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Recession Proof Your Hiring Process

(May 01, 2008)  Everywhere you turn, everyone is talking about a recession - are we headed for one, are we already in one, are we talking ourselves into one. . . While the world is busy looking up to see if the sky is really falling, one of the most critical business processes that routinely heads straight down into the basement of corporate priorities is recruitment. It makes sense: recruiting is something a company does when it is expanding, launching new products, and building new teams - all things businesses do in boom times. But an economic downturn is exactly the time that businesses should be thinking strategically about recruitment, from putting the most efficient, belt-tightening processes in place to cherry-picking top talent that may be on the market as a consequence.

Being a Great Suitor and Sifter
Thinking strategically about recruitment is much more than just developing an annual staffing budget. To recession-proof recruitment, develop two strategies, one for each extreme of the job market spectrum: job rich/candidate poor and job poor/candidate rich. With a plan in place for both contingencies, managers can stop worrying about Wall Street and start solving the problem eternally at hand: filling openings quickly with quality candidates.

For the past three years, we've been in a job rich/candidate poor environment and the "War for Talent" is once again a ubiquitous rallying cry in human resource circles. In a job rich environment, attracting talent requires a "Suitor" strategy with three key differentiators:
    1) An aggressive plan to source passive talent, implemented by knowledgeable recruiters and anchored by a compelling description of the opportunity.

    2) A high-touch screening process that "courts" candidates with friendly, professional and timely communications.

    3) Streamlined interview and offer processes, enabling, for example, same-day offers for key candidates.
On the other hand, if a downturn does take hold and suddenly all of those jobs dry up, the pendulum swings to a job poor/candidate rich environment, and a very different set of recruiting rules. A successful "Sifter" strategy should include:
    1) Meticulously crafted marketing messages that not only attract qualified applicants, but turn away candidates who are not a fit.

    2) Investment in technology to facilitate the rapid screening/ranking of a large volume of resumes.

    3) Revisiting and improving the candidate experience - for every candidate, qualified or not -- from your careers page to offers, eliminating the "black hole" experience.

One critical mistake businesses historically make in a "Sifter" economy is to treat the influx of job seekers with contempt. Job seekers have a long memory, and one resentful applicant in 2008 could be the star candidate who declines your offer in 2010. On the other hand, something as simple as a courteous "thank you for your interest in our company but this position is now filled" could earn entrance into a rich referral network somewhere in the future. Wherever possible, use every candidate touch to build goodwill.

Spend on Hiring
Paradoxical, maybe, but a recession is a great time to recruit. Forward-thinking businesses capitalize on the talent that unexpectedly finds itself on the street to build "future teams" that will help them reach their long-term growth targets once the economy inevitably turns around.

And thanks to the Federal Reserve, recessions are becoming shorter and less severe, so by the time you have your superstars through training, the economy might well cooperate and grow like gangbusters along with you.

-- Kim Shepherd is CEO of Decision Toolbox (www.dtoolbox.com), a leading recruitment company based in Irvine, Calif. Since its founding in 1992, Decision Toolbox has filled thousands of positions for large and small clients nationwide, across virtually all industries, disciplines and levels for an average Cost Per Hire of seven percent of first-year salary.

By Kim Shepherd

TopUSAJobs.com: Guide to Top Specialty Boards
Where Top Candidates Seek Career Opportunities
Accounting / Finance JobsintheMoney.com
Accounting / Finance AccountingJobsToday.com
Call Center CallCenterJobs.com
Construction ConstructionJobs.com
Drivers / Trucking JobsInTrucks.com
Employee Benefits EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com
Enviro/Occup. Health & Safety EHSCareers.com
Executive RiteSite.com
Executive NETSHARE.com
Financial Services BrokerHunter.com
Health / Medical HealthJobsUSA.com
Hispanic / Bilingual Hispanic Jobs
Logistics JobsInLogistics.com
Manufacturing JobsInManufacturing.com
Retail AllRetailJobs.com
Security Clearance ClearanceJobs.com
Security Clearance IntelligenceCareers.com
Tax Specialists TaxTalent.com
Telecom / Wireless TelecomCareers.net
For more Specialty Boards, visit:
Employer's Corner on TopUSAJobs.com


April 29. Recruiting Roadshow. Main Sequence Technologies Campus. Willoughby, OH.

May 1-2. Conference Board 2008 Leadership Development Conference. Grand Hyatt. New York City.

May 13-16. Kennedy Recruiting 2008 Conference & Expo - Real World Recruiting for Today's Workforce. Hilton, Las Vegas, NV.

May 14-15. Staffing Leaders Exchange. Hotel Twelve. Atlanta, GA.

May 20-23. WorldatWork Conference & Exhibition. Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA.

May22. Quality of Hire - The Illusive Business Metric. From The Human Capital Institute and Pinstripe. St. Louis Marriott West.

May 31-June 4. IHRIM HRMStrategies 2008 Conference and Technology Exposition. Disney Contemporary Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL.

June 4-6. Fordyce Forum 2008. Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel.

June 5-6. Conference Board 2008 Leadership Development Conference. Hotel del Coronado San Diego, CA.

June 11. Virtual Career Fair for Financial Services. 9 am - 8pm EDT. From BrokerHunter.com.

June 22-35. SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition. Chicago, IL.

September 8-10. 2008 Staffing Industry Analysts' Healthcare Staffing Summit. Hilton San Francisco, CA.

September 9 & 10. Online Recruitment Conference and Expo 2008. Donald E. Stevens Convention Center, Chicago, IL.

October 15-17. HR Technology Conference and Exposition. McCormick Place, Chicago, Ill.

October 21-24. 2008 NASPP National Conference. Hilton New Orleans Riverside, New Orleans, LA

October 28-29. 2008 Staffing Industry Analysts Contingent Workforce Strategies Summit. New York Marriott at Brooklyn Bridge, New York City.

October 28-30.ERE Expo 2008 Fall. Westin Diplomat Hotel & Spa, Hollywood, FL.

November 17-19. WorldatWork Canadian Total Rewards Conference. Toronto, Ontario.

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