If you’re like some corporate recruiting leaders before the current downturn hit, you had your staff balanced with a solid mix of regular full-time staff, supplemented with contract staff to get you through the hiring peaks.
But maybe you weren’t quite as fortunate, and your crew was heavily loaded with regular staff recruiters, who were going full steam to keep up with the incredible hiring requisition load. Or maybe you have shed the contractors, but even your remaining staff is struggling to stay busy. Unfortunately, now that the economy has gone south, they’re running half the req loads they once did. Not only are they questioning their own job security, but you’re constantly fending off queries from your boss, the rest of HR, and maybe even the CFO as to just what the recruiters are doing, and why should you be maintaining the same staff you had when the current workload has shrunken so dramatically. Sounding familiar?
Hopefully, back in January of this year, you took Lou Adler’s sound advice that “hiring will start to recover in Q2, 2009, and now is the time to rebuild your recruiting team and massively upgrade your sourcing and hiring processes.” Perhaps you’ve done just that, and are now well positioned to address any coming business increase. Or possibly you didn’t get that opportunity, or your business still hasn’t begun to bounce back.
In any event, you do have alternatives — methods you can use to gainfully deploy your staff resources in ways that clearly, and measurably, demonstrate their ongoing value to the business. The challenges will be different, depending on the size of the company you’re in. In a small firm, you are likely to have more latitude in initiating change — but possibly fewer resources available. In a larger firm with more resources, you are likely to need to build a support coalition of colleagues, business partners, or executives to create the right atmosphere for change. But in either situation, it’s critical that you build the “business case” — show the ROI through well-tracked and supportable metrics.
In my more than 20 years of recruiting leadership, predominantly in hi-tech, I’ve had ample opportunity to face this challenge, given the cyclical nature of that business. And as you can imagine, I willingly responded to a blog posting earlier this year asking other recruiting veterans for their experiences in facing the same issue. 13 of us shared our stories, from a variety of industries and backgrounds. The following are a few snapshots of some of the proven practices and strategies that have been successfully implemented by others to preserve their key recruiting assets during previous business slowdowns.
Some of these are creative twists on previous themes, while others represent really out-of-the-box thinking. [NOTE: All of them are predicated on the assumption that you know your staff --- their skills, strengths/weaknesses, and backgrounds. If you're new in the role, you might want to begin with a resume review and light career discussion with each of them.]
I do hope you find some of the suggestions below fascinating, creative, and useful. I will be presenting a seminar/workshop on this very subject, and with a lot of additional detail on implementation, at the upcoming ERE Expo in Florida in September, and we’d love to see you there. keep reading…