Happy FriYAY Placement Partner Community!
Today, we’re pleased to bring you a different kind of interview than what you may be accustomed to. A little while ago, one of our valued clients was kind enough to give some feedback on the Support Initiative which the Placement Partner team has been driving since the beginning of lockdown and so we invited her to share her story with us all.
Laura Dodd is the General Manager of Accountancy Placements in Pietermaritzburg – An agency which was established 36 years ago and has truly stood the test of time. After starting her Recruitment career in London, Laura returned to her hometown in 2016 and has successfully been building the business and leading the team ever since. In today’s interview, she shares the story of their ups and downs through these turbulent times. With her warm personality, infectious enthusiasm and wise words of advice, this is one interview you won’t want to miss!
What was the initial impact of this pandemic for you, both personally and professionally?
Accountancy Placements was really caught right in the middle of it with one of their candidates being one the first people in South Africa to be diagnosed with Covid19. This really came as a shock to the team because at that stage, no one thought the pandemic would reach us in South Africa. It was really frightening in the beginning.
However, on the personal front Laura was more than happy to be working from home and quite accustomed to working remotely but the fear was still there because no one knew what was going to happen. The team just tried to stay positive and make the best of the situation despite the many challenges they faced.
The saddest thing about 2020 was really that so many businesses started out really strong and everyone was confident that this was going to be ‘their year’. Companies were gearing up to take more risks, grow their teams and push for growth in their businesses. In January and February, the Accountancy Placements team had an average of 30-35 vacancies on their board at any given time – An impressive feat for a team of 4!
In March, Laura decided to take on a young graduate to assist the team with their admin and then suddenly, it was as if they were living in a horror film. Companies were freezing their hiring processes across the board, many of them saying they would only resume recruitment in August or September! The team was suddenly in a position where they needed to support their candidates and keep them positive, even though they had no idea of what the future held.
What effect did the Placement Partner Support Initiative have on your team and your business through this time?
If you had asked a group of Recruiters in January 2020 to sit together in one ‘room’ and brainstorm a topic together, you would have been laughed out of the building. But, it was as if Placement Partner predicted exactly when to stand by their clients and all of the content was helpful, positive and uplifting. Recruiters suddenly realised that they were all in the same boat. Having the opportunity to sit together and discuss ideas allowed them to help each other in a way that would not have been possible otherwise.
Shirley is one of the most positive uplifting people out there and not only did she bring encouragement on a weekly basis, but she offered real practical advice on how to get through it. Lezanne also really inspired positivity with her infectious laughter and never stopped offering help, support and training. The whole team was really phenomenal.
What advice would you like to give your fellow Recruiters?
As things get moving again, it’s important for us as Recruiters to keep to a high standard of ethics and abide by that code of ethics at all times. A lot of companies did not handle the lockdown well. Many employees were let go with no notice and very little communication and they are understandably much less trusting of people at the moment.
It’s important that we as Recruiters don’t lose the excitement of Recruitment. We shouldn’t start putting candidates forward just for the sake of making a fee because our businesses have recently taken a knock. The industry is going to be highly competitive in the coming months but it’s important to remember that this is not a race. We have a notoriously bad reputation and it’s important that we work hard to change that perception going forward.