Without face-to-face meetings, hiring slows; new searches delayed

The hiring picture grew more complicated this week, in the wake of widespread office closures to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Erin Carroll, a partner in the Boston office of executive recruitment firmBraddockMatthews, which conducts searches for mid- to senior-level professionals in asset management, reported the following in an interview yesterday:

1) For the most part it’s still a go for the searches that the firm has under way for private equity clients. Carroll expects that some searches might be paused, and that the pace of the hiring process will ease across the board. There’s only so much that can be done by phone and video conference. Hiring managers want to meet candidates in person; and likewise candidates don’t want to make a big career move without first seeing the office, meeting their supervisor, and meeting future colleagues.

2) BraddockMatthews had anticipated starting new searches for private equity clients in the next few weeks. The contracts are signed. Carroll expects some of those searches to be delayed. “But,” she said, “I hope and expect that those searches at some point will go live.”

3) BraddockMatthew’s private equity practice recruits across all functions, including investor relations, legal, finance and HR–areas that private equity firms tend to recruit for in good times and bad. She suspects that firms experiencing a slowdown in deal flow might delay plans for hiring deal professionals–unless, of course, the investment strategy centers on acquiring or financing distressed assets.

Said Carroll: “It could be a few months before we see some sort of normalization around tone and tenor” in the hiring market. “But it is definitely hard to predict.”

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