Since I started as a CEO of InHunt World last autumn, one clear goal was to increase the interactions between our Partners. Since then, we have implemented groups on WhatsApp, Slack and we’re also having frequent meetings on Google Meet while this pandemic lasts and prevents physical meetings and get to togethers.

Also, I had this idea about forming these geographical clusters to bring together our Partners from different zones and intensify the co-operation between these strategic countries and Partners. Currently, we have four clusters: Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, and Southern Europe. Soon I hope we have Americans as well as Asia. But those are still in the making, and for example, our trusted Partner from the USA joined last week our Northern Europe cluster.

There are many reasons why I enjoy a lot our “Cluster week”. But the main thing is that for four days in a row, I’m able to talk and listen with all of our Partners in different countries and hear how they’re doing and get precious first-hand information on how the recruitment and headhunting markets are progressing. As you may know, the recruitment and headhunting industry is usually one of the first to see the signs of an economic downturn and one of the firsts to see when things are starting to heat up again. 

When frequently talking with all our Partners around the World, I’m privileged to see and forecast many things with great accuracy already months before compared to those that are getting this information from news, that are always at least a few months behind.

Here, I would like to share with you three main takeaways from our cluster week:

Things are moving again

Nordics are doing superb. Companies are recruiting again and clearly preparing themselves for something good. The recruitment market is really active in Finland, Sweden, Norway, and also in the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania). Estonia seems to be going out of roof. Our Partner (CVO) is hiring more recruitment consultants to deliver all the projects in time what their customers are asking. In Finland, InHunt Group had the best January in its ten years history, and also it was the second best month of all time. Germany, Netherlands, UK, Balkans, USA have been showing very strong signals that things are getting back, maybe a lot faster than most of us expected.

The only countries that seem to be still struggling are Denmark, the Czech Republic, and Portugal, where the economy is still on hold because of the very intense lockdown measures. However, the Covid numbers are going down now in the whole World. I’m sure these countries will hop on board in a month or two, which is practically inevitable when the surrounding countries have already started a strong recovery phase. 

The candidate market is very tough

This was a matter that came out basically in every cluster meeting, and our Partners from different countries were repeating this same thing. So this is not just a thing for one country or two but a very general trend.

When things are going well, the best talents change jobs quickly because they’re not afraid of the risk. Whereas in the economic downturn or the pandemic, this varies a lot. Our Partners from several countries such as France, Italy, Balkans, USA, etc. they all were saying the same. People are cautious now, and if they have a secure job, they tend to stay in that even though it’s not their dream job or they’re not completely satisfied with it. Money and security are good reasons enough to stay in the old one.

Getting candidates relocated has become much more difficult

Also, it was confirmed that especially if relocation is needed, in the pandemic, companies and us headhunters need to work twice or triple as hard to convince the candidate about the new opportunity. Personally, I was in touch with one client who has their HQ in Barcelona. They’ve been facing huge problems to find experienced Salespeople from UK and Germany to move to Barcelona. When Barcelona used to be one of the top and even dream locations for many, with the pandemic, everything has changed. Spain doesn’t have the best numbers in terms of Covid, bars, and restaurants can be closed, it’s illegal to move outside after 10 PM, you need to wear a mask all the time, travel restrictions are in place, etc. So those fantastic beaches, restaurant scheme, and nightlife aren’t that much of fun as we speak.

Basically, the only way to get the top candidates interested and even consider the change of location is to approach them very professionally and use their mother tongue. Suppose a Spanish company or Spanish-based headhunter tries to approach a German-speaking candidate currently living in Germany. In that case, there’s a very little chance that the conversation would go anywhere. The only way to build trust is to approach the candidate correct way and by a person who speaks the same language. The candidate needs to be able to see that the headhunter/consultant is on his/her side and honestly offering something that could be really great for his/her future, maybe even a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Also, the candidate needs to have someone in the target country to talk with about all the procedures and the real current situation how the things are because the news hardly can be trusted in today’s World.

Anyhow, things are getting back, and that is wonderful news for us and everybody! According to all the experts, Covid should be under control in Europe in July/August, and the second half of 2021 could be something very different than we’ve now seen and lived already last 12 months. So let’s keep fighting, let’s keep believing and most importantly, let’s still be very careful. Soon all this is just a bad memory! 

From the sunny Madrid,

Teemu Ruuska

CEO 

InHunt World