Find your nearest training branch here

Recruitment in Northern Ireland during lockdown

Recruiting in Northern Ireland during a pandemic

Written by: Jessica Morrison with excerpts from Nicola Murray

So here we are one year on from where we left off.

This time last year we got word that the country was going to be put into a national lockdown, with uncertainty of when we would resume to any form of normality.

Armed with desktop computers, work mobiles, and to be honest half of the stationery cupboard (our apologies to HR!). The few days that followed lockdown were a blur, we set up home offices from kitchen tables, bedrooms, and converted garages and attempted to settle into working routines.

Now, fast forward to a year onwards, where we have been in and out of several lockdowns and periods of working from home.

As one of Northern Irelands’ leading Recruitment and Training agencies, we wanted to reflect on how this has affected our working lives and our daily tasks.

Recruitment in Northern Ireland took a nosedive, with many businesses having to close due to being deemed as “non-essential”,  in fact, the number of people on unemployment benefits doubled (even with government support schemes like Furlough).


Contact Rutledge Recruitment & Training

Then we saw a rise of vacancies and employers commencing their recruitment processes with us again. More and more we saw businesses branch onto bigger things and simply adapted, not just how they manage their company but what they were managing.

We saw manufacturing and sportswear companies producing PPE and uniforms for healthcare workers, local distilleries producing branded sanitisers and soon enough it became the “in” thing to have your company’s logo on a face mask.

The interesting thing about the workforce is, it is subject to change. As generations evolve and products/services become increasingly competitive, our working environments must grow with it or risk falling behind.

As people who were at the forefront of Recruitment, we were keen to understand how our Team has managed these times of adaptation and uncertainty.  Here are their top tips for motivation:

  • Write a list of small, attainable tasks and go for a walk at lunchtime (Nicola L, Domiciliary Care Co-Ord).
  • Just think about how many less cups of coffee and tea you don’t have to make not being in the office! (Eilish, Recruitment Compliance Officer).
  • Begin a weekly “wellbeing” Zoom, focused solely on building your team together and genuinely supporting each other. Lockdown has been a challenge but we engage so well and this has brought us closer (Nicola M, Head of Recruitment).
  • The weekly quizzes with the team has helped massively (Lidia, Recruitment Resourcer).


With the Recruitment in Northern Ireland picking up again and many businesses now requiring staff, we are delighted to be working with some well-established and excellent clients (Moore Concrete, Huhtamaki, and Camden) who have the capacity to hire Production / Warehouse / General Operatives and Labourers. If you are out of work and find yourself needing to pick up a temporary – longer-term job, please apply as a candidate here!

Additionally, we are continuing to support the Healthcare sector and have ongoing agency and permanent, specialist roles available. You can apply to be a Domiciliary Care worker, allowing you to support those vulnerable in your community. We offer training, so the experience isn’t essential for this role, just a friendly personality!

With our Recruitment growing, this means we have a spare seat* to join our team as a Recruitment Consultant in Armagh.  This job is target-driven and can be demanding but is highly rewarding and allows you to earn commission on top of a basic salary, we will consider any contracts (part-time, job share, or full-time) and you will be part of a highly supportive team with an emphasis on wellbeing.

*Disclaimer - for now, your seat will be virtual until we prepare to reopen our branches.

View the job here!

Here is a bit of advice from our Head of our Recruitment Nicola Murray:

“To join our ever-growing, successful Recruitment team I would ideally like you to be: loyal, a positive force within the team, to do your best always – I will never ask for anymore.

It is imperative that you have the company’s best interest always in mind.  Always ask for help if needed, the greatest of recruiters are still asking for help day and daily. Our roles are so transparent that every day is different, and with every new day will bring a new challenge.

Lastly and most importantly, always go the extra mile. To be a successful recruiter you must throw your heart and soul into the role. You will get out tenfold what you put in if you try your best.

But, most importantly ensure that throughout all of the above you are having fun. I know these roles are demanding but work should always be fun. You won’t just be more fulfilled if you’re having fun, you will be more productive.”