Negotiating in the time of Covid-19

The Great Confinement or “Social Distancing” has put the world in an emotional and economic crisis, which the world has not seen in years. The ravages are exceedingly difficult to calculate, let alone overcome. However, as difficult as it is, we must not forget that it is still a crisis, and like every crisis, there is opportunities and new things to learn.

I have over 11 years of experience in Head Hunting. Years that I have spent mostly developing business in an industry that, like the vast majority, grows every day, but the peculiarity of this one being it does not require for a specific professional career (let alone the degree), anyone can compete and such acceptance makes the competition stronger and harder to anticipate.

The Covid-19 has directly affected the Head-Hunting Industry. Companies not only stopped hiring, they laid off a large part of their workforce. In the United States alone, Covid-19 has left more than 41 million people unemployed and several industries on the verge of bankruptcy. This could indicate that we are going to have a lot of work (the Head Hunting firms) when things get better; however, as in every crisis, which is always a land of opportunity, a series of self-analysis questions come to mind: Why should companies trust me? What makes my service better than my competitors?

Although hiring has been kept to a minimum and layoffs have skyrocketed, there are still several companies that need the service of recruitment firms and external consultants to fill urgent vacancies, so the specific question we must ask ourselves, today and always is how can I best meet the needs of my client? The cost-benefit ratio is a key factor in deciding which supplier to work with for many organizations, given the current global situation, this factor has become more important. For this reason, many of my competitors, regardless of their size, are making a much greater emphasis in this area and are lowering their fees in order to get the business (the search).

Here, I found my differentiator and crisis lesson. Instead of reacting like my competitors and accepting to work for less money, I understood that taking care of the economic side not only means spending less, it means helping my Clients to spend and invest better, how? guaranteeing their investment. My clients do not need a cheaper supplier, they need a business partner who can extend the guarantee of the asset they are about to acquire. So, instead of lowering my fees to get the job – personally, I think this is a resource that denotes urgency more than anything else – I have increased our guarantee time up to a 50% of what my competitors offer, regardless of the position level.  

Without a doubt, these have been very difficult months, but we must never forget that every crisis is an opportunity to improve, and thanks to Covid-19, I learned that it is necessary not to do more of the same or react with fear. We must make an effort to find that differentiator that will get us through, that will make us unique, especially when it seems like nothing can be done.

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