationships with private equity firms for their portfolio companies as well as rapidly growing fintech and boutique consulting firms,” Mr. Landberg said.

 Steven Landberg is the managing director of Claymore Partners, a boutique executive search firm. He has conducted numerous diversity searches and he always seeks to provide a diverse candidate slate for his client’s consideration. He has worked throughout the U.S. as well as lived and worked in numerous overseas countries during his career. Mr. Landberg has held corporate executive positions (GE, PepsiCo, Citicorp), consulting firm partner roles (Gemini, Answerthink, Nextera), and now executive search for over 12 years. 

“Based upon Claymore Partners’ experience and those of others we continue to share experiences with, we see a number of key success factors for talent acquisition during this age of COVID-19 and for the foreseeable future,” said Mr. Landberg. Those factors include:

  • Leveraging your experience and expertise into closely related industries experiencing growth vs. pursuing new spaces that are not in your core competence.
  • Building solid relationships with both business and HR leaders to become a trusted advisor by providing value beyond just conducting a search and invest in getting to know their organization and culture as a trusted advisor.
  • Being active in your targeted specializations to learn and provide insights and information that add value to your clients as a third party search firm as well as internal recruiter.
  • Investing in top candidate relationships beyond current searches to become their trusted search firm when new opportunities arise and for referrals.
  • Providing interim as well as permanent placement search services with the continued growth in temporary and contract assignments.
  • Maintaining communications without being a nuisance with timely information and perspectives.
  • Using video conferencing selectively to help build connectivity during the search process with both clients and candidates.
  • Evaluating the value of where you are spending your operating expenses to those that add the most value including training, applications and technology.

“There are no magic bullets for success but consistent focus on building and maintaining relationships, gaining and sharing insights and perspectives, concentrating on the growth segments in or closely related to your experience and expertise, and keeping a positive attitude and energy,” Mr. Landberg said. “There will be resurgence in executive hiring when the virus has been further dealt with and the economy reverts back to a solid growth trajectory.”

“Therefore, finding ways to refocus your efforts in the interim and maintain your core strength for the rebound will allow for significant future performance upswing,” he said. “The key to ongoing success is ongoing strategy modification and operating model evolution.”

Related: The COVID-19 Impact on Executive Search

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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