Don’t Idle Recruiting…Tune It.

For the past couple months, I’ve been on a national speaking tour, facilitating a series of corporate recruiter workshops, offering some unique perspectives on the core elements of recruiting, interviewing, managing candidates and hiring managers.  Somewhere along the way, I came to realize that this was an amazing opportunity to participate in a live, national discussion about talent acquisition in a unique economy.  It was a great audience comprised of a cross section of individual contributor recruiters, HR reps, recruiting and HR leadership, and senior leadership. 

The tour included some major cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, as well as some smaller cities like Newark NJ, Columbus OH, and Minneapolis MN.  I thought I would sense a deep morose in Michigan and Ohio, especially since there was a quite a number from several divisions of a couple of automakers and several manufacturing plants.  But not those groups….very resilient.  Impressive.  What are they all talking about? 

  1. How to recruit and do damage control in the challenging media storm covering their industry and in some cases, their company by name.
  2. What they can do in this market to attract candidates to address their attrition. 
  3. How to attract and retain a multi-generational workforce in such an uncertain economy.
  4. How to tie their social network recruiting efforts to their product advertising.

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Surprisingly, it’s not so different from other industries struggling with press related to lay-offs and lawsuits, Baby Boomers who are delaying retirement, and Gen Y’ers who are all-too-happy to take a severance package and run, and other traditional “road” hazards when it comes to recruiting

But what about these other industries?  These sessions were specifically designed to attract a wide audience with a variety of backgrounds.  A variety of industries participated including pharmaceutical, healthcare, retail, and many more.  Big companies and small, I’m surprised by how many have indicated that they sense a “thaw” and slowly beginning to hire again.  Of course many are being asked to “do more with less” as far as staff and resources are concerned, but their main topics of conversation have revolved around:

  1. Measuring the value of recruiting when there are no jobs to fill.
  2. Restructuring their recruiting organizations to accommodate company mandates for reduction, but knowing their hiring needs will eventually increase.
  3. Figuring out how to ramp up when the tide begins to turn with fewer resources.

I’m also hearing more of a focus on talent pipelining.  In some cases this is because they have the time to actually do it.  In other cases, it’s becoming a matter of necessity or they fear they will not be able to meet the future demand.

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I’ve talked a lot about balancing tactical execution with strategy, separating out and outsourcing low value from high value work, and the need to ensure that we lay out a business case with clear consequences outlined so the business knows what’s likely to occur as a result of our current decision making.  But here are some recommendations to consider:

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