Opportunities are never lost – someone will always take the one you miss

Having read this title, after a year in business like the last, you may be wondering if I’ve slightly taken leave of my senses! Right now, from many people’s perspectives, someone pulled the plug on opportunities.

Candidates have watched their opportunities shrivel up like a raisin in the sun.

Employers have watched talent pools turn into puddles. Businesses have accepted that opportunities aren’t a thing for now.

So, why am I telling you that opportunities are never lost?

The reality is that even in a recession and in the toughest of times for businesses, there are still opportunities. They may be harder to spot. They may take more effort to realise. But they are there.

And it’s those who realise this that are best positioned to take advantage of them, and who will be well ahead of the curve on the road of recovery, coming out well ahead of their competitors further down the road.

Let’s not mention my age…
I’m not just talking gibberish here! I’ve been here before. OK, I’ve not navigated a global pandemic before; I’m not as old as the Spanish Flu! But I have been on the executive recruitment and talent circuit through three recessions to date.

And, whilst headlines, misguided beliefs, and sheer shock over the last year may lead you to believe this one is different, by virtue of it being socioeconomic, I can tell you that in recruitment terms, things are very much mirroring what I’ve seen before.

And this is where it gets interesting. Recessions and recruitment are like a pair of angst-ridden sulking teens each refusing to be the first to apologise.

I call this a loss of fluidity.

Loss of fluidity makes stagnation easy, but you mustn’t let it
Fluidity is the oil of the recruitment sector.

At the end of the day, recruitment is all about movement: individuals moving from one employer to another, and employers moving their businesses on a trajectory of growth through accessing bustling and vibrant talent pools.

In a recession, the brakes are put on fluidity by both individuals and employers.

Individuals want to stay put. It’s a case of better the devil you know and all that. They are fundamentally reluctant to move unless something such as redundancy is chasing them.

They crave stability, unsure of how to navigate a career move in a time of uncertainty.
They would rather stay in their current frying pan, even if it’s burning their feet, than jump into the fire.

And then there’s the employer. The employer also feels paralysed.

Everyone, and every marker, is telling them that now’s the time to tighten their belts. Don’t go searching for more uncertainty. Stick to the game you know.

A little stagnation is ok in the name of stability and survival. If you do make a move, make it a nice controlled small safe one.

Even if the employer has their hand forced, and they have no choice but to look for new talent in a recession, they can find that relevant skills can be more of a puddle than a pool, with limited options and nothing particularly inspiring.

But what we have now is a vicious circle. In fact, it’s not just vicious, but a backbiting case of everyone cutting off their nose to spite their face! It’s a real problem: someone has to be the first to make a move towards collaboration once more.

And that’s where opportunity comes in. And that’s where you can either lose it whilst watching someone else take it, or grasp it with both hands and be the one who comes out on top.

Recession opportunities for individuals and employers
We can expect that this recession will take around 6-12 months for the dust to settle and for things to return to ‘normal’ (in recruitment stakes).

What most will do is stay waiting until the dust is nicely coating everything before they feel safe enough to venture out again. And that’s understandable.

However, whilst they are harder to capitalise on, in the meantime opportunities are passing them by. And they aren’t just disappearing into the ether. Someone else is taking advantage of them.

And when you take advantage of a fragile or difficult opportunity, the potential for reward is immense.

This applies again for both the individual and the employer.

The forward-thinking courageous individual who is prepared to take a leap at the moment, could be rewarded by unique opportunities within strong thriving businesses, where they can propel their career without lost time.

The savvy and bold business that sees economic difficulties as a chance to spring ahead of their competition, gets to cherry-pick exceptional talent that can form the bedrock of future growth.

It can be a remarkable win-win.

How to take advantage of recruitment opportunities right now
I’m not saying it’s easy. And I’m not saying that you won’t need extra help and support – as either an individual that is looking for a new role, or as an employer.

But I am saying that fortune favours the brave and the bold. I am saying that the parties who suffer in the recession-fuelled recruitment stand-off are the very candidates and organisations that are trying to protect themselves.

This is particularly true at the executive level of an organisation, or the executive level of a candidate’s career.

Strategic positions are more important than ever.

They will be the difference between surviving this recession and thriving from it, using it as a springboard to future success.

This is where search specialists, who have been there before, can really help.

With deep-rooted experience, stability and connections, search specialists can come alongside businesses to ensure they can fill those strategic positions, right now.

They can give businesses the confidence to realise that whilst talent pools may seem to have dried up, there is the best individual just there, a little upstream, who needs inspiring to make a move too.

With careful and knowledgeable sourcing and searching, the opportunities are better than ever. We just need to dig them out.

Dare not to wait for the dust to settle. Dare to be the one who takes the opportunities whilst others let them pass by.

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