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over 1 year ago by Alex Swain
Hot Roles & Other Templates (7)

The Market Bounceback - A year to remember.

I will try to avoid the term Covid-19, but August 2020 I would never have predicted the way our industry has bouced back. In my 7-year recruitment career, August has always been an incredibly challenging month, that well needed mid-year break (for most of the industry) causes what network rail would describe as "severe delays", but last year was different, it was worse, a fight to stay alive in a world where hiring had almost stopped.

We knew coming out the back of 2020 that this year had to be different, it surely couldn't be any worse and I think most businesses across the world thought the same thing. What we didn't expect was the snowball effect that has played out across this year. The triggers have always been there, if brands begin to spend again, it'll mean the agencies, technology vendors, publishers & media owners would soon be back to capacity and adapting to the new normal.

From a recruitment perspective, the new normal works and that snowball continues to grow larger. Just look at the statistics from the ONS, between May & July of this year, the UK hit an all-time record high of circa 953,000 vacancies. Given the fact that between April & June of 2020, vacancies dropped down to 340,000, it's safe to say we've never been busier.

Source: Office of National Statistics

The big question is, what does this actually mean for me when I'm hiring?

The reality is it's tough. It's not an easy market when you're a hiring manager, particularly in our industry where we already have a talent shortage in certain areas. For example, two very different parts of media, but two that are integral to its success

  1. Paid Search/PPC, pre-pandemic I couldn't count the amount of vacancies we had at the account manager level within agencies, it almost became unmanageable for our consultants and you guessed it, that hasn't changed, in fact it's probably become more pressing, especially with the rise of eCommerce.

  2. Agency Sales talent. Advertising technology or Adtech vendors are always looking for top tier sales talent, but right now they're not just competing against one or two other companies, what it feels like is that they are competing against all of them.

If you're thinking it all sounds familiar (even if you're hiring into a specialism I've not listed) then perhaps some of my next points might just help in the process of securing talent for your team.


One of the biggest challenges in recruitment is time. When you're hiring, you have your day job on top of interviewing, reviewing talent etc. and finding those extra couple of hours a week can be difficult, the likelihood is you're covering that hole in the team, meaning you have even less. My point being, streamlining the process will benefit you. It's advice we have offered all our talent partners and we've seen multiple processes start and finish within the space of 5 working days. You can hyper-analyse the positives and negatives of this, but getting working with the key stakeholders to ensure a smooth and timely process yields alot of benefits. Think carefully about who should meet with potential employees, not just from a review standpoint, but also people who will entice candidates to join your team or business.

The "Red Carpet" treatment

At some point in your career you've been a candidate looking for a job. How did it feel when they began to sell to you? Candidate experience is key and as we say "rolling out the red carpet" is an important part in selling to your prospective employee. Like streamlining, you should think carefully but quickly about who will entice candidates to your business or team. It may simply be your MD or CEO, someone who can tell the story of the business and where you are heading.

Present your product

This is perhaps more aligned to commercial or sales hiring but if your gut feel on a candidate is positive, go the extra mile and reveal a little bit more. Remember, recruitment should always be a two-way street and the way you engage with future employees counts more than you may think. Skills are important, people buy people, but at the same point, the product or brand is also a key decision maker for candidates, showcasing a new product, sales deck or marketing material can have a major impact.

Share your honest thoughts!

Work with your recruiter, give your honest opinions and raise any concerns you may have. It's our job to ensure candidates are well prepared, but if we do not have the right information it could become a time cost. It's not about giving people an unfair advantage or papering over cracks, it's about setting people up for success. Interviews are short and despite the depth of questioning, you can never cover everything. Ensure your recruitment partner/consultant knows your thoughts to help get potential employees thinking about how they can relay certain experiences to your business. Trust me, you'll be able to go into much greater depth in the conversation!

You may already know these things, but these are suggestions and real life examples of how hire in what we all know, is a candidate driven market!

Want some more tips? Reach out to me directly to discuss how we can advise via