Market Signals Summarized (Week 13)

Because of how we work when supporting our clients, we have a very uniqueglimpseinto how over 5000 Executive Search companies and 20 000 decision makers react – the majority of which being located in Europe – that’s how many people our clients have contacted in the last 5 years; and we collect and analyze how they respond; and we observe if and what kind of trends there are to leverage them into better career management & more effective job search methods.

Before there are trends, there are signals which we usually keep to ourselves. But these are not usual times, so we decided to share these signals by the end of each week. If the country / context is important, we’ll add them. Otherwise we’ll keep it general for confidentiality.

Candidate side:

HR Director: A few processes I was in were put on hold, but a couple of new ones have appeared in the meantime.

CEO: I am involved in 3 recruitment projects and I have invitations for the next stages.

Business Unit Director CEE: I will continue the active job search process. I don’t know if it is any impact of the current situation or just my current job activities, but it turns out that the market is very active and I get invitations for interviews.

CMO: In fact, it looks like the processes are still going on. Last week I had my first video interview by Zoom and decision makers offered to participate in the recruitment process for another role in the global team. Another recruitment process: they have canceled the meeting because of the crisis, but they said they would speak to me soon.

Department Head: I had an oral offer to start in April. 5 days ago I was informed that the starting date might be moved to earliest May. Now I doubt if the process will actually be finalized. I haven’t received a letter of intent, let alone a contract. Maybe I should actively start looking for a job.

Expat CEO in Western Europe: I’m in two recruitment processes that have actually initially sped up. Everybody is available for interviews. Everything continues. One decision was delayed, one final interview is next week. Both roles are at a regional operational level.

Italian Head of Operations from a production company: I was invited this week to interview with a leading e-commerce player for a concrete role.

Executive Director in pharma: I had my last round interview to discuss a job offer for a Head of Europe – role. I was informed that the decision has been put on hold.

Employer side:

Major bank: the restructuring process to let go 1200 people and renegotiate almost 1400 employment contracts has been put on hold.

Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Global CEO of Visa (posted on March 27 on LinkedIn): Yesterday I pledged to my 20,000 Visa colleagues that we will have no COVID19 related layoffs in 2020. There is enough sadness in the world and already too many families impacted by job losses. I have no interest in contributing to that. Our employees and clients continue to be my top priority during this challenging time.

IT Director: We have a couple of projects to close, e.g. for Project Management roles, but candidates are withdrawing from the recruitment processes.

Member of Supervisory Board: our recruitment processes are still ongoing, but they slowed down considerably.

Shareholder in multiple international and local start-ups: a few start-ups had to close immediately, the remaining are preparing immediate layoffs from 3080% of their staff.

From observations of and direct conversations with recruiters of experienced managers and executives:

  • Recruitment agencies have switched to online tools.
  • They assure that recruitment processes are still going on.
  • Some urge candidates on social media not to stop applying.
  • There are still a few new recruitment and talent management projects.
  • More candidates than usual don’t express interest in roles when approached; they refuse to engage.
  • Some recruitment decisions are delayed.
  • Some recruitment processes for CEO roles are still in progress – next week the final decisions should be made.
  • Some executive candidates who are amazing in person have bombed last round interviews via Skype / Zoom and have consequently not received job offers.

Our recommendations for experienced managers and executives:

  • Keep engaging in recruitment processes. You don’t know if your job is indeed safe. Better to have a Plan B. It’s always better to be able to choose from a couple of options while you have a job rather than wake up with no job and have no options.
  • If you have restructuring / change management / interim experience, prepare your project list or list of business cases.
  • Prepare and practice interviewing online:
    • from a technical perspective
    • from a light & background perspective
    • from a communication perspective
  • Work on your communication skills: on paper (CV) and orally (strategic interviewing). Charisma alone will not get you shortlisted against hundreds of candidates; especially now that companies will look for low-risk candidates who can demonstrate very specific skill sets and leadership competencies.

If you want to discuss your professional situation confidentially or do online interview simulations, contact who will personally match you with the most appropriate consultant. For efficiency, add your CV and availability for a Skype call.

If you want to contribute, email your signals to (everything will be kept confidential) or add them in the comment section on LinkedIn.

Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Week 18
Week 19
Week 20
Week 21
Week 22