Letter from the President of the Recruiters of Wisconsin, RE: COVID-19

Letter from the President of the Recruiters of Wisconsin:

The Coronavirus and other unexpected events in a 40-year span of searching for Professional Human Talent: We are PHTR’s [Professional Human Talent Recruiters].

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a tough issue we are all dealing with.

We need to band together and support one another. I am happily fielding the calls and addressing questions and concerns as best I can from www.rowis.org. There is quite a bit of the unknown and even more speculation i.e. 500, 250, 100, 50, 10 people. I’d feel better if it was not all conjecture or if it was even a bit scientific. However, we have limited data to go on.

I am being asked if companies can rescind offers. – Candidly, yes! And candidates will be refusing on-site work. In speaking with employment Law Attorney, Laura Lindner, today it is pretty clear that with the effects of this Coronavirus it is not likely to get “pinned” on anyone or any company.

We may be seeing things we have not experienced in our industry before – but don’t panic. We’ve been through other difficult situations before. The firms and recruiters who have built relationships on trust, honesty, and loyalty will survive.

Fellow recruiters, for those of you who do not know me personally, or as our organization’s President, allow me to debrief you on my career as a recruiter…

  • 1984 was a lousy time to graduate from College coming off of the 1980–1982 recession. I took a 100% commissioned job and joined the recruiting firm I had been making calls for. Joe lived on my couch. The economy was not great, but I did well by working long hours–and back then that meant you are not going home for dinner. I was single and my fiancé was in another state. As a result of these two considerations, I was fortunate to be able to work nights while the top competition and best recruiters were at home with family. If they made a call from home it was a “money” call, not a call to someone that was not expecting a call at home from a recruiter.  I made it as a rookie in a tough economy, without a desktop or a Fax machine.
  • I remember 1990-1991. We hit a recession and we had a 4-year old, 2-year old and a newborn. We had also bought another home on a lake, not knowing hard times were about to hit. But I survived in business and kept the 2nd home for 21 years. The family grew to 5 daughters and they are all independent and healthy – we all made it through.
  • The 1990’s grew into a long run of prosperity and success in our industry as a whole. Especially great to be in IT prior to the Y2k frenzy. Post Y2k, yea not as great for IT but still steady.
  • Then 911 happened in 2001 and many recruiters were put out of business – indefinitely and immediately! The travel industry was really bombed too on that day! The good recruiters and the best firms made it through.
  • The next recession in 2008 seemed to last forever. Anyone of you now with 10+ years in recruiting…you got through the great recession!

Today we are facing an invisible foe and we are freaked out on different levels. Seriously, I cannot pick at my face? The effects are so wide-ranging, and many businesses will benefit, but the majority will not! Truthfully, my thoughts and concerns are with the employees. Particularly frustrating is the fact that certain trades and industries will be able to provide more support to their loyal employees than others. Landlords with no mortgages have an advantage – companies will go out of business. Tenants will not be paying rent.

But, this message is not about going out of business – rather it is about staying in business!

My suggestions:

  • Do a lot of reaching out
  • Assume nothing
  • Reduce judging
  • Be ready to be surprised

No one has a schematic to the COVID-19 Virus! This is a great chance to get organized, read, paint a room, write someone a letter – all of that is reasonable and expected.

But don’t just stop working altogether. People will be working—so find the clients and candidates that are doing their best to remain active in this dormancy. It’s hard to think of staying in your routine when it’s been ripped from you so swiftly and severely but try. Team up with other trusted people and share grocery trips, pharmacy trips and other essential out of the house needs.

Put our next ROW social on your calendar for May 7th at 4:30 for free drinks, appetizers and sharing Job Orders!

Thankfully March 5th we were able to have Greg Doersching present and as always, Greg was superb!

The 500, 250, 100, 50, 10 people rule has now hit just stay home. For the best outcome and for the safety of everyone, just hunker down for now knowing, we will survive this!