Market Signals (Week 20)

Because of how we work, we have a very uniqueglimpseinto how over 5000 Executive Search companies and almost 20 000 decision makers react – the majority of which being located in Europe; 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 those market signals by the end of each week.

We are sharing our observations based on information gathered from HR Directors, Executive Search companies, recruitment agencies and candidates. We also summarized best practices taken up by corporations in order to support their businesses. Below you’ll see what we found out.

This is not a full version of this week’s report. View the complete presentation here:

However, we’ll start with a KPI that gives a quite good feel of the overall trend on the job market:

Number of published job ads on LinkedIn

Note: some job ads might have been taken off LinkedIn, not because the recruitment process was put on hold or canceled, but because they are costly, especially if you have dozens of them. A company might have wanted to simply cut costs and move to more cost effective alternatives. Some local job portals are offering substantial discounts.
Initial list of 18 countriesSorted
Extended list to 36 countriesSorted
Note: the numbers are collected at the beginning of each week, on Monday afternoon. The regions are divided into: Visegrad, Baltics, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Iberia, SEE, BENELUX, DACH, Western Europe and EU.


Insights from candidates taking part in current recruitment processes, executive search & recruitment companies and headhunters.

Candidate side

  • there are companies that lower job grades of positions they’re recruiting for
  • job search conducted through networking and direct application are still very effective despite the circumstances
  • some candidates decide to put their job search on hold due to the current situation
  • certain companies will probably give up physical offices and continue working remotely even after the pandemic

Recruitment and Executive Search companies

They are working online and assure that recruitment processes are still continuing. Agencies observed that more candidates than usual express a lack of interest in roles when approached; they refuse to engage. Recruiters also complain about candidates not being fit for online interviews.

To quote a CEO of a recruitment agency, “As to candidates: if they are employed they refuse to participate in processes; if they aren’t, they shower us with their CVs.”

Even though recruitment processes are still going on, recruitment companies have also been suffering from the crisis. It is getting a little better, though, as April was for some better than March. Some say they are getting ready for confidential replacement searches to be started towards the end of May / beginning of June to make sure the best qualified CEOs and board members lead their companies through the next months. Interim recruitment sees more activity but candidates for interim assignments are usually not well-prepared.

Best practices

Solutions that corporations have implemented to alleviate / deal with COVID-19 consequences:

  • pay out bonuses irrespectively of whether the targets were achieved
  • provide with free psychological support / access to therapists
  • care packages with face masks and disinfectants
  • courses / onboarding moved online
  • increase of salary to show appreciation for hard-working employees
  • offer outplacement services
  • preparing for the re-opening of the offices (home office rotation, safety & health procedures, limiting number of people in a room depending on surface)
  • lay-off scenarios depending on “how bad it will be” (lists of employees next in line for lay-offs) and execution of restructuring processes

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 if you are considering hiring Career Angels for support, 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 Sandra (everything will be kept confidential).

Market Signals published thus far:
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Week 18
Week 19
Week 20
Week 21
Week 22