Banner Default Image

The Company Still Needs to Operate! SMEs and Hiring in a Pandemic

The Company Still Needs to Operate! SMEs and Hiring in a Pandemic

about 3 years ago
Puzzle 226743 1920

​COVID-19 is playing havoc with businesses globally. In Japan, however, though the market has slowed tremendously, many of the managers I speak with are taking an optimistic “wait and see” approach.

The challenge that an SME faces, however, is that if a current employee quits the company or needs replaced, nothing can be done because HQ has imposed a global hiring freeze. Local market considerations haven’t been considered. Managers find they still have a business to run: month-end closing still happens, payroll needs processed, and goods need delivered to shops.

If you’re a small to medium sized business still needing to get the work done to keep the business profitable, here are some recruitment ideas for you:

  • Keep interviewing prospective employees even if it’s by video or phone. Hiring freezes will thaw. The other point with interviewing is to keep your brand name in the market, stay connected with the market and what your competitors are up to.

  • When interviewing, send positive messages to interviewees, even if the business has hit a tough patch. You want candidates to see the company as a beacon of light should you hire them now or in the future. Everyone knows there are challenges--try to share the positives that are happening in your company or industry.

  • Talk to your recruitment partners and ask them to reduce their fees during this crisis. This might not be possible in all cases, but when times are hard, companies often ask vendors for more favorable terms to keep, and sometimes deepen, a professional relationship

  • Hire temporary professionals. This helps reduce the workload for your team, lowers overtime costs, and keeps other employees from quitting when the stress levels get too high. Also, it’s an excellent chance to “try before you buy” and make sure the employee works out.

It’s not all doom and gloom. In this candidate short market, prospective employees in this market will receive less offers and have more reasonable expectations. For those companies that do hire, now can be a great opportunity.

If you’re running a SME in Japan, drop me an email or text me. Let me know what challenges you’re facing or other topics you’d like to know about. As the Managing Director of FocusCore Group, I’ve helped companies in Japan for over 20 years focus on their core business. Feel free to reach out for comments or suggestions at