The highs and lows of recruiting in 2020

Claire Angus, head of Cambridge Network’s Recruitment GatewayIn an already fast-changing area of many businesses, recruiting in 2020 has been thrown a bit of a curve ball!

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Since March, the Covid-19 crisis has meant a significant reduction in staffing demands, with demand for both permanent and temporary hires falling during that month for the first time since the global financial crisis of 2008. The UK saw a 15% reduction in job postings from 7th March to 1st April.

Our Cambridge Network Recruitment Gateway mirrored this decline in job postings, as recruiters in member companies were faced with uncertainty. Many of the roles that they were working to fill were being put on hold indefinitely.

Faced with so many unknowns, it was important for us to provide as much assistance as we could. Suddenly a lot of people (including our team) were working from home, balancing work and family life, including home schooling, and trying to get to grips with the technological solutions – Microsoft Teams, Zoom etc. –  that would eventually prove to be a lifeline.

Informative webinars hit the mark

Working with our members at this time, we wanted to find a way to keep our recruiters and candidates connected.  Initially, we were keen to offer them a platform to share knowledge and experience. So, we planned a series of webinars aimed specifically at people involved in the jobs market – both recruiters and candidates. We asked experts to deliver a variety of workshops covering subjects such as:

  • Recruiting via video
  • Virtual interviewing
  • Remote onboarding.

All of these sessions were recorded and are available to view  – with a wealth of other useful material – on Cambridge Network's YouTube channel here.

Whereas these remote activities were already the norm to some, they were very new to many participants. But the webinars were well received and have continued to evolve as businesses become a little more certain about their futures; as candidates learn how to navigate a virtual jobs market and some businesses return to their offices.

Cambridge Network’s first Virtual Jobs Fair is a great success

[[{"fid":"286945","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"thank you screen on Zoom folliowing Virtual Jobs Fair","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"thank you screen on Zoom folliowing Virtual Jobs Fair"},"link_text":false,"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"thank you screen on Zoom folliowing Virtual Jobs Fair","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"thank you screen on Zoom folliowing Virtual Jobs Fair"}},"attributes":{"alt":"thank you screen on Zoom folliowing Virtual Jobs Fair","title":"thank you screen on Zoom folliowing Virtual Jobs Fair","style":"float: right;","class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]]Continuing with our mission, May 14th saw the Cambridge Network recruitment team launch our first Virtual Jobs Fair. With the kind of large face-to-face events we used to host still a long way off, our online jobs fair was very popular.  It attracted 400 plus job-seeking sign ups, who were treated to a jam-packed day of company presentations and careers workshops. With another planned for Thursday 16th July and already filling up nicely, could this be the new normal for recruitment events?

It's a win-win for both employer organisations and potential candidates because taking these events online means that we are able reach a broader audience from all over the UK and overseas, reduce costs, save time – and help the planet! (No more time wasted on trains or sitting in Cambridge traffic.)

Many of the recruitment teams within our member companies have also used this time to work on candidate experience, educating themselves on how to recruit remotely, improving their candidate engagement and focusing on employer brand.

Another high for recruiters right now, with many more employers offering remote working, must be the opportunity to reach and employ talent with less location-based restriction.

Although there has undoubtedly been a dip in recruitment, many of our members remain on the lookout for quality candidates. There are still large numbers of opportunities, as evidenced by the number of vacancies advertised on our jobs pages.

Recruiting in 2020 has seen many highs and lows so far. However, we hope that many of the positive elements of how we are working right now will stay, helping organisations recruit from a larger talent pool, build better cultures and improve work- life balances. 



Cambridge Network's next Virtual Jobs Fair takes place on Thursday 16h July, when companies can book a slot on our dedicated platform to present their vacancies, technology, and organisational culture to candidates. If your organisation would like to get involved, please contact me by email.