LOCKDOWN TO LATCHDOWN
What is it like to start a new temporary job during lockdown?
In the last of our four articles on how the recruitment market has fared during lockdown, we are looking at the experiences of our interim candidates in starting new jobs during lockdown.
Interims are arguably better equipped than their permanent counterparts to adapt to the changes of starting new positions during lockdown – they are used to shorter recruitment processes (often without face-to-face engagement), briefer inductions and an expectation to hit the ground running.
Some of our interim candidates have been a godsend to their employers during lockdown – Showing resilience, commitment and using technical skills that have kept many wheels turning;
We worked with Kristin Morton to help her secure a permanent job that started this week. We also helped introduced her to another client for a short-term assignment during lockdown while her start date was on hold:
Having successfully navigated (with great support from Pratap Partnership) a traditional recruitment process with face to face interviews, I was in the fortunate position of having a verbal job offer but no formal paperwork as the country went into lock-down in March. So close but yet potentially so far away. For obvious reasons everything went on hold and I felt a bit exposed as the job market seemed to have fallen off a cliff overnight with everyone now focusing on furloughing existing staff not taking on new ones.
However, through open, honest and regular communication between all parties (myself, the recruiting manager and Pratap Partnership) I was quickly reassured that the overall commitment and plans had not changed and it gave me the necessary confidence to trust it was only a matter of timing and I reaffirmed my commitment in return. I joined the company on Monday 8 June and feel really excited about this next chapter of my career. I will be their first new recruit to go through the induction process fully “online”. It feels a little strange and will no doubt require a slightly different approach to building new relationships with colleagues who I will not meet in person for some time yet.
I have also been fortunate enough to have landed a very short-term piece of interim work through the Pratap Partnership, providing support around year end audit and accounts preparation. This has been carried out fully via Teams and email and it has worked remarkably well. For me it has also been a good test of and insight into what is to come in terms of new ways of working.
I firmly believe that if you approach things with professionalism and an open mindset, go that extra mile and invest early on in building trust and key relationships then opportunities will always present themselves and the future will be exciting.
We worked with Salina Turner to help her secure a new interim role in April:
This has been one of the weirdest work experiences of my life!. Starting a new role is one thing, but doing it all online is something else…. Thank goodness for video conferencing. There is no way that this would have been as easy as possible without being able to see people, share screens and talk to multiple people at once. Being on voice calls would have been unbearable.
I am a very sociable person who enjoys going into an office and someone who needs to feed off the energy of others. One of my learning styles is to hear and listen to what is going on around me – this is something that has made my learning a little more difficult being in lockdown. However, video calls face-to-face have gone some way towards feeling like you are around others and not alone.
Were there any positives from the experience? The role that I am addressing is vital to the company that I work for, and without being able to do online inductions and meetings, this role would have been very difficult to understand. The positive from this experience it that I am still working, still meeting people (online) and my brain is still being kept active, and because I am not the only one in this situation, it has been easier to accept. Always keep positive!
We worked with Shiraz Taraporewalla to help secure her an interim assignment at Engie in the first week of lockdown
When I entered my new work environment, not shaking hands was still something we were all getting used too. On my third day the entire team (other than me) was working from home. The next two days felt like I was self-isolating at work with the entire two banks of desks empty. By the end of the week, I was working from home. Then next week the kids joined me… with their home learning to be sorted. It was frustrating at first because work was not happening. Nobody had the time to spare because everything had to be done and delivered. It sometimes felt like I was not required although I knew this wasn’t the case. At first I thought this gave me a great opportunity to go over the files that were in the drives. However, I soon realised that these were either the old way of doing things, not the main things to focus on. Self-motivation in these first days was becoming a very difficult endeavour. I was used to working from home in my previous job but I knew what I was doing there. I was now reliant on others who were all stretched and getting used to working in the crisis. As everybody adjusted to the new normal, month one was difficult to say the least.
As someone new into the team, not sharing a workspace physically meant there was no tangible way of socialising with colleagues without appearing to waste their time. Learning became more difficult because you could not overhear conversations within the team – opportunities to pick up subtle differences and request clarifications. Asking a simple question meant making a call that may not be answered immediately or sending an e-mail that needed answering …..creating more work for everyone.
However, there were a number of positives. I cut out three hours of travel every day. My manager was very understanding and allowed that adjustment time. All managers were encouraged to have daily team meetings so that all staff could interact with someone at least on a daily basis – our managers did a wonderful job of reaching out to staff. There was an understanding that things would not get done at the same level of efficiency during COVID-19 so deliverables were cut down to accommodate for the extra work. My husband set me up in his office so at the end of the day, it became possible to log off and shut the door on work. If I had to do anything differently, I probably would try a bit harder to socialise with the wider team on the quizzes that were set up. It feels unnatural to just jump in on conversations but at least by attending I think I know some of the bigger character in the team a bit better now.
Two months into lock down, I do think things have moved in the right direction. Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up and allow things time to get better. These unusual times have taught me that in different ways.
On Friday 12th June we will publish a brief article providing a summary of the positive experiences of our clients and candidates during lockdown