2 recruiting strategies for today’s economy

Right now many companies and, more specifically, many HR departments are trying to bleed a stone when it comes to recruiting. What do you do when your recruiting strategies depend on resources and capital and you have neither?

First, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that we are in this predicament. HR has borne the brunt of corporate changes over the past couple of decades. HR was functional, then strategic, then both. Now HR is mostly bare bones administrators.

I’m mainly referring to the recruiting aspect of HR. However, I suspect many would agree that, overall, HR is a lot smaller as a department and less functional in these post-recession years. As a result, many companies have ditched their recruiting strategies in favor of minimal staff and perhaps technology.

The roller-coaster economy is compounding this issue. I was recently speaking with a friend in HR who said that an executive actually told her, “Find me someone, but don’t do it too fast. We might not need the person if things don’t pick up.”

A bit of a mixed message, but I think it does a good job of characterizing the situation many HR departments and recruiters find themselves in today. Here are two recruiting strategies that will help keep recruiting warm while keeping costs down.

Strategy #1: Focus on employee engagement. If I had to focus on one area today, I would take a look at current employee engagement efforts and employee turnover. You might not consider this as a recruiting strategy at first, but your employees talk about your company to everyone on social media. In addition, other companies are reaching out to your employees to try to create relationships with them (again, in many cases through social media) to recruit them. Lastly, your employees are often your best recruiters. Referrals aren’t going to do it alone, but they don’t cost a lot, and they are usually better hires than unknowns responding to a job posting.

Strategy #2: Network, network, network. This is not just about social media, although that’s an area that obviously lends itself to networking. I’m also talking about your associations, colleges, and employees (many of whom are online). For example, LinkedIn groups are some of the best places to just join the conversation and let prospective employees find you. It’s also important to encourage your recruiters to build networks with other recruiters and even the competition. While it takes time and coordination, the payoff is being known as a company that is involved and vibrant.

The point is that when you don’t have a good recruiting strategy or recruiting resources, you have to start from the ground up. These recruiting strategies are also good reminders that the basics still work and that recruiting is still about one thing: people.


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