Recruitment During a Recession
Many businesses will have cut their headcounts by now to reflect reduced demand for their products and services. Of course some businesses have had a significant lag as long term projects are completed. This means that many companies are looking at improved conditions compared to last year and are more likely to be recruiting staff again rather than reducing staff numbers.
John O’Sullivan of www.eliteleaders.co.uk, a leading provider of leadership support to recruitment businesses, comments – “Demand during 2008 and the first half of 2009 collapsed. As a result nearly 50% of staff in the recruitment sector were lost. The result is that those that remain are generally the more experienced and skilful recruiters who satisfy customer needs. In the second half of 2009, temporary recruitment has increased and more permanent positions are being advertised.”
This sentiment is further endorsed by Campbell Ritchie, Managing Director of HR Advantage www.hradvantage.co.uk a leading provider of human resource solutions, who comments – “Maybe, just maybe, there are some green shoots out there. The latest jobs survey published by REC and KPMG, for example, suggests that signs of recovery are now beginning to appear in the labour market. This doesn’t mean that unemployment won’t stop rising for a while yet. But a little bit of brighter news does emphasise that even in the teeth of recession recruitment doesn’t stop altogether. And the same always remains true – the highest performers are most likely to be snapped up first.”
Whilst there seems to be a little more optimism in the employment market, many businesses are still cautious about long term recruitment at present. Campbell Ritchie continues, “So is it back to business as usual if you have a vacancy – ring an agency, get a few CVs, have a chat and hire someone? Not if you are looking for the best result. As we constantly repeat, recruitment is the most important HR process.
‘Good’ employees are much more productive than ‘average’ employees. So getting it right is vital – and never more so than when every £ you can afford to spend on pay has to work as well as possible. What has changed in the last few months is that the number of responses you will get to ads has gone up – increasing your recruitment admin costs – and using an expensive agency generally makes even less sense – even on a contingency basis – now that web based advertising and other targeted time saving recruitment services have grown up.
So our suggestion to all employers is – use the current climate as an opportunity to permanently reduce your future recruitment costs and to increase the quality of your recruitment decisions.”
With the labour markets as uncertain as they are, there is a fear that the good staff are staying put and the less good are available. It’s true that there are also a lot of candidates in the market and the quality is variable. However, most businesses can now find an exact match to their requirements.
As an FD’s summary, make sure you know exactly what you want and how much you will pay for the role. Make sure these requirements are realistic. Most recruitment mistakes are made at the start by setting unrealistic or unclear specifications for the role. Whether you do it yourself or you engage a recruitment company to fill the vacancy, this is the phase that needs the most diligent work.
Consider whether the business has the capability to carry out the recruitment process internally. If not then engage the right recruitment company and agree terms for an exclusive placement. To combat any concerns about the long-term future, look at temporary-to-permanent positions. This will cover your immediate requirements, but give you a workable plan for the future.