Now is the time to hire

As an avid sports fan watching various TV stations going into the baseball playoffs as well as the start of the football season, I have been inundated with a ridiculous Toyota commercial called “Now is the time” with balloons, banners, and showroom floors communicating “It’s time to buy”. They’re probably right if you are looking for a solid reliable vehicle for your garage. I'm going to stop with the fanfare but this commercial has me thinking about hiring, NOW!!

Why “Now is the Time” for hiring

  • Business economics have been waffling for the past six months and now there seems to be lift in several economic indicators on the move upward. “Job openings in the US rose in July by 178,000. In August private payrolls made a better-than-expected showing, increasing by 67,000. Many of the global economic indicators from South Africa to Australia made improvements.” (References from The Economist, Sept 15, 2010).

  • In the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area companies have been steadily increasing the number of posted professional jobs in sales, engineering and manufacturing. Companies seem to be saying, “Now is the Time” to start hiring for specific professional positions. Many professionals are working harder and longer than ever before which has made it difficult to attract the current performers in the workforce causing higher demand and noise in the marketplace.

  • The “War for Talent” has already begun. We have noticed in our Retained Search business that selective hiring by employers has pit company against company for top performers. Top Talent are receiving multiple offers. These top performers will continue to be highly sought after in this next cycle of hiring. If these candidates can prove that they have the education, experience and the track record to make a significant difference they will be highly pursued.

  • et’s face it, from now until the holidays, employers want to add and employees want to make moves. They want to tee up the New Year with the right team. So if you have a position to fill by the end of the year you need to start, NOW.

You have an opportunity - DON’T MISS IT.

  1. Define your needs up front by documenting the tangible and intangible “Must Have” and “Like to Have” criteria for the new position.

  2. Develop and communicate expectations of the new hires 30, 60 and 90 day (and beyond) deliverables that you can use in the interview process to filter the talent.

  3. Perform a deep dive to uncover your best candidates – Don’t just settle for the Monster candidate or the internal referral.

  4. Move quickly but don’t forget to execute a thorough assessment of the all candidates.

  5. Develop a detailed integration process. Go back to your timeline on deliverables and manage to it.

As a result, here’s what you’ll experience:

  • Good process should result in a shorter time to fill.

  • Setting solid candidate expectations will increase ROI sooner rather than later.

  • Hiring top talent will result in continuous ROI for your organization over the next several years.

The challenges for today’s recruiter

I began my career in HR quite some time ago, and have always had my hands in the recruiting side of the work. I remember my first recruiting assignment: hire 30 temps to work the third shift line over the summer…by Friday!

Run the ad in Tuesday’s paper, and get a pile of applicants. Call ‘em, bring ‘em in, and hire ‘em. Done by Thursday and a full new employee class on the next Monday. A slam dunk!

Things have changed just a bit!

Point A to point B

The hiring process is straightforward. Connect point A (where you are) with point B (where you want to be). Determine where an organization stands and the talent needed to move it ahead. Review the job description and with a little investigation, you’re off and running. Right?

Not quite the case today. From a corporate position, the current situation is dynamic and demanding. Most organizations are still a bit gun shy about hiring, and business is more challenging than ever.

With the uncertainty of the economy, organizations have a difficult time staying on any course or plan which in turn has the effect of frequently changing hiring needs. In addition, potential employees are also shaky about making a job change and demand to know more about the job, the company and their future.

So this simple concept of a straight line from A to B becomes a rather irregular and wavy path.

The drain is clogged

The employment rates prove the point of an over supply of workers, ranging from assemblers on the manufacturing floor to executives in the board room. Businesses have cut staff and many have failed. And all these folks are standing in line for a select few job opportunities.

We face the opposite problem of three years ago: then, it was the hunt for talent in a market that was nearly fully employed. Now, the over supply makes a big task of culling through the piles to get to a solid candidate…a task complicated by so very many “B “candidates.

The recruiter’s challenge

In addition to core recruiting skills it’s more critical than ever before for a recruiter to have a deep and sound understanding of the:

  • client’s needs (both today and in the future) with a solid background in…

  • business in order to match the needs of the employer to the…

  • context of the open position (role responsibilities and expectations) as it relates to…

  • current market conditions affecting it.

AND be an expert in:

  • managing the relationship during the process in order to…

  • offer professional and accepted advice, while bringing the situation to a SUCCESSFUL PLACEMENT!

So that’s the challenge from where I sit…I hope you’re up for it!

How your interview process affects your company’s reputation

I’m often amazed at how some companies, even those who work hard on their image, are woefully unaware of how they tarnish it during the search process. Throughout the years I’ve witnessed companies claim to be one of the ‘Best Places to Work!’ and then proceed to counter that themselves  by the way they treat prospective employees.

There are many opportunities for this to happen (from the application process all the way to on-boarding). One instance that gets little attention is the interview process itself. By dragging out this process you risk leaving one or more of these impressions about your company:

  1. High levels of bureaucracy - ‘I bet those employees have to jump through a lot of hoops to get things done’

  2. Slow decision making abilities - ‘This doesn’t seem to be that important to them and I bet I wouldn’t be either if I worked there’

  3. Lack of ability to be nimble in the marketplace - ‘They’re going to get left in the dust and I don’t want to be part of that‘

  4. Clarity of purpose and positions - ‘They don’t seem to know what they want’

Perhaps one of these characteristics is actually true of your company. If so, the best you can do is be honest about that and make sure you’re looking at candidates who fit your culture. However if these aren’t true of your company there are a few things you can do to maximize your process:

  • Don’t begin a search until you have the commitment of all parties involved to make interviewing a priority.This commitment includes being available to interview, keeping the appointments and being on time. Make sure all the people who will be interviewing understand the importance of the process and how it affects the image of the company (not to mention their own). Handling this poorly shows disrespect and arrogance. This isn’t the 80’s and no one wants to work for Gordon Gecko anymore.

  • Have clear specs before starting a search.Forget the ‘batch’ type of interviewing process where you wait to interview until you have a group of qualified candidates. Early on in my career I was taught this silly (but meaningful) analogy: If someone asked you to marry them, you wouldn’t say ‘well let me date a few more people and I’ll let you know if you’re the one’. You know Mr. or Mrs. Right because you know yourself (company) and the kind of partner (employee) you’d be compatible with. The batch method is a sure way not only to lose a great candidate but to leave a bad impression.

  • Keep your recruitment partner informed.If a candidate doesn’t fit but you don’t explain why, it’s going to take you a lot longer, and more interviewees to get to the right hire. Even with clear specifications there are many intangibles that can sway a decision. If all it took to make the perfect hire was to match up resumes, hiring would be a breeze and all companies would have ideal employees. Tell you recruiter where this person hit the bulls eye and where they fell short and the next person you interview will be a much closer fit if not right on.

  • Communicate in a timely manner with candidates.Whether you’re working with through a recruiting partner or directly with candidates, let them know where you’re at in the process and where they stand. If they reach out to you, be responsive. Be honest and forthright and then even if you don’t hire the individual, you’ll have left a positive impression for both you and your company.

Remember, information is not only easy to get these days, it’s easy to share. Mess up this process and best case, unhappy interviewees tell their Facebook friends how badly they feel they were treated. Worst case they tell everyone on YOUR Facebook. Think about the kind of ‘status updates’ you’d like to see with your company’s name in them and build your process around that.

InPursuit meets the blogging world

Here at InPursuit, we’re just like most Minnesotans. Nice, friendly, down-to-earth and we all love weekends up at the cabin. So, when the idea of creating a corporate blog popped up in our morning meeting, needless to say we were all a bit intimidated. A corporate blog? Us? Isn’t that type of stuff meant for social media gurus or political ranters? What could WE, a group of four recruiters have to share with the world that isn’t already out there? In search of what a blog could do for our company we put our heads together and started developing a goal for InPursuit’s blog. Post-Brainstorm we had concluded that each and every one of us had something to share, something we were passionate about and as a collective group- we’re kinda smart!

As we have all come to realize the necessity of social media within the recruiting industry, creating a blog will assist us in not only our own personal discoveries but insight to our clients, candidates and the marketplace as a whole. Now, we may not discover eternal truths or write mind-boggling posts on this adventure into the world of blogging. But, what we do hope to do is share what we know about the recruiting world and what our combined years of experience have taught us about people, life and work. We aspire to spark conversation and contribute valuable discussion to the marketplace. With this said we hope you enjoy the blog and please be willing to give us feedback!