Using Our Recruitment Skills to Help Those Impacted by the Pandemic

2020 has been a strange year for all of us. And when the pandemic hit, everyone’s lives were impacted in different ways. Many people working across all sorts of industries sadly found themselves out of work.

Earlier this year, one of our Talent Acquisition consultants, Jacob Silverman, wanted to do something to help. This is Jacob’s story – hear how he put his staffing expertise to use to help those most impacted.

Getting productive during lock down 

"This all stemmed from a small idea that just grew and grew and grew," explains Jacob. Jacob’s been working as a Talent Acquisition Consultant with Specialist Staffing Group, the parent company of Progressive, for over a year now. When the world went into lock-down, he – like many of us – found himself with a lot of free time.

"I think when everything shut down it was a super strange time because nobody can ever really prepare for something like that. My first reaction was obviously concern – for myself, for my loved ones, and for society in general. First and foremost, I felt extremely fortunate that I was working in a job that I could safely do from home. But as we all know, sadly not everyone was in the same situation and as a result a lot of people found themselves out of work."

While Jacob was fortunate enough to continue his work of bringing skilled people together at home, he was still finding himself with a lot of free time. "Obviously, when this all first started you couldn’t just go to a restaurant, or hang out with your friends, so there was a lot of down time. Like a lot of people, I was eager to get something positive out of such a negative situation."

Using our expertise

Jacob explains, "Pre-pandemic, a group of us at Specialist Staffing Group were talking about various projects we could get involved in that would allow us to give back to the community. We were exploring loads of different ideas like visiting animal shelters and taking up various local volunteering initiatives - obviously when we went into lock down none of that was possible."

But as time went on, Jacob realized that the best way to give back to the community was using the skills he had at his fingertips. "As I started to read all these awful stories about the amount of people getting laid off, I felt a lot of empathy," explains Jacob, "Then something hit me. I realized that every day I’m helping people find jobs, explore new opportunities, and advance their careers – and this was what I should be doing in my downtime! I knew that because of what I do, I had the ability to sharpen up resumes and help people showcase themselves. Because I’m so used to doing my job day in day out, I suppose I took for granted how valuable these recruitment skills are."

"So, I just decided to post something on LinkedIn. It was super simple – literally just a post asking anyone out of work, or preparing for a 'what if scenario,' to drop me a message for some personalized advice. This wasn’t about making a deal or building my candidate network, so I wanted to open it up to anyone – no matter the industry they worked in or the skills they had. Putting a post on LinkedIn felt like such a small thing, but instantly like I was doing something worthwhile."

Jacob’s LinkedIn quickly blew up. His post now has over 18,000 impressions, 230 likes, and more than 50 comments from people praising his idea and asking for help. "I got so many messages and was able to help people right off the bat.’

Growing our offering

What started as one simple LinkedIn post quickly grew into something much bigger. "A few of my colleagues, like Danny Cohen, VP at Computer Futures (part of the Specialist Staffing Group family), noticed my idea and decided to replicate it on their networks. Obviously, the more people that post, the wider your reach, and the more people you can help - so I was excited."

Jacob then started speaking to Gemma Branney, Head of CSR at Specialist Staffing Group, to explore how this offering could develop further across our global business. "I spoke to Gemma about how I could encourage more people to get involved. Now, thanks to her and the wider team, we’ve got more than 75 recruitment experts across our business who are selflessly giving up their time and skills to help those who need it."

Already, the impact has been huge. According to Jacob, "We’ve supported people in the STEM industries that we know inside out, we’ve supported people from completely different markets than we’re used to, but most importantly, we’ve supported people who really needed our help at this time. Thanks to these volunteers, people who were out of work have been able to get their resumes updated and get themselves back in the job market."

Giving back to our communities

Jacob explains, "This was born from a simple impulse to just help people who were in need. Right now, at Progressive, we all have skills that are very much in need more than ever before. And I’m so glad that one simple idea has led to a massive group of us helping out and using our talent to get people back to work."

If you’ve found yourself out of work as a result of the pandemic – you can sign up to our free resume service, by clicking here.

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