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What is the impact of COVID-19 on hiring?
While the situation continues to evolve with COVID-19 and hiring for consulting firms, you should know that so far we are not seeing major changes to the overall hiring in consulting at the larger firms – firms are still posting jobs for experienced hires and firms are still planning for campus recruiting.
In the event that COVID-19 becomes worse and triggers an economic downturn even as bad as the one in 2008, our team’s experience with MBB and other major firms during this time is that they remain consistent in terms of hiring. In fact, in March, Kevin Sneader (the current Managing Partner/CEO) of McKinsey was asked about McKinsey and other consulting firms’ hiring practices during the last recession and he said McKinsey’s biggest regret was not being even more aggressive in hiring (they wished they hired even more than they did).
The reason is that consulting firms will stay in business and once there is an uplift in the economy, they need to make sure to hire for the staffing pyramid structure they have in place or they can’t be successful years down the road (when they need project leaders and managers to lead cases – those who would be hired as consultants now).
In addition, offers that were made were honored. Unlike other industries, consulting firms didn’t take back any offers they made. We find this is happening now as firms are confirming with the incoming classes about honoring the signed offers. I would continue to move forward with your job search and submitting applications (use Glassdoor, LinkedIn and our list of firms if you are looking for more firms that are hiring), knowing that interviews will likely be via video or pushed back a bit.
It very much feels like a waiting period, especially for the smaller firms. Several clients in our community continue to be asked to be interviewed, but some interviews will be later in the year. This is a great time to focus on networking for the firms who aren’t actively hiring/interviewing since consultants are not traveling and have more time to spare.