Tough times for most recruiters. If you’re lucky, you work for an organization that makes toilet paper, or anything sold at a grocery store, Sam’s Club, or Costco. Most recruiters will find themselves with some downtime. The question is, what do you do as a recruiter who was just put on a hiring freeze, assuming you still have your job!?
The majority of recruiters in the industry were not recruiting when the Great Recession hit. Plenty of candidates everywhere, and we thought our main job was to put about a thousand filters in place to take 1,000 candidates down to a manageable 25 or so. Believing the filters were giving us quality. In fact, they really didn’t.
Many filters gave us a solid group of people who were willing to jump through our filters, and truly not much else. Back a decade ago, most assessments were basic personality assessments that are basically akin to witchcraft. We’ve learned a lot in the last decade!
I’ve got three things all working recruiters who don’t have a full load of active requisitions to work should be doing now:
- Purple Squirrel Hunting – The reality is when times are tough and people are scared, it’s the perfect time to connect with all those great candidates you always wanted to land but couldn’t because you weren’t the prettiest recruiter on the block! Everyone looks a little better now, like at least three beers into the night better! This means you need to start reaching out to those super hard to get candidates who might be a bit nervous and want to keep their options open! This is sniper hunting, not shotgun hunting.
- Check the quality and depth of your pipelines – I use Candidate I.D. for my pipelining and if you normally recruit certain profiles now if the time to clean up those pipelines and build out some higher quality lists of candidates you want to keep warm. When is the best time to build the best relationship with the best candidates? When no one else will give them the time of day! This is the time to build bridges, so when it comes time to hire and ramp-up, these folks will return the respect you have been showing them!
- Internal Talent Check – This is a very specific, very confidential conversation you will be having with every single hiring manager you have. Who is a must keep, next-level potential? Who are folks that we can replace if we have to? Who are the up and comers, that with some attention they can pick up responsibility? Who can we do without? Is there anyone on the outside you’ve wanted but never thought we could get? Document these conversations. Create spreadsheets. Find ways to elevate the talent conversation in a very strategic way.
Here’s the key to all three of these initiatives: You need to keep the hiring managers, your boss, and maybe some other folks appraised of what you’re doing! Some key phrases you will need to use during hard times:
- We have an exceptional opportunity to raise and increase our talent during these difficult times, here’s our TA plan…
- During this downtime, TA is going to take a deep look at every single individual we have internally and find ways to help us perform better and more efficiently…
- We will come out of this as a talent leader, but here is what it will mean to do right now…
During hard times we see some common things happen to organizations. Some will not recover because they didn’t take the steps to keep the best, just keep those who have been around the longest. Some try to hold on to everyone and as such, will hurt everyone. Some will move too slowly. Very few will move too quickly at the one time, a major crisis, where moving quickly is a key to success.
This is a time for action, not a time to bury your head and keep low. This is the time where great TA teams will set their organizations up for success. Stay safe and increase your talent today!
If you Google “Tim Sackett” you’ll find our Tim, and a truck driver chaplain. Our Tim is NOT the truck driver chaplain, although how awesome would that be if he was!? He is a prolific writer in the HR and TA space who just happens to also run an Engineering and IT contract staffing agency (HRU Technical Resources) out of Michigan. He also writes every day at his own blog, the Tim Sackett Project. Weirdly, he’s known as an expert in workplace hugging, which was kind of cool years ago, but now seems painfully creepy, but we still love him and he’s fairly harmless. Tim is also on the board of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP), lifetime Michigan State Spartan fan, husband to a Hall of Fame wife, 3 sons, and his best friend Scout. He also wrote a book with SHRM called The Talent Fix, you can find it on Amazon.