Job searching during a pandemic


Colin Doree
Managing Consultant – Marketing, CRM & Data

It’s no secret, this pandemic has far exceeded the immediate impacts on the employment market which the financial crisis back in 2008. But it’s not all bad news, in fact, there’s many who are profiting from the situation, and even some who can’t keep up with demand.

Companies like Deliveroo have never had it so good, as staying in becomes the new going out.

But they’re challenged by a mix of their own delivery capacity coupled with the capacity of the restaurants on their platform, and as staff self-isolate, it reduces that capacity on both sides.

By comparison, their biggest competitor, Just Eat has just frozen things up.

Travel, Entertainment, Hospitality and related or connected industries to these, are some of the obvious firms struggling to stay afloat. But in addition, some of the hardest hit have been start-ups.

Certainly series A or B funded who haven’t landed a VC whale. There’s many examples of promising, entrepreneurial digital firms who have had to make hard calls already. Seeing either their financial backing dry up, or needing to adjust plans to make the money they do have last longer. Some aren’t even in a position to take up the Government’s furlough due to cashflow challenges, and have had to let teams of people go.

It’s not all doom and gloom

There’s some who happened to be in the right place at the right time, offering the right product (or could adapt it to suit) who stand to do well.

These include the good folks at Unbiased, a digital financial services marketplace, putting consumers in touch with financial advisors and mortgage brokers. Especially useful for those looking to optimise household budgets and potentially take advantage of the record low interest rates.

Plus food start-ups who offer unique products or distribution opportunities are seeing a significant boost due to the lock down, such as relative newcomer PeskyFish.

Similarly, those in their growth and platform development stage are continuing their journeys. As many, despite limited or no possibility of delivering revenue, are continuing to hire.

Such as Carwow. A digital platform and marketplace for consumers to buy new cars at discount prices by essentially tendering out what you’re seeking to a broad network of mainline dealers across the country, not just your local one.

Despite Covid-19 halting manufacturing for most car firms and with showrooms closed, Carwow is still hiring and in volume too. Why?

Because making a profit isn’t the main objective right now. It’s all about the product and platform. Scaling that at pace to achieve market penetration and take up. The money will come, and the business recognises Covid-19 is likely only a stumbling block for now and will be overcome. At the back end, their product will be one consumers turn to. They’re perfectly positioned to deliver what the consumer will want. A great digital experience and significant cost savings on an expensive purchase.

The same is true of other digital first and digital platform firms who are in scale up mode – e.g. Revolut, Monzo, Uber, Collibra, Zalando, Discord, Shopify, Dazn.

All these firms are hiring at pace right now.

Looking at industry trends

Not looking at the obvious, such as chat/video platforms, online steaming and home entertainment or games consoles. There’s these trends which are either emerging now, or will soon.

Gambling is already seeing an uplift, the same was true during the financial crisis. With online games including poker, casino and bingo experiencing more customer signups and increased spending as people get bored and look for alternative entertainment to Netflix or Fortnite.

Life assurance, it’s unfortunate to say, but there’s nothing like a pandemic to consider whether you’ve got the right cover in place to take care of your family. Should the unfortunate happen.

The resurgence of sub-prime financial services and payday loans firms. Sure, some of these industries have a bad name, but there’s no doubting people will be turning to them in times of need.

Broadband – it’s the vital connection and lifeline to the outside world. We’re hearing in some areas, Virgin Media is having to turn down new customers as they don’t have the time or people to handle the volume of new connection requests. A typical 40meg speed isn’t enough when there’s a family all at home, with parents remote working and kids wanting to watch 2 different things on Netflix at the same time.

Home fitness equipment – I don’t know about you, but I’m struggling to do 2 thousand steps a day, leave alone 10k. Many manufacturers of home fitness products are experiencing a surge in consumer spending and can’t keep up with demand.

Leisure wear – since no-ones in suits, this market has seen a decent uplift in consumer spending too

Digital education platforms – both for homeschooling, but also remote learning as employees on furlough take the time to up skill themselves.

The Job Boards

Traditionally I’d expect many would historically either trawl LinkedIn or jobs boards when kicking off a search. But many of these haven’t taken any action to validate every vacancy is genuinely live.

An example being a fashion brand (who will remain nameless) have frozen all recruitment until after they can return to their offices. Yet they’re still entertaining applications. Applications which will move nowhere for months potentially. Using the opportunity to just to harvest people’s data, ready for a time in the future when they’re prepared to meet people face-to-face.

The company isn’t prepared to modify their process, so in reality what they’re posting are fake jobs. Which will only lead to frustrating you, the job seeker. They don’t appreciate (nor likely care about) the impact this may have on their employer brand.

But the worst offender for me has always been Indeed. Often re-hosting vacancies which were removed from hire months ago. In fact, to this day I still get applications from that site to roles which closed over a year ago.

Shining lights

However, there are a few who have adapted and are doing things properly. These include Still Hiring and Otta. Both platforms have checked to ensure firms listing vacancies are hiring still within this situation, and have adapted interview processes and onboarding. So if you’ve not checked these out already, it’s well worth doing so.

They’re not the easiest to navigate. Indeed, Still Hiring was built very quickly in response to this epidemic, and may have a short shelf life to serve a purpose in a time of need. But it’s doing that right now and providing hope to those who need it.

Agencies like Blue Pelican, are still here and we’re keen to help where we can. So don’t discount us from your search process.

Even if there’s fewer live vacancies right now, we can advise, give ideas and knowledge share, much like these blog posts have been designed to do.

But if there’s something you would like further insight on. Or if there’s elements I’ve not delved deeply enough into for you. Please leave a comment below, or email me at

In the meantime, be safe and be kind.

Leave a comment


4 years ago

Very interesting. Keep safe everyone!


4 years ago

Testing replies to myself.


4 years ago

Pringles have sold out but there are plenty of ready salted crisps.

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