By Gayle Young and Kelly Alderson
When Melqui Chaves was laid off as a web developer in March due to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, he worried about finding a new job in the middle of a global pandemic that is impacting his native São Paulo particularly hard. Brazil, which has the third-highest COVID-19 infection rate in the world, was grappling with 12 percent unemployment before the epidemic and some forecasts suggest that figure may double, with half of the country’s estimated 16,000 death toll centered in São Paulo state.
But Chaves was able to re-connect with Revelo, an innovative recruitment company he had previously used to find employment. Soon after COVID-19 hit Brazil in mid-March, Revelo launched a series of initiatives to shift newly unemployed workers into increasingly in-demand jobs such as digital technology and health care.
After posting his profile on a new Revelo job search platform for workers laid off due to COVID-19, Chaves was invited to a one-hour video interview using the newly created Revelo Remote suite that allows companies to conduct their entire recruiting process online. Within days he was hired to design and maintain web platforms for InterPlayers group, a hub that connects health-care providers and pharmaceutical industries.
“As it turned out, I got a job less than a month after being laid off—in the middle of a pandemic,” said Chaves, who started his new position in May.
Solutions for a New Era
COVID-19 has added a new layer of services to Revelo’s business model, according to cofounder Lucas Mendes. The recruiting solutions company gained success by recruiting skilled workers through social media and online marketing, then matching them to jobs offered by its 15,000 client companies, taking care of vetting and logistics. It specializes in placing skilled workers, such as web designers, software developers, marketers, and financial managers.
Last year, Revelo raised $15.8 nillion in a series B round led by IFC, with participation from FJLabs and Dalus Capital, as well as earlier investors Valor Capital Group and Seek. The company plans to use the funds to expand beyond São Paulo.
Now, the company is responding to the economic challenges of COVID-19. At the start of the crisis, there was a 400 percent increase in job seekers using the company’s platform—but company recruitment dropped by 23 percent. Revelo doesn’t see it as a crash—more of a swerve.
Mendes said company leaders brainstormed in the early days of the crisis to determine how to expand and shift priorities in a fast-changing job market. They decided to launch four new initiatives in the first three weeks of quarantine: a job search platform for skilled workers laid off due to the pandemic; the Revelo Remote suite to conduct video interviews; a public web forum for teleworkers to share their experiences; and a new recruiting platform for health-care workers to meet growing demand.
“We prioritized speed,” said Mendes. “We launched platforms and then refined them as we went along. It was learn as you go.”
Adaptability is Key
Such quick thinking and adaptability will likely be key to Brazil’s economic recovery from the virus. Almost 80 percent of companies in a national industry poll reported a downturn in business—and more than three-quarters have closed or reduced operations as they grapple with the crisis.
Like many, Mendes believes that although the pandemic is causing great human and economic damage, it also will create new job and business opportunities now that the world has become aware of the power and importance of online services.
“We believe the demand will eventually grow again because of the new need for online activities, including education programs and services,” he said. “Everyone is seeing more [online] traffic so we will need more workers who can fill new needs.”
This was the case for InterPlayers, the pharmaceutical hub that hired Chaves to help with web design.
InterPlayers’ team leader Fábio Augusto Falavinha said their clients in the pharmaceutical industry are responding to new demands, as the pandemic's quarantine drives more business online.
“For this reason, we have good expectations for opening new job opportunities in the next few months,” he said.
The company used Revelo’s online filters to select the best candidates for positions they were looking to fill, and Revelo Remote software to conduct video interviews.
“The fast dynamic of remote meetings, especially in this difficult moment that we are going through, it helps us to move faster,” Augusto Falavinha said. Since the crisis began, InterPlayers has hired eight new employees using Revelo, including Chaves.
Chaves agrees his new job is a “great fit.” Revelo has “been a true career partner for me in this very difficult moment that we are living,” he said.
Revelo co-founder Lucas Mendes offers tips to unemployed workers during this uncertain time:
- Revise your resume and your interview pitch so they align with high-demand skills, such as agile methodologies, analytic tools and other web-based expertise. As companies switch to online services they need help building, maintaining, and integrating websites and digital platforms.
- Don’t have web-based experience? Now is the perfect time to improve your skills. Mendes says there are thousands of online platforms that offer tutoring – and many of them are free. “They offer you an opportunity to strengthen your skillset during these strange times,” he said.
- If you have been laid off, don't let that spoil your motivation to find a new job, or lead to awkwardness during an interview process. “Given the current situation, being let go as part of a layoff doesn't carry the stigma it once did,” Mendes said. Future employers will be as interested to know what you did during the layoff, as what you did before it.
Advice for businesses downsizing due to the crisis:
- Try partnering with online recruiters to help your departing employees take the next step in their careers. “Many such platforms [like Revelo] are offering outplacement services, complete with coaching sessions, upskilling programs and interview training,” he said. “It won't cost you much and will definitely go a long way in building goodwill with both the 'leave team' and the 'stay team.'” As the economy eventually recovers, you may want those employees back – with new skills that you need.
Published in May 2020