Fannie, Freddie, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and AIG are some of the high profile failures in the financial sector. At stake are hundreds of thousands of jobs, mortgages, life savings and, lest we forget, billions in your tax dollars by way of bailouts. There are a lot of fingers to point, political and public figures to hold accountable. So why did this happen? A simple answer – people and organizations became over-leveraged.
“Over-leveraged” is used primarily in the financial sector but, simply put, is the hangover after foolishly playing with other people’s money for a loss. Or, as memorably put in Top Gun, “your ego is writing checks that your body can’t cash.” Yet many recruiters do this when they take on a new search. They just react. Most, I’ll wager, don’t have a plan b. So you can picture the sheer panic when they lose their top candidate finalist or come up empty on any talent two weeks into the search. At this point, they’re over-leveraged, forced to react: redouble their efforts, focus on another, more “winnable” order, etc.
Let’s stop setting ourselves up for these types of stress events. Let’s start developing a plan b for our searches:
What it is? A plan b is an articulated set of actions that will be executed when a search hits certain “unacceptable” points. Plan B is:
• Vetted. The time for experimenting has come and gone. Now is the time to enlist others who are more qualified and stronger in capabilities than you. Put the ego aside and call in the big guns. Note: Bringing on an eager, but unproven, agency can cost time too.
• Multi-pronged. Don’t execute just one thing (i.e. post on an additional job board). At the same time, don’t throw “everything” at the problem. Have a manageable set of tools that can run in parallel. Be aware of the lag in time when activating new sources. Ordering research and waiting for it to come in can cost even more time.
Who owns it? A plan b is agreed upon by both the recruiter and the client. Why? Two reasons:
• The recruiter needs the client’s support for incurring additional costs and changes in the role description.
• The client needs the recruiter to lead them in the search. Remember the client is an expert in their business goal needs that have to be met. The recruiter is the expert in finding where the needed talent can be found. Tips on how to manage the relationship can be found here.
When should it be discussed and enacted? A plan b rests on a couple of assumptions:
• There is a documented and agreed to timeline for the search. This includes a hire-by or delivery date.
• Factors that affect the timeline have been discussed. The client articulates the date, but the recruiter gives input on the factors that make said date realistic:
o Will the client or interview team be available, holidays, to travel or make other important deadlines?
o Most candidates need a transition period to wrap up from their current employer (typically 2-3 weeks) AND they like to take some time off before they jump into a new job.
o Conducting reference and background checks can take time depending on quality, quantity and availability.
o What current market factors (industry, geographical, etc.) will influence your a) client’s ability to attract, and b) candidate’s willingness to entertain alternative career options?
As a recruiter you don’t have to be over-leveraged. By having an articulate plan b, you will set yourself apart from other recruiters, build even more confidence in your recruiting practice, and earn the respect of your clients. 8~)
William is the President of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He’s written over 200 HR articles, spoken at over 150 HR & recruiting conferences and he’s conducted over 1000 HR podcasts. William prides himself on being easy to find on The Internet, Google him and connect with him via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Not up to speed in the social media game? Reach out via email.
William serves on the Board of Advisors for Talentegy, Wellocity, GlitchPath, Talent Ninja, Universum Americas, Engagedly, Echovate, VibeCatch, Continu, Hyphen, Bevy, Happie, RolePoint, Causecast, Work4Labs, Talent Tech Labs, and SmartRecruiters. He was previously an advisor to PeopleMatter (sold to Snagajob Q2 2016), Good.Co (sold to StepStone Q1 2016), Smarterer (sold to Pluralsight Q4 2014) and a board member of Chequed (merged to create OutMatch Q3 2015).
William is a graduate of the University of Alabama of Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.