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Recruiting strategies: Self diagnosis is difficult

I was home sick recently with a bad cold and started thinking about whether or not to go to the doctor. I probably won’t because it’s not that bad, but it got me thinking about how companies diagnose their recruiting challenges and how they go about deciding to change their recruiting strategies.

Here’s my point: How many bad hires, slowed hiring processes, unfilled jobs or unsatisfied hiring managers does it take before a company decides to change their recruiting strategies?

My answer: Too many. We (at least in the United States) are the workers who go to work sick, don’t take vacation and answer email on the weekends. Similarly, we are asked to do more with less at work and often believe there are no other options.

So, like I did with my cold, we generally say “it’s not that bad” and move on. But at some point, and especially with changes like the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the economy getting better, decisions will have to be made and you may need to diagnose your recruiting problems.

Here are a few suggestions for getting started:

  • Root Cause Analysis – What’s making you sick? Do you know what areas are causing bottlenecks or where you need more resources? This is a tough one and as many doctors will tell you, it’s not always good to do a self diagnosis. But if you do, you’ll need to try to figure out what’s working and what’s not and then prioritize. Where can you improve and how will you do it? Also, look for areas that can be outsourced, even partial areas, if you’re not ready to find a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partner or a managed services provider (MSP) for a company-wide program.
  • How Does That Make You Feel? Don’t discount the effect on your culture, engagement and retention. Workers that have no help, or positions the go unfilled for months can have dire consequences on productivity and the overall work atmosphere. This could ultimately result in top performers leaving as they feel there is no progress being made. Make sure you talk with hiring managers and operations people to gauge the impact – and how doing nothing might make it worse.
  • Have You Figured Out How Much it’s Costing You? Right now the effects of broken recruiting processes are “soft” costs, because generally a lot of the “hard” costs, such as recruiters or HR staff, has been already been drained out of an organization. But don’t forget that increased turnover, poor morale, and risky, inconsistent screening and hiring practices can cost your company in the long run. There are two ways to look at this. One is: How much does it cost to do nothing? The other is: If you are spending money right now on recruiting resources, are you getting a return on it?

In the end, you may find it would be better to go to the doctor. Sometimes what you need is an outside opinion, or at least another perspective to consider. There may also be solutions out there that you are not familiar with or haven’t tried yet. This is where RPO and MSP come in.

But even if you don’t move to an outsourced program, doing nothing may cost your company in ways that are not yet apparent. While it’s clear the economy is moving slowly, it’s also clear that companies that have efficient recruiting practices are set to continue to take advantage of companies that don’t.

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