Nvidia's Tel Aviv offices

Following halt due to war, Israeli high-tech companies resume recruitment

High-tech companies that have resumed recruiting tell of a slower, more flexible, and sensitive process and the desire of candidates to be interviewed for jobs and return to a certain work routine. In the defense industries, the need for software, hardware, and automation development personnel is only increasing.

With the beginning of Israel’s war with Hamas a month ago, in spite of the initial shock, the high-tech industry did indeed continue to operate, voluntarily, remotely, and in a limited format. However, in regards to hiring, naturally - everything stopped. Job seekers did not search and companies froze their open positions.
"Even before the outbreak of the war, we saw a weakness in the high-tech industry, with the most severe damage to startups, and a more moderate damage to traditional IT. In the first week of the war, we saw a complete slowdown in recruitment, throughout the economy. The shock was complete. In the second week, we saw a trickle, and starting from the third week, a creeping increase. We estimate that the volumes will return in the coming months to about half of the previous period, depending on the development of the war, actions taken by the Israeli government and the treasury, and additional macro data," said Ziv Wolfowitz, Deputy CEO of AllJobs, the largest job site group in Israel.
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משרדי אנבידיה NVIDIA תל אביב
משרדי אנבידיה NVIDIA תל אביב
Nvidia's Tel Aviv offices
(Photo: Netanel Tobias)
"In the first two weeks of fighting, we stopped all recruitment processes because we felt it was simply not appropriate to interview while we are all in national mourning," says Keren Raphael, Head of Israel People & Places at Intuit. But after a short time candidates who were already in the recruitment process with the company approached it proactively to continue interviewing. "As gradually as possible, we built the processes. We feel that precisely at this time, when many organizations have frozen jobs, it is important, despite the difficulty, to continue recruiting for those who need it and move the economy forward."
After the stagnation, employers began recruiting 'under the radar' with an apology: an explanation of what the company does, volunteer positions, cyber, drones, or essential products. "Already from the third week after the war began, you can see that there are a few more job postings, even from companies not in the defense fields - the beginning of a new recruitment routine," says Maya Buchnik, career consultant and mentor at Drushim IL. According to a survey conducted by 125 recruiters and managers, 26% of companies have frozen all positions, 35% are recruiting as usual, 5% are recruiting more and the rest are recruiting for some positions.
The stagnation in the market also came from the candidates who simply did not search and did not submit resumes for the open positions. In the last week, it has been recognized that candidates are returning to submit resumes after realizing that there are no layoffs or absences without pay in the high-tech industry, says Dror Litvak, CEO of Experis. "In the first weeks, the numbers approached zero. No one was available to even hear about openings for jobs. Today, people are returning to submit resumes and we are seeing a thawing of about 20% of the jobs in the high-tech industry. However, in high-tech, as of today, we are seeing a 70% decrease in the number of jobs since the beginning of the war in the number of open positions.”
While in high-tech there is a drastic decrease in recruitment, in the defense industries the need for software development, hardware, and automation personnel only increases. In the three giants alone: Elbit Systems, Rafael, and IAI, there are over 700 open jobs in these fields.
The security situation has meant that there is a greater willingness on the part of people in the high-tech industry who might not have done it in normal times - to submit resumes to security companies. "People feel that they want to be more significant, to engage in contributing to the security of the state. In the month of October alone we employed over 60 employees in the defense industries in the fields of development." Another area where recruitment continues almost unchanged is Cyber, where like in the defense industries, the ongoing damage before the war was minimal. "In Cyber, there is a shortage of workers mainly because the market is looking for people with more than five years of experience. This is a field that has a shortage all over the world," Litvak says.
The high-tech market came to this war when it was already in a global crisis as well as a local crisis following the judicial reform that led, among other things, to a drastic decrease in foreign investments. There were layoffs in many companies in the industry and therefore more job seekers. The companies that continue to recruit even today see this as a mission - to enable the continued existence of the economy and provide candidates with employment opportunities. "We definitely see a desire to be interviewed among the candidates. For unemployed candidates or those who fear for their continued employment stability - the war brought another dimension of difficulty," says Yael Aviram Rosenfeld, the Director of Israel recruitment at Nvidia, which continues to recruit employees with 300 open positions in Israel. "We continue the recruitment activity in a way that is adapted to the complex situation in which both our teams and candidates and potential candidates find themselves. Nvidia is committed to its operations and its investment in Israel, and the growth efforts continue. I think that the return to recruitment gives employees and candidates a sense of a strong civilian front, of certainty and of progress, in a period in which there are quite a few concerns and general anxiety about the future."
Job postings are less "cheerful"
Today, four weeks into the war, most of the organizations have returned to recruiting but the processes have changed, there is a real difficulty both among the recruiters, the interviewers, and also among the candidates - extraordinary sensitivity is required. "The reactions of the recruiters range from a severe feeling of discomfort, embarrassment, and enormous difficulty in contacting the candidates in order not to catch them in their pain or mourning for loved ones, and in order not to disturb the candidates on the battlefield in the reserves. Recruiters in organizations are faced with a situation in which many candidates are indeed unavailable due to service in the reserves, and many recruitment processes that were in progress were interrupted all at once," says Morit Rozen, a recruitment expert and leader of behavioral-situational interview workshops.
The companies that continue to recruit attest that the whole approach to the recruitment process is different in days of war. "Starting from the way we post the job on LinkedIn, which is much more tailored and less 'jubilant', through contacting passive candidates, a process which we had stopped and are now returning to carry out, in a very careful and sensitive manner, to the process itself which is more flexible, inclusive and adapted to the situation. Although we are already experienced in virtual recruiting, both due to globalization and since the pandemic period, I didn't think I would ever have to stop an interview to enter the bomb shelter and later return to it, but that has already happened. We start with a very open dialogue, it is clear to all of us that it is difficult and every expression of emotion is legitimate and received with understanding and a virtual hug," says Raphael.
At Monday.com, where there are over 100 open positions in Israel in the fields of Development, Product Management, Design, Sales, Marketing, and more, they continue at a normal recruitment pace while exercising discretion and sensitivity. "We see that a great many people are looking for stability in this period, perhaps more than ever. We have developed a number of tools in the company that help us assess who can be interviewed and who is emotionally available to be interviewed. In the end, this is a very individual and dynamic situation that changes at a rapid pace. The principle that guides us throughout the process is the maximum maintenance of flexibility, sensitivity, and continuous and open communication. Already in the first interactions we verify with the candidate whether and when it is correct to contact them. It is important for us to encourage a sense of security for our employees as well as for our candidates and make it clear that we understand that the situation affects everyone differently and we will make the maximum adjustments to maintain the recruitment process," says Shiran Nawi, Chief People & Legal Officer at Monday.com. The company moved the interviews to Zoom and the initial interaction with the candidate is done in a message that refers to the situation and makes it possible to set a time that is suitable for them for a telephone interview.
At Nvidia, the recruitment processes move at a slower pace. "Before the war, we did face-to-face interviews, now we conduct more interviews online, and we have full operational flexibility to move and adjust the interviews according to the circumstances. In addition, both for candidates and interviewers it can be very challenging to 'disconnect' their thoughts for about an hour or two hours during an interview and focus on the professional field. This is especially why we dedicate the beginning of the interview to this and give the proper place to the fact that these are not ordinary times," says Aviram Rosenfeld.
They signed a work agreement - and went to the reserves
The extensive recruitment of the reserves has led to the fact that many workers are missing - some of them in key positions. Admittedly, the recruiting companies are still not talking about replacing employees who were temporarily recruited into the reserves and are even trying to allow candidates who were recruited into the reserves to complete the processes in the company - but as the fighting drags on, the estimates will change. In some cases, candidates who have already been accepted to new jobs have been recruited into the reserves and have not yet started working in their new positions. "We do not recruit or replace key personnel in place of those who were recruited to the reserves or alternatively, who are part of a large team of Monday employees who are now accompanying non-profits or emergency and rescue organizations as part of our aid activities," says Nawi. "In terms of the recruitment process, we make all the necessary adjustments to take into account the specific situation each candidate is in, both physically and emotionally. Even if the recruitment process is interrupted in the middle, we will reserve the candidate's right to be interviewed and continue at another time without any harm to them. For example, one of the candidates we were in contact with was recruited to the reserves. Every week the recruiter contacted him because other candidates in the meantime progressed through the stages. After about three weeks he returned to the process and to our delight we found the right timing and in the coming days he will come to the office for a face-to-face interview."
At Nvidia, they say that in the last three weeks, there have been several cases in which new employees started their new positions while in reserve service. "We make sure to contact them by phone, make available the resources to Nvidia, of course, pay them a normal salary and give them the legitimacy to be currently occupied with their reserve service, and the formal absorption procedure for the company will be carried out later when it becomes possible.”
At the startup Semperis, they are also not recruiting temporary employees at this stage as a backup for key personnel who are in the reserves. Regarding job candidates, they allow for the postponement of the interview without removing their candidacy. They even hired a new employee who started working and then was immediately recruited into the reserves and are currently waiting for his return.
Although currently the companies do not plan to recruit temporary workers to replace workers who are in the reserves, there is a fear that as the fighting continues there will be no choice and organizations will be forced to do so in order to continue operating. Candidates recruited into the reserves are also in a vulnerable position as others continue to sort themselves out and they may discover when they return home safely that the positions have already been filled. "In a long war, employees who play significant roles in the reserves have a great exposure to harm. The law for equal opportunities and the prevention of discrimination formally protects the rights, but we know from the past that during such times, the cases of employers who prefer to recruit employees who do not do reserves, women who do not have to take care of small children at home, and others will multiply that less ‘support’ the war effort. This is where the mobilization of all of us is important both during the war and after it," says Rozen.
Such temporary jobs can also be an entry point for job seekers. For those people who are now looking for a job and are debating whether to send a resume Buchnik unequivocally recommends sending it. "Those who are not working should probably look for a job and those who are working may not be doing well at the moment at work, so I think there are many who are debating about the search right now and that is why there are fewer resumes for each job,” she says.
Despite the decrease in the number of open jobs, high-tech is still alive and kicking, and if we can learn anything from the past about the job market after crises, it is that at the end of the crisis, there is a boom. After the war, there is expected to be renewed growth and with it, again, a shortage of workers. "The period will pass. High-tech will receive a serious boost in my opinion. There will be a shortage of workers. Now we have a few difficult months ahead of us and the state needs to provide incentives for the employment of workers," says Litvak.