Executive Search in crazy times
Executive Search in crazy times
As I have not had the opportunity to meet with many people lately, working, as the rest of the world, from home, I wanted to reach out and pass on my current understanding of Talent Acquisition in Greece, with the relative certainty that what is happening here, is being experienced by people almost everywhere. Also, I hazard a guess as to where this will lead us, and a couple of pointers as to what CHRO’s need to plan for, in the unlikely event that…

Attitude of People:

1. People working from home are more apt to respond quickly to a request for a virtual meeting or call. My take on that is that it breaks a bit of the tedium, and it allows for yet another human contact, which under the circumstances is more than welcome.

2. Everyone treads very carefully, trying not to impose themselves onto another person’s routine. Whereas in the olden days we would just pick the phone up and call, now we give (and receive) advance warning. We are mindful that people work in conditions that may be far from perfect, and respect that.

3. People are comfortable with participating in a mostly virtual recruitment campaign. Still, people will not sign on the dotted line without a face to face meeting, or four.

Takeaway: a lot of recruitment engagements are progressing, but the final decisions are postponed until the days after social-distancing measures are relaxed.

Attitude of Organisations

1. The market still needs experienced people. As one client eloquently put it: “I know there’s a virus out there, but that does not mean I will do without a Head of X”

2. Organisations have overestimated their capacity to run a full campaign remotely. The crux is, in my opinion, the second virtual meeting. Thereafter all parties involved tend to expect a face to face meeting to settle all open points, and get a better feeling for each other.

Takeaway: there will be a lot hiring (and a lot of resigning) in the immediate aftermath of social-distancing.

Impact and next steps

1. What needs to be considered, is the technology and culture to allow for fully virtual recruitment. Organisations need to sort out what are must-haves and how to attain them. Minimum viable product in recruitment is a discussion that needs to happen now.

2. Organisations need to implement solutions (and the requisite culture) for a fully remote onboarding process. We can interview remotely, we can extend offers remotely, and we can process the majority if not all of the legal requirements remotely. We can have people working remotely. Do you see that little bit missing there? Hire and work remotely is ok, onboarding is not.

3. It is now blatantly obvious that the Greek employment regulation is totally out of synch with the market. It would be interesting to see how the Labour Inspectors will police working hours.


The situation will not alter fundamentally Greek HR practices, mostly due to the (expected) limited time that we will be working in this funk. This is partly fuelled by the success of the Greek state in managing this crisis, and the inherently optimistic nature of people. I expect a deeper impact on the public sector, than the private sector.

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