The Covid-19 Fight: Recruiting in the midst of the pandemic

The Covid-19 Fight: Recruiting in the midst of the pandemic

From CVs to applications, to interviews to that new job. I’ve had over 100 interviews and counting so far in my life. You may think that’s an awful lot. Call it being lucky or being fortunate.  The art of job hunting is filled with ups and downs like a rollercoaster. But I find job hunting enjoyable in a lot of ways; it gives me the chance to showcase my CV to potential employers. And I get a confidence boost when I receive interest from recruiters. The pressure of selling myself to employers in interviews serves as a daunting task; but in order to beat the competition, I always need to have the confidence and self-belief to explain why I should be hired over everyone else. Sometimes it can be hard to talk about yourself because it doesn’t come naturally. That’s just the typical DNA of being British, as we don’t want to come across as obnoxious or arrogant.

But what happens when the script is flipped? What happens when I suddenly secure a new job of being a recruiter?

Not just any recruiter job – A recruiter helping to employ the finest healthcare professionals from nurses to pharmacists –  to help vaccinate patients and to work for arguably the best healthcare service in the world – The NHS.

Many superlatives have been used in the past year, to describe the incredible work and challenges the NHS have faced. Perhaps using the word heroes may never quite do it justice. At times they have been overwhelmed, overworked and overstretched. In fact, we are still seeing the ripple effect of that today.  But they have also been resilient, superhuman and courageous.

My job is to employ healthcare professionals to work at the London Excel Centre. Everyone who is placed at the Excel will be either helping to vaccinate patients or supervising and overseeing the vaccination programme. Over 20 million people have now received their first dose. I scout for these candidates through various job boards and select the most suitable talent in line with the job descriptions – a vaccinator position or a supervisor position. I then give them a call, introduce myself and ask them pre-screening questions, which relate to their suitability and compatibility to the roles – including telling them about the job duties, salary and if they are eligible to work in the UK. Part of me always gets nervous when I call candidates for the first time; you don’t know how they will sound or what kind of day they are having. If they pass the pre-screening, they then have to complete Maths and English assessments. Then if they pass those, they get booked in for an interview.

Before their main interview, I provide my candidates with a mock interview prep session. In these sessions, I provide useful advice on how they can be successful at interview; by helping them come up with detailed examples and answers to the most commonly asked questions. These sessions are the most important for me in the candidate journey – I get to meet the candidates virtually for the first time and try to help them secure that all important job. Every candidate I meet all share one common goal – they are passionate about wanting to make a difference to people’s lives, and play their part in beating Covid-19. Despite the outrage of the Government only offering a 1% pay rise for the NHS, these candidates help me to restore faith in humanity. It’s admirable and inspirational that these people, who come from diverse backgrounds, demonstrate their ability to show compassion, sympathy and empathy in providing patient care, especially through these turbulent times. I feel privileged on a daily basis to work candidates who are some of the exceptional people I will ever come across.

Not everyone can be successful at interview; but for those that are, it’s extremely rewarding for me to call them and share the good news that have been offered a new job. They give me great praise for the support I given them during their recruitment journey (last week I had two candidates say my support was brilliant and world class) They always say the best thing you can do in life is help others, and truer words have never been spoken. Helping others is where I gain my self-worth from. You could say that’s how the foundation of legacies are built.

In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals are some of the most resilient, reliable and underappreciated people in any sector. Although it’s unfortunate it’s taken up until now to really realise it, their incredible and selfless work must never be forgotten by any of us in a new post-Covid world.

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