Ten MORE Tips for Recruiting During the Recover

SSON News and Analysis
Posted: 07/09/2012

Back by popular demand… We had so many good responses to last week’s Top Ten Tips for Recruiting During the Recovery that we had little option but to put together a sequel. So here we go: more helpful hints from the experts as to how your organization can pick up the talent it needs to get it through the economic labyrinth ahead… Take it away, folks…

1. Generosity can save you money

It’s been very much a buyer’s market in recruitment recently - but that shouldn’t dissuade you from erring on the side of generosity when it comes to talking terms with the really top talent. Just because the market’s tightened up significantly in general terms, doesn’t mean the competition isn’t just as keen as ever to attract the very best employees - a refusal to budge on the top end of what you’re able to offer potential new staff could end up proving very costly as you either fail to secure that key talent or see it drift off over the horizon sixth months down the line, lured by a better offer…

"Offer a fair deal…and save money!" advises Nick Walrond, Managing Director at Sanderson Recruitment Plc. "Because there is so much competition for roles it is very tempting for recruiters to secure someone on a significantly lower salary than the current market value - but this is really just a false economy. Recruiting individuals is a big investment and having to replace someone is a waste of money, time and effort. It is really important to make sure that remuneration is commensurate with the market and that your new employee is truly happy with the offer. The reason is simply that you will risk losing that person as soon as another opportunity materializes which offers a salary more closely matched with their level of experience."

2. Don’t go long-term if you don’t have to

Just as an increasing number of jobseekers are only looking for part-time or short-term contracts ( see the first installment of this article for more on this - http://www.ssonetwork.com/topic_detail.aspx?id=6622&ekfrm=6 ), it might make sense for you to consider these options too. For many reasons - such as forthcoming M&A activity; possible transformation programs looming; new systems implementation; perhaps the possibility of an outsourcing deal shaking up some of your departments - your organization might want to maintain a fairly flexible headcount even at relatively high levels. Tying yourself down to long-term contracts when none is needed can be expensive, inefficient and unwieldy.

"If employers are unable to find the ideal candidate then they should consider alternative employment options. It may be most suitable to employ temporary workers that can quickly and easily come in and keep operations running as normal until a full-time solution is found. Alternatively, if workloads are likely to lessen in the near future, e.g. the work is seasonal then perhaps a longer-term contract worker would be a sufficient replacement during busy periods," says Steven Kirkpatrick, Managing Director of Adecco staffing in UK and Ireland.

3. Be prepared for the "reluctant jobseeker"

Sudden changes to the economy shake up the job-market in many ways, but one of the most profound is the injection of new types of jobseeker into the fray. A wide variety of new experiences and new ways of thinking come into the picture for recruiting organizations - but they can be accompanied by a whole host of different challenges facing the jobseekers themselves…

"The issue of quantity has been fuelled the past two years by a new dynamic to the labor market: the reluctant jobseeker - the individual that has served an organization diligently for many years climbing the internal career ladder, performing different internal roles and earning a year-on-year salary increase to reward them for their loyalty. These are the ones that seem to struggle most; type-cast through a combination of the stigma of redundancy, not being considered for potential roles because their salary expectation is too high, they're unlikely to be sufficiently agile to 'fit' culturally into a new organization, they live in the wrong geographic location or they have not worked in the industry sector that the potential employer demands. Going forwards; both applicants and employers need to be willing to show flexibility and focus on positives and where value can be achieved," according to Robert Richards of Devonshire Communications.

4. LinkIn - yesterday, if not before…

SSON is on LinkedIn, along with over 53,000,000 others - many of whom are actively searching for their next professional challenge. Social networking might still have a few "downtime" connotations in the stuffier corners of the business world, but this is business networking - and, really, if you’re not on LinkedIn by now what actually are you doing?

"Link with your LinkedIn network. Daily updates – indicating what you’re working on – update your network. Grow and manage your network daily. And, reach out to your network and search for potential matches to your jobs. LinkedIn is one of the most awesome tools to happen to recruiting in many years… use it and build it daily. If you’re not active on LinkedIn you’re probably not a serious recruiter," enthuses Greg Bennett, global practice director for The Mergis Group.

5. … And put the pieces together with Jigsaw et al

Of course, LinkedIn isn’t the only online community recruiters should be aware of. There are plenty of other sites with useful data and helpful applications to assist you in your hunt for talent. Even a familiarity with less typically business-focused networks like Facebook and MySpace can give you an advantage by opening doors to specific interest-groups, geographies etc (not to mention helping with any viral marketing you might be deploying).

"Another great tool is Jigsaw," says The Mergis Group‘s Greg Bennett. "Frequently you’ll see a profile on LinkedIn that really looks like a strong match and you’d rather not use an InMail for a variety of reasons. Jigsaw is, basically, a barter sight for business cards. I’ll see a name on LinkedIn and then search it on Jigsaw and usually find a direct phone number and email address for the person… very handy tool… While LinkedIn is my primary source site I also utilize others such as Plaxo, Xing, Facebook and to a much lesser degree, Twitter. "

6. Hire in haste, repent at leisure

OK, as noted last week, you’ve got to get a move on when planning your recruitment strategy for the recovery and beyond - but that doesn’t mean you should rush into the actual hiring activity too. Panicking when facing gaps in your team, or when worrying about letting a flood of new talent flow through your fingers, won’t help your organization through the next months and years. Take a deep breath and ignore sudden rushes of blood to the head; hire with tomorrow in mind, not just the next five minutes.

"While the prospect of increased workloads may at first be daunting, employers must not succumb to the temptation to indiscriminately fill vacancies irrationally or as soon as possible," cautions Adecco’s Steven Kirkpatrick. "Even when it seems that candidates are lining up at the door, employers should never rush into their hiring decisions. Just because they feel that time is not on their side; inevitably this will only impact negatively on other staff through increasing their workload and could affect the business in the long term. Poor hires can be expensive too; often lowering productivity and in the worst cases employers may be forced to re-hire again if the candidate is really not up to the required standard."

7. Be aware of the bigger picture - understand the recruiting sector

Obviously, it helps pretty much everyone in business to have an understanding of the broader economic picture; however, those working in recruitment should recognize the benefits of understanding not just those sectors into or from which they’re recruiting, but also the recruitment sector itself. Significant changes are occurring within the industry that affect both the market and the ways in which recruiters operate within it. Miss the bigger picture while you’re busy rolling out your sector-specific pitch, and you could also miss the boat entirely.

Robert Richards of Devonshire says that his company "is approaching the recovery conscious of three core themes. Firstly the sense that the 'War on Talent' continues unabated. Secondly; organisations should be (even) more flexible in the way they on-board their talent and thirdly; perhaps the very way in which a worker builds a 'career' has changed its' dynamic forever with the need to earn a living becoming more pressing than building a career."

8. Using external recruiters doesn’t mean you don’t have to be flexible

There’s a definite temptation when outsourcing your recruitment to insist on very rigid parameters in terms of compensation and incentives for potential hires - but setting a price and sticking to it might not make the most of what your recruiters can do. Allowing a bit of flexibility into what your providers can offer, in terms of access to things like bonus packages, pension provision, healthcare offerings etc, might well mean they can secure top talent at a lower salary level than you’d budgeted for.

"Many clients seem to believe that the market is flooded with great talent and that as such they can stubborn with their demands," warns Rob Grant of Dragonfly Recruitment. "Good people are still hard to find and employers who show flexibility be it in working arrangements, remuneration or other aspects of the recruitment process will find themselves more likely to find the perfect person."

9. Look inside as well as out

As a successful organization you’ve got to be pretty confident of your ability to hire and retain talent right from the very first day it walks through your hallowed doors - so if you’ve spent all this money, time and effort on attracting raw talent why not try to utilize it when seeking to fill new vacancies? Especially if you have access to a global talent pool - there’s no point splashing out on bringing people in if the answer to your worries is already lurking in one of your offshore engine-rooms.

"Employers should not overlook the possibility of internal promotions or re-structures. Although business cannot afford to "just leave it" when business picks up, employers should consider that they may have sufficient resources within. Be clear on just how much work there is to be done and who has the potential bandwidth to assist in a role outside of their original remit," recommends Adecco’s Steven Kirkpatrick.

10. Make your voice heard, all down the chain…

Everyone wants the ear of the top brass - so ensuring you’ve got it becomes all the more difficult (and of course all the more important) - but really it’s advisable to make sure as many people as possible, boardroom to mailroom, understand the importance to the organization of coherent and cohesive recruitment. After all, everyone can do their part to make the recruiting process and the talent-retention element as smooth and successful as possible.

"Smart hiring decisions will help build a more productive workforce with better retention; which in turn helps build good company morale and saves the company money long-term. When the economy eventually turns around, employee goodwill will be of paramount importance," urges Nick Walrond of Sanderson Recruitment.

SSON News and Analysis
Posted: 07/09/2012

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