The Parameters of Choosing C-level Hiring Post Lockdown

The current scenario has led some companies to reduce/freeze hiring until the economic impact is assessed but several are continuing to recruit in a bid to reduce the pace of business slowdown.


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The COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent country-wide lockdown has severely impacted India's economy. Due to the unprecedented challenges, most of the organizations are already witnessing a significant decline in revenues, falling demand and hence this is likely to lead to job losses. It has become one of the biggest threats for financial markets, taking businesses, startups, and employees across industries for a wild, and notably scary ride.

According to the United Nations Conference on World Trade and Development, the coronavirus epidemic might cost the global economy $1-2 trillion in 2020, which has already started to pinch several sectors. The industries world over are bearing the brunt including Aviation, Hospitality, Retail, Entertainment, Tourism, Logistics, and many others including Financial Services. Leading economists are saying that what lies ahead could be worse than the “Great Recession”, some go so far as to say- a depression lies in the near future. According to them, even if the COVID-19 cases decline, the effects of the lockdown will continue for at least a few quarters and will take around 6-9 months for things to start normalizing. Increasingly, we will notice that businesses will not operate in the same manner and the period of uncertainty and challenges will remain.

The current scenario has led some companies to reduce/freeze hiring until the economic impact is assessed but several are continuing to recruit in a bid to reduce the pace of business slowdown. This said several companies who were not adequately digital-ready are keen to hire Chief Digital / Technology Officers or transformation experts at a quick pace. Hence, there lies an opportunity to be tapped.

The current situation is likely to change some of the competencies that companies will look at while hiring, namely:

Emotional Intelligence

Interviewers will increasingly try to look at EQ (emotional intelligence/quotient) far more than IQ (intelligence quotient) as that’s more critical and will be a key differentiator among candidates. The way you deal with the situations and take decisions calmly which are not only intellectually but also emotionally right will become more pronounced.

Courage of conviction

Organizations are likely to prefer candidates who display the courage of conviction, are calm and composed in their thought process, and don’t fear to make decisions. This time will expect leaders to take the bull by the horns and need to stay the course.


An often used competency, but is most critical at this juncture. As most strategic plans have gone out of the window and been replaced by business continuity plans and quarterly/monthly plans in some cases; leaders will have to be adept at managing change. Also, at this stage with several organizations laying off employees will lead to roles being merged. Hence, employees who can quickly adapt, wear multiple hats, and be open to change will be more successful.

Risk Management and Cost prudence

Leaders must understand how to assess risks and mitigate them. Along with it, they should also be sensible when it comes to being cost prudent. More and more decision making is going to be based on sound business fundamentals, sound, and traditional risk management fundamentals. At such challenging times, the businesses which will survive will possibly the ones who will have cash on their balance sheets. Companies having cash in their reserves will be able to tide through this storm more efficiently and are likely to be more ready when the times change for the good. At the same time, businesses that are over-leveraged may struggle to pass through the coming months and quarters, will find it difficult to service the debt and many may actually fold down. The age-old advice of our forefathers, of conserving cash and building savings, and funnelling savings into investments may come truer than ever before.

Age is just the number

With so much happening all around the world and companies’ future at stake, it calls for extraordinary leadership skills on the part of C-level executives. Hence, we will see organisations throw the concept of age out of the window and paving the way for more experience. Summarily, as Shakespeare quoted in Julius Caesar said: “Experience is the teacher of all things”.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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