COVID-19 Business Case Study 
Rebecca HeaddenDirector of R13 Recruitment shares her thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic and how the business has had to adapt to keep trading.

Published in Norfolk Director Magazine, Summer/Autumn 2020


Ruth Harding and I established R13 in June 2013. We are client centric, focusing on our client and their story, their culture, and their values. We GET them, and we use that knowledge to help them grow by finding new team members who tick the boxes in terms of aptitude and attitude. 

It was scary in the dark!

When the pandemic hit, it was like someone switching off a light switch and it was scary in the dark. But we got it. This crazy global situation came out of nowhere, and our clients were having to fight to keep their organisations trading. No-one knew what on earth would happen, so of course recruiting wasn’t top of the list of priorities. 

To keep trading we kept talking, to anyone who wanted to talk to us. We gathered information. We listened and we did what we could to help. We shared information, developed free resources and we created communities online. And whilst people may think, “well, how did that keep you trading?” – we learnt from every one of those conversations. 

We honed our video interviewing skills and got in front of the camera. We understood from client partners what would be the priority recruitment wise when they came back, and we started to identify and build relationships with those job seekers. We stayed active and visible online, as we wanted people to know who we were when we came out the other side.

The positives from the pandemic

There are positives that have come out of this for us. Our team are tighter than ever before and we’re closer to our clients. Ruth and I have found strength which we never knew existed within us; trust me, fighting for the survival of your business with a young family in tow is no mean feat. We are also stronger as a result and we’ve had time to take stock and recognise ways in which we will move the business forward to make us even more customer focused, as well as being leaner and slicker. 

Reflecting on lessons learnt, keeping a positive mindset is so important. Tough times feel even tougher when your mental resilience wears down. Also, you must keep talking, especially to the experts within their fields who can help you, and your business partner – if you have one. And don’t just share your thoughts on work stuff; share what else is going on so you can support each other from a wider perspective.

I remember a meeting with our business mentor a few weeks into Lockdown. She said to us, “make time for yourselves, you’ll never get this situation again.” We looked at her like she was CRAZY. There was NO WAY we were going to take any time off. We were in FIGHT mode. We spent every waking moment doing everything we could to make sure our business survived – EVERY MOMENT. 

But do you know what, she was right

We should have taken some time. We should have had a bit of down time whilst the rest of the world did. But I guess we’re just not wired like that.”


Rthirteen are commercial recruitment specialists. To find out more contact: T: 01603 338313 E: rebecca.headden@rthirteen.co.ukor ruth.harding@rthirteen.co.uk or visit r13recruitment.co.uk Twitter: @r13recruitment

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