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A Time for Rebirth: Rethink and Refocus Your Career
Posted By Kevin Wheeler On February 26, 2009 @ 7:00 am In Featured | 5 Comments
Tough times offer opportunities that cannot exist in good times. The brightness of good times means that shadows are deep and lots of creative ideas and innovations lie in the dark shade cast by the glow of success.
But when clouds roll in, suddenly many things are revealed. We are now in such a time.
This morning I went to my favorite bookstore in San Francisco and sadly learned it is closing in a few weeks. The age of books is probably over; their manufacturing process consumes water, trees, toxic inks, and gasoline for transportation. We now have a new model — e-books delivered via the Kindle and Sony Reader and even via the iPhone.
Not as satisfying to us old guys, but the way it will be.
Manufacturing plants close for several reasons including automation, lower consumption, and more efficient processes. Durability, recycling, and re-using change the economic model.
Cars last 10-15 years now, can be largely assembled by robots, and are increasingly recyclable. Furniture, houses, most material things only need replacing due to the pressure of fashion. The cycles of fashion will slow and sustainability will be our watchword.
So what does all this have to do with recruiting?
Maybe everything. If talent is an increasingly rare resource, we will need to sustain, develop, and engage people more than we have in decades.
Employers will hire fewer people as regular employees and then make sure they are taken care of. The age of disposable people, although hard to see right now, is also over. We will hire more carefully and develop more completely than we have. This means recruiters will have to be better at assessing candidates and at aligning personalities to corporate cultures. Many jobs will be performed by contracted employees, leased employees, and consultants.
But these people will also be working for organizations that nurture and value them. We could be entering a very good time with better opportunities for many people.
Finding people with specific skills will most likely become less critical for some positions and more critical for others. The recruiting models will be far more complex than they tend to be now. Good employers will try harder to anticipate needs and re-skill workers as much as they can. It will simply be a cheaper alternative to hiring. Internal transfers and movement will increase along with this and recruiters will be finding and placing people from inside companies as well as from outside.
If you are a recruiter today, what should you do? What does the future look like?
First, I believe there will be a need for fewer of us overall, but those who remain in the profession need to build a set of skills that are deeper and more strategic than they are today.
Here are some of my thoughts depending on whether you are currently working as a recruiter or if you have been laid-off and are thinking of changing careers.
If you are working today…
If you are unemployed today…
If there is anything I know about what’s coming it is this: we are in a new era when learning the new and forgetting the old will be a primary skill.
Grasp new ideas, even if you don’t at first understand them. Waiting will just put you behind a huge wave that will be hard to surf.
My best example is Twitter. This seemed like a pretty limited and, frankly, dumb tool when I first saw it two years ago. But I could see that it had potential. If enough people began to use it, it presented a novel way to engage candidates and connect with them. I presented it at a recruiting conference as a potential recruiting tool and was met with skepticism and even some disapproval.
Today, it is becoming a mainstream tool for recruiting and search. It is even being touted as a replacement for Google!
Time waits for no man, as the saying goes, and it has never been truer.
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