Covid19 - What It Means For The IT & Digital Job Market

Amidst the concerns and unpredictable nature of COVID-19, Latitude IT’s highest priority is the well-being of all our employees, candidates and clients.

What a week it has been...

Amidst the concerns and unpredictable nature of COVID-19, Latitude IT’s highest priority is the well-being of all our employees, candidates and clients.

We know that everyone is facing hard times and want to help you out any way we can.

There’s a lot of questions being asked of, and in, the job market at the moment. A lot. As a recruiter and a business owner, I’m lucky in that I’m not stuck in an echo chamber. Speaking to clients, job seekers, recruiters and agency owners, you get lots of different perspectives on what the pandemic means for individuals and businesses.

Everyone could use a few more answers right now, (I know I certainly could). With this in mind I’ve jotted down a few responses to the most common questions I’ve been hearing from various people across the industry.

Job seekers

I’m actively seeking a new role. What should I expect from the market given recent events?

All job markets, not just IT and digital, are extremely volatile at the moment, and it’s important to be realistic about that. Some employers have placed a temporary freeze on hiring. Appreciate that people are distracted and may take longer than usual to respond.

That being said we are hopeful that the market will eventually stabilise. Keep looking for opportunities on LinkedIn, speaking to recruiters and keeping an ear out. Try not to get disheartened but do be realistic.

All my interview are via video calls now. Should I approach these differently?

Just like any other interview, preparation is the key to success here. Here’s our top tips for video conferencing:

  • Do a test call using the same video conferencing platform the interview will be held on a few days in advance, not an hour in advance. If you have to perform a supervised test or task, ensure you’re familiar with how to share screens
  • Laptop microphones are notoriously bad, so use a headset if you have one available
  • Position your laptop at eye level, so you’re looking directly into it. This will help you maintain eye contact, and ensure the camera isn’t pointing up your nose
  • Lighting is really important. The source of light should always be in front of you, never behind
  • Be aware of your background. Try and ensure you’re not sitting with a completely blank wall behind you, it makes the conversation seem sterile before it’s even begun
  • It’s completely normal to be nervous during a video interview. Just remember, it’s likely the hiring manager won’t have done many video interviews either

The Latitude IT team is offering 30min video sessions with potential candidates to help with tips and tricks for virtual interviews or anything else you need help/tips on. Click here to make an appointment and one of our consultants will chat with you

I’ve just accepted a role but the start date keeps getting pushed back. What can I do?

If you’ve been placed by a recruiter, talk to them about this immediately. Where possible and appropriate, they’ll be able to work with your employer to use technology driven solutions so your onboarding can happen remotely. We’ve seen a huge rise in employers using virtual office technology, such as VirBELA, for this purpose.

Employers

How are other employers in digital and technology handling the crisis?

Many employers across digital and tech are no strangers to remote working. For those that are, there are reams of collaboration tools and platforms to choose from. We’ve seen an explosion in offices communicating solely via Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams, but there’s many others out there. We’ve also seen a huge demand for contractors across infrastructure and service desks to help facilitate this change in working styles.

Everyday a new challenge seems to rise off the back of COVID-19. What do you think is next?

I think hardware could be a real issue. Not every business is equipped for remote working, and with a huge increase in the demand for laptops and other devices, we could be lining up for hardware like we’re lining up for toilet paper. We’re even seeing couriers relocating office desktop set-ups to employee’s homes. If you’re worried about your provision of devices across your employee base, I’d suggest looking into this as soon as possible before shortages become apparent.

I’m new to conducting video interviews, any tips for ensuring these go smoothly?

Video interviews are quickly becoming the norm, so it important to embrace this medium as a hiring manager. For remote interviews, it’s important to be aware of how you’re coming across. As most candidates won’t have done a video interview before, they’ll be nervous. Be empathetic to their situation and ensure they’re as comfortable as possible.

Recruiters and agency owners

How can I continue to catch-up with candidates and clients? Should I even be trying?

Definitely. Even try to schedule friendly catch-ups that don’t have a strict agenda or purpose via phone or video call. We need to remain connected where we can now more than ever. When dealing with employers, try and remain upbeat. You’d be amazed as a recruiter how spreading a negative outlook on the market can affect an employer’s confidence to hire. Sometimes this is much easier said than done.

We've noticed a slow-down in the market already, how can we ensure continuity of business with existing clients?

Be proactive in your dealings with your existing clients. Lots of our clients are being forced to upskill in areas they’re not familiar with, so it’s important to give a sense of stability as you guide them through this process.

It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate additional value on top of your primary offering. We’ve been assisting large clients in helping their employees set up home offices by organising couriers and connecting them with hardware providers.

How can we best prepare our business for a spike in open roles when hiring freezes finish?

We’re using this time to update our market mapping to best understand where the top talent is, and increasing the depth of our talent pool in areas we’re predicting will be in demand when the market bounces back. We’ve also been investing heavily in our offshore capabilities to ensure we’re ready for an influx of CV’s and open roles.

* Please note: Listen to advice from health organisations, government and credible media outlets to keep yourself and those around you as safe and healthy during this time - let's control the hysteria we hear from the media!

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