Risks behind recruiting during covid-19
Risks behind recruiting during covid-19

The risks behind recruiting during Covid-19

Chris Addison

As we entered 2020 the manufacturing industry was experiencing a marketplace with limited candidates and a widening skills gap. Our experts saw overwhelming evidence that most companies’ reaction was to increase salaries as their main tactic to incentivise people to stay or to attract new talent (data from ATA Recruitment’s 2019 Annual Engineering Salary Report).

Covid-19 arrived and changed the landscape dramatically with the supply and demand of vacancies and candidates reversing. Suddenly as recruiters, we saw advert responses increase - for one of our maintenance engineer vacancies alone we received over 300 applications!

Some employers saw an opportunity to tap into the increased candidate availability by advertising and hiring themselves. Although this may reduce recruitment spend in the short term, there are many potential risks of recruiting in the current climate. Chris Addison, ATA Director shares some key factors to think about when recruiting to help you reduce the risks:

Selecting unsuitable candidates

With some candidates out of work due to Covid-19, or seriously worried about their job security, many people may be accepting roles just because they need a job, not because they want it. When interviewing a candidate ask yourself, is the candidate:

  • Overqualified?

  • Used to earning a higher salary than you can offer?

  • Used to a role that requires less travel or a shorter commute?

  • Used to working the shift pattern/working hours you are offering?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then the chances are these candidates will either continue to look for a job once they’ve joined. Or they will be back on the job market as soon as they feel it is safe to do so.

Why would they say no?

Don’t just assume that in the current market a candidate will just accept your offer. Good candidates still have multiple opportunities available to them. Candidates who are in work are understandably nervous about changing roles - is the risk too great? Are they more susceptible to counteroffer than ever before?

Make sure you take the time to assess and get to know the candidate. Do this well and the candidate will always accept. If not, you may find yourself having to fill the role twice.

Can you spare the time?

With so many applicants available how long is it taking to sift through all the CV’s? Are you able to reach out to all suitable candidates? Do you have the resource to speak to all relevant applicants? How do you ensure you interview the best person and not just the best CV? You may be missing out on good candidates if you’re not getting to them quickly or thoroughly enough.

Think about the future

With so many candidates to respond to are you taking the time to acknowledge and respond to all applicants about whether they are successful or not? Just because you feel spoiled for choice now, in 6 to 12 months candidates who you may not want to meet could be suitable for other roles. Make sure every candidate has a good experience or you could end up damaging your company's brand.

When recruiting, the objective is always to find the right candidate in the most time-efficient and cost-effective way. However, recruitment always comes with its challenges, even for those who do it as their day jobs.

So, think about the risks, is it better to do it yourself or will it be easier to delegate to someone else? There’s never a right or wrong answer, but our advice is to think through all the options before you begin the process. Try to choose the one that will give the best long-term results.

ATA Recruitment is here to support you

Here at ATA Recruitment we can help eliminate the risks associated with recruitment by managing the whole process for you, or even part of it depending on your requirements. Our latest video interviewing platform, ATA Connect, is designed specifically for the screening and interview process to keep your pipeline of talent moving.


We have been supporting the manufacturing and engineering industry for decades. Our experts have access to a wide pool of candidates, ensuring your business gets the right person, at the right time and cost, and more importantly, for the right reasons.

If you would like to have a chat about your current recruitment process or if you want to understand the potential risks involved, get in touch with our team of experts.