‘More than 121 CVs in 48 hours’: Employers struggle to cope with deluge of post lockdown job applicants

PUBLISHED: 06:00 21 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:25 21 July 2020

Jamie Minors, of Minors & Brady. Pic: Minors & Brady

Jamie Minors, of Minors & Brady. Pic: Minors & Brady


Recruitment firms and employers in Norfolk are seeing record levels of people applying for jobs as a result of coronavirus.

Natalie Chapman, who runs Contract Personnel recruitment. Pic: Contract PersonnelNatalie Chapman, who runs Contract Personnel recruitment. Pic: Contract Personnel

With more people losing their jobs and others on furlough, hundreds are going for one job often within days of the post being advertised.

Some recruiters are concerned that there are so many suitable applicants in the marketplace, it’s disheartening for many. Others reckon there are too many ‘lazy’ applicants firing off CVs who are not suitable. Meanwhile employers say they’re struggling to cope with sifitng through applications.

It comes as LinkedIn alone is currently listing 7,448 available jobs across all sectors in the UK including 941 in Morrisons supermarket. Although job vacancies plummeted because of the Covid-19 crisis, with some areas like administration, design, sales, catering, media and marketing seeing a fall of 80% of vacant posts, local recruitment firms reckon there are many businesses which have continued to take on new staff throughout lockdown. These include financial services, e-commerce, logistics and warehousing, tech and the healthcare sector.

Katrina Massingham, director of Technique Recruitment Solutions. Pic: Katrina MassinghamKatrina Massingham, director of Technique Recruitment Solutions. Pic: Katrina Massingham

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Jon Tayler, managing director, Process Instrument Sales, based in Bury St Edmunds, which provides component parts and services to all kinds of industries, has just recruited two new people, Craig Hamman and Toni Kirkpatrick and was interviewing on Friday for more.

He said: “After the last job advert, we received an extraordinary amount of applicants for an internal sales role. It does make it harder to go through all the applicants, when you get a couple of hundred responses for every job and 20-30 are really suitable.

Mark Keeler of Keeler Recruitment. Pic: Mark KeelerMark Keeler of Keeler Recruitment. Pic: Mark Keeler

“You always get people who aren’t qualified for the job, people who’ve worked, say in Homebase selling electrical cables who think they can be a site engineer.

“We have remained very busy in lockdown, we provide to all the essential services like power stations, pharmaceutical companies, food and drink firms, all those who are producing in difficult times, we didn’t furlough any of our team and we never discussed in any fashion cutting hours.”

Jamie Minors, managing director of Minors & Brady estate agents in Caister, Dereham and Wroxham, said: “It’s crazy, I’ve never seen a jobs market like it. It excites me and worries me at the same time.

“We are overloaded as a business across our branches and we have been on a recruitment mission to hire four or five more people. We put a post up on Wednesday and by Monday we had more than 100 CVs and counting. This year, we have made six internal promotions and then replaced the roles below with more people. People don’t leave their jobs, they generally leave bad managers and poor working environments. A businesses culture and ethics is the sole reason for staff staying, and I think this has changed in the past 10 years as money, in my opinion, was previously the biggest factor before.

Craig Hamman, who has just got a new job. Pic: Craig HammanCraig Hamman, who has just got a new job. Pic: Craig Hamman

“We have hired three and have two available roles which we are interviewing for. Of the 100+ CVs we have interviewed around 25 people in person, and spoken to perhaps another 30-40 over the phone.”

Mark Keeler, of Keeler Recruitment, Riverside Road, Norwich, said he’d seen the number of job applicants treble, on average, recently receiving 121 applications in 48 hours for a ‘mid tier,’ £25,000 assistant accountant job. “There are a lot of lazy applicants, people who are just chancers, firing off applications. People are applying for jobs with zero of the skills; for example, someone who’s worked for a hotel in customer service who thinks they can be an accountant. There are certainly not enough jobs for all the applicants.”

Katrina Massingham, Technique Recruitment Solutions, Attlebridge, said: “We are seeing a lot more applicants especially for the oil and gas industry, with the oil price declining, we’ve definitely seen more applicants for industries normally difficult to get people for. But with more people going for a job and only one candidate being successful, it is disheartening for people who have the right skill sets, who get declined.”

But Natalie Chapman, who runs Contract Personnel, All Saints Green, Norwich, who specialises in driving and industrial jobs, said applicants for certain posts were still lacking. “We are not seeing the Eastern Europeans for fruit picking, I think in this country it’s because people are still furloughed and also it’s the start of the school holidays which always has an impact.”

Toni Kirkpatrick, who has just got a new job. Pic: Toni KirkpatrickToni Kirkpatrick, who has just got a new job. Pic: Toni Kirkpatrick

Rebecca Headden from R13 Recruitment, Palace Street, Norwich, a Future50 firm, said “We deal mainly in the commercial sector, a lot of essential services that don’t stop in a global pandemic such as financial services; people are looking at saving or protecting their investment, e-commerce has seen a significant growth, logistics and warehousing, also tech and the healthcare sector, those developing new systems for say, a doctor’s appointment on Zoom, anything that is helping us to adapt to coronavirus.”

The successful job applicants in a global pandemic

Craig Hamman and Toni Kirkpatrick have both just been recruited in new jobs after applying in lockdown.

Jon Tayler. Pic: submittedJon Tayler. Pic: submitted

Mr Hamman has been taken on as as a service engineer at Process Instrument Sales. He spent 10 years working as an electrical and instrumentation field services engineer in North Africa in the oil and gas industry.

“I am a believer in the principle that you get out of life what you put in. Hard work, adaptability, integrity and a commitment to constant self-improvement are the ideals that I strive to implement in my own life.”

Toni Kirkpatrick has been taken on as an internal sales administrator for the same firm. A married mum of a 12 year-old daughter, she spent 28 years working for an industrial process control systems firm including 12 years as a purchasing manager and eight years as an accounts assistant/receptionist.

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