Covid made me a better recruiter

Written by Michelle Corneby



Covid has made me a better recruiter.........  

WHAT??? I hear you ask, how can that be true? 

I became a candidate for a year! 

I have always been fortunate to move from one role to another seamlessly, either by happenstance or by design. I have never job hunted. I moved from private practice to in-house (via a client contact), from the law into recruitment (via a persuasive friend) and from First Counsel to Halebury (being head hunted) and finally from there to Fox Rodney (via established connections). So being truthful I hadn’t ever been a candidate; I hadn’t applied for endless jobs, updated my LI profile to say “Open to opportunities,” searched job websites, reached out to my network hoping for a role or endured countless interviews. But in the Spring of 2020 as a direct result of the Covid pandemic I was furloughed and subsequently made redundant and for the first time in my life I was a candidate. 

The sudden change was a shock and I experienced the feelings I’ve heard my candidates express many times – sadness, anger, grief, disappointment, relief. I had no idea what I might do next because I hadn’t been considering my options. So, I began the journey that so many of you have taken - I talked to countless people, I reached out to my network, I searched websites for suitable jobs, I had coffees (virtual obviously) and interviews. There was optimism and disappointment, there was frustration and a few surprises along the way. Some days I felt completely despondent and other days I felt as free as a bird. During the year, I also took a role as an interim consultant for 4 months, another first for me, so I finally got to experience what it is like to be a temporary member of staff. 

So now when I’m talking to my candidates, I truly understand. I get it. I know it is not easy. 

My journey has a happy ending, and here I am today completing the end of my first week at Cayley Coughtrie where I have re-joined former colleagues and become a business owner for the first time in my life.  It is scary and liberating at the same time, and something that at the start of 2020 I would never have considered. 

So, I have Covid to thank for a few things; quality family time with my children (except for home schooling!), a chance to re-consider my life and values, appreciation for what it is to be a candidate and some time to do some exercise (I never managed to fit that in before!). 

I wasn’t alone on my journey and many people have knowingly (or unknowingly) helped me.  People have reached out to help me, advise me, keep me sane, listen and support. So to name just a few, thank you to Tad Ostrowski, Marta Parraga, Jo Couchman, Jerry Harris, Nicola Creighton, Stephen Rodney, Dan Flynn, Catherine Roughan, Tom Metcalfe, Chris Cayley, Andy Wintle, Clare Beresford, Peter Hall, Eve Kells, Mary Bonsor, James Moore, Jamie McGregor, Jonathan Beak, Sadia Salam, Kate Partridge, Fiona Birt-Llewellin, and Helen Burness. 

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