Recruiting in a Recession

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Amidst the current economic uncertainty and rising unemployment there is some very good news for those companies considering hiring, since they now have the pick of some of the best candidates to hit the market for some considerable time.

What has characterised this credit-driven recession is the speed and scale of the decline, which many employers have matched with equally quick and unprecedented staff reductions. The result is that previously unknown and often outstanding talent have been displaced (or left feeling insecure with their current employers) and are now available on the open market.

Our Recruitment Consultants have noticed a considerable improvement in the quality, as well as volume, of CV’s registered over recent weeks/months. Not only are we seeing fresh candidates that haven’t been on the market for many years, but also candidates with consistent employment history’s, scarce skills and realistic salary expectations.

So the rules have again changed, whilst the need to attract and retain the best talent remains as critical as ever, not just to grow but to survive the next 12-18 months. We have summarised below some key pointers on how best to capitalise on the current unique market conditions:

·      Compare potential new hires not just against your existing internal staff but also with what’s available on the open market today – you are likely to be pleasantly surprised!

·      Consider refining your job spec’s and selection criteria to improve the quality of candidates hired. In this climate you can get “more bang for your buck”, whilst not maxing out on salary bands.

·      Take full account of the real cost of employing permanent staff v the inclusive cost of using temporary staff that are only hired when you need to cover workload peaks or specialist skills requirements.

·      Over the coming months you have a unique opportunity to hire staff displaced (or feeling insecure) from your direct competitors, benefiting from their market knowledge, relevant experience and specialist skills. Overnight this will increase your organisations overall competency and perhaps scope of services, benefitting from your competitors previous investment in career development.

·      Be prepared for the volume of applications, from both suitable and non-suitable candidates. If you don’t have in-house staff with the time available to effectively manage this, consider using a trusted recruitment expert to screen, shortlist, complete background checks, take references and conduct initial interviews. Remember, candidates treated unprofessionally today, have very long memories.

·      Heed the advice of Jim Collins (author of bestsellers ‘Built to Last’ and ‘Good to Great’) in “getting the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats and the wrong people off the bus” to ensure you build the very best team possible.

·      Continue to invest in training, which not only motivates, but also overcomes ‘survivor syndrome’ of those left after others have been made redundant ie guilt, the realisation that they’ve survived at the expense of their colleagues or anger toward their employer who actioned the redundancies. This motivation will increase the likelihood of remaining employees embracing the changes necessary over coming months. If you’re struggling with training budgets remember that the right training should, at the very least, be cost-neutral in the medium term and what better time to train than when business is slow.

·      Whilst we are bombarded daily with bad news use effective PR to send a very positive and trend-bucking message to the market – you will be surprised how quickly this good news travels in today’s economic climate.

We hope you find one or more of these pointers helpful and, as always, would welcome a call to discuss how best to apply any of these ideas in practice.