Rethinking Recruiting Post-COVID

by Hugh Gallagher

We’re hiring, but we can’t seem to find ANYBODY! Who has heard that in the past 2+ years? Many of us are stuck in a paradigm of the past. I’d like to throw out a different idea embraced by very few to show exactly why and how things can and should be different for those brave enough to embrace a different approach.

What is the strategic challenge faced by the decision-makers that they need to think differently about?

Recruiting, in nearly every organization, is housed under Human Resources. That is definitely where it belongs, but it is a stand-alone function in many ways because it differs greatly from every other area of Human Resources. In every HR department, aside from recruiting, the department functions as a support role. Recruiting is a PRODUCTION role. In order to capture the talent level most organizations need to grow their businesses, reorganizing the recruiting function is needed to reflect this.

How should they be thinking differently about this?

Production roles (think sales) need to be structured AND compensated to reflect their input and output within an organization. They need to be managed as such. Metrics and incentive-based compensation must be an integral part of their structure. Organizations that treat recruiting as a support role tend to rely heavily on reputation and good fortune to attract talent, but in 2022, hope is not a strategy. Recruiting and building networks of potential future hires needs to be done by all hiring managers all the time. When someone leaves for whatever reason, you are subject to whatever is available in the market at that time and, as such, will likely be far more dependent on good fortune than any strategic hiring initiative. With the current talent shortages, candidate engagement, PROACTIVE recruiting rather than purely reactive, and screening candidates that apply to postings are critical, not optional.

What is the benefit to the decision maker of changing how they are thinking about content?

A. Talent drives every organization. Without it, no one accomplishes their goals. Budgets, revenues, sales targets, and employee retention are all majorly impacted by the talent on board or lack thereof. B. The stress and sleepless nights of wondering when these talent shortages will end, how you are going to do in the short term, and what impact it will have on retention and morale until it is resolved all weigh heavily without these issues being remedied. There needs to be metrics that drive recruiting performance, and these roles need to be managed accordingly. With every production role (again, think sales), there are a variety of activities that drive results. These need to be in place, accurate, and enforced to effectively recruit top talent all the time. Weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals must be set and met. With these in place, there will be a demonstrable upswing in the production of the recruiting role from both a quality and quantity standpoint. Without them, output and production again become the likely product of good fortune.

What specifically should they be doing differently to successfully implement this change?

1. Candidate and potential candidate engagement must be done year-round by all hiring managers. They need to know their markets and always have a short list to approach should the need arise.

2. Once engaged with an opportunity for a candidate, companies need to be aggressive with the interview/hiring process and offers need to stay in tune with competitive offers in the marketplace. Knowing what your competitors are paying and offering as benefits goes a long way in recruiting and retention

3. Employers need to invest in and hold internal recruiters responsible for production. What worked 3-5 years ago will not work now, and if they have not improved their skills and approach, there is nearly zero chance of success. Recruiting is a production role; human resources is a support role. Without the recruiters producing, the organization will fail to reach its goals. In summary, there is a path to recruiting success in 2022 and beyond. It will require out-of-the-box thinking and an organizational commitment to change. In the end, the efforts will yield the results sought, and the organization will grow and not struggle to find talent.

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