On 23 September, it will be six months since Boris sent the UK into lockdown and the economy into freefall. Stock markets sunk to all-time lows and unemployment hit record levels. The signs point to things getting worse before they get better.
But I have always been a glass-half-full kind of guy. Over lockdown, the hashtag, #strongertogether became Client Server’s mantra. I knew we would see light at the end of the tunnel. We just needed to push through.
Watching us fight, toil and battle through the last two quarters has made me extremely proud to part of Team Client Server. Despite losing more than 70% of our business in the first seven days of lockdown, everyone at Client Server pulled together and fought for every bit of business we could muster. Each month has been a struggle to get deals across the line. But this August – against all odds – we made more revenue than we did in August 2019 with only a third of the jobs available.
It got me thinking: What have we learned in the last six months?
For one, lockdown highlighted some of our inefficiencies as a business and some of the lost opportunities from 2019. Despite us having a glut of roles to fill, I felt like we didn’t fulfil our potential as we were not as focused or as ruthless as we should have been.
Being a successful recruitment consultant in a buoyant market is easy, but being a successful recruitment consultant in a tough market is really hard. You don’t have the luxury of sending candidates out to four or five opportunities at a time, knowing they will get multiple offers. Often you’ll speak to great people and have absolutely no jobs for them, which can be incredibly frustrating.
But I’ve noticed that consultants who spend time really understanding their candidates’ needs, then matching them to one or two very specific jobs, are the ones who are having success. Spending more time with the best people and really getting to know what makes them tick is the only way you can thrive in the current market.
Getting back to our roots by being a leaner, smarter consultancy has worked wonders. It’s an inadvertent shove in the right direction and probably something we needed a while ago.
While sales aren’t booming, I feel like we are getting “match fit” for when the market turns. Consultants are honing their skills, sharpening their senses and are poised to take full advantage when things lift.
But I’m excited that we’re in a better place as a business, with a team of hungry, driven, hugely successful people, all chomping at the bit, straining to get out there and make things happen.