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Don’t hire like it’s 1999

In some industries today, talent is seemingly becoming scare and competition is heating up. But let’s not forget the past and run out to score that superstar developer person who will “never” be available again. Many hiring managers who thought like that in 1999 were hit hard when 2000 came along.

The late 1990’s were a crazy time for hiring with stories of ice cream trucks and poaching of talent in grand fashion with big perks to those who were in demand. Today, the pressure in many skill areas is driving some of the same desperation and hiring patterns we saw back then. Resist!

Resist the temptation to join the frenzy. Hiring and recruiting, especially today, takes more than just a cursory job posting or a couple of lucky hires. It should be a coordinated effort that fulfills your recruiting needs for the short- and long-term. Here are some tips for those of your tempted to hire like it’s 1999.

Connect your hiring to the overall workforce plan – Especially if you are hiring for critical areas. You need a plan for how you are going to cover all of your areas. Don’t let a knee-jerk reaction cause you to have trouble in other areas. That’s what we generally call moving the broccoli around the plate. Great, you filled one job, but now you have no headcount in two other areas.

Look beyond the skills you need today – This goes along with the point above, however, this is more about developing talent communities that can fill your pipeline with candidates for the long run. It’s great to find the one person today, but what about the future, when you need two or three of them? If you’re not thinking ahead, you’re starting out behind.

Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize – You may not want to admit it, or your hiring managers may not want to, but some jobs are more critical to your business than others. Prioritize the types of jobs or skills that are critical to your business and then decide how you will recruit for them. Do you have a core recruiting team? Do you outsource?

This is when you need to look at all of your recruiting resources and recruiting strategies and see where you do and do not have coverage. Most companies have higher volume positions, and lower volume or more highly skilled positions. It takes different types of resources and expertise in each area. You need to have resources in all the areas to hire effectively.

The late 90’s were great, especially if you were in IT, but don’t forget what happened right after that. The bust was weathered well by companies that thought ahead and hired effectively – not so much by those who hired indiscriminately.

I’m not saying we are headed for anything like that, but the up and down cycles of certain industries, the economy and the stock market, means that companies today need to be ready for anything. Don’t hire like it’s 1999, but don’t wait and lose out completely. Have a plan and stick to it.

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