The Great Recession Fall out on Talent Acquisition

I have a feeling I’m about to preach to the choir.  I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with a hiring manager lately, that just don’t get it! (I hear you saying “What do you mean “lately” – does a hiring manager “ever” get it!)   The Recession has made our job very hard, especially if you are currently trying to hire anyone with technical skills (engineers, designers, IT professionals, Scientist, etc.).   During the Recession we had candidates coming out of our ears!  Today, it seems like, almost overnight, technical jobs across the country have turned on like a fire hose!  Everywhere companies are trying to find technical talent, in all industries, all at the same time.   Remember that baby boomer Tsunami of retirement we were suppose to see?  This feels like the first waves are hitting the shore in terms of technical hiring!

I’ve spoken to engineering schools that 100% graduation hires, plus companies now paying for engineering seniors, senior year of tuition!   I’ve spoken to companies that have had to double their payroll projections, mid-budget year, just to have enough money to hire the same amount of projected hires at the beginning of the year.  In HR and Recruiting we get this, the market moves, sometimes very quickly, and organizations have to be prepared to adjust and move with it, or risk causing some very bad outcomes to our operations.  But, do our hiring managers get this?

I’m hear to say, not enough have gotten the message!

Over the past few months, it we are now having daily “conversations” with hiring managers who are still wanting to see the same 20 candidates they saw during the height of the recession, and turning down candidates for minor things like “he seemed a little shy”, “she was from Tech and I like State grads”, or “he’s had 2 jobs in the past 10 years!”   I’ve had hiring managers have interviews, come back and say they like both candidates really well, but would like to see some more! When I don’t any more!   It all sounds familiar doesn’t it!  The Recession did this to them!  It made the greedy, it made them ultra picky, and it made them believe there is a never ending pool of great candidates who only want to come work at your company.   Ugh! I hate the Recession!

So what?

In HR/Recruiting this is where we become marketers.  We have to start selling, and what we are selling is an idea.  An idea that the world is different, they sky is falling and there’s only one person left to hire.  “That person, is the stupid candidate I just put in front of your face!!!” (wouldn’t that be great if we could say that!?)  Look, I understand you and your hiring managers “only want to hire the best talent”; by the way so does everyone else.  But times are changing, if you want to hire the best, you better be paying the best, or at least offering the best value proposition as compared to your competitors.  Lines of candidates aren’t out there just waiting for calls any longer.

It’s really just simple addition, more technical job openings than candidates + baby boomers now beginning to feel like they can retire = our job just got a lot tougher!

Do your hiring managers get this equation?

2 thoughts on “The Great Recession Fall out on Talent Acquisition

  1. Hey Sacko…it’s messed up from all angles. The “we only hire the best and the brightest” line is proved wrong when we speak with people at the company – it’s either a flawed HR reality or marketing’s dominance over HR and recruiting when that line is used.

    Yet if you search the Internet for this phrase or even better “we are an employer of choice” (uh, no you’re not – I polled 10 friends and none of them want to work for you), you see the problem: Recruiting is where the “war for talent” deficiencies lie. There are plenty of great people – well, except in recruiting. Each year SourceCon seems to get a new influx of grandmaster gurus who have absolutely no idea how to engage people in a talk about career opportunities. Each year, managers become more locked into a flawed perception of what talent looks like and what it takes to assess them.

    And each year, more people with no experience whatsoever in recruiting (or perhaps they were HR experts in the past too) evangelize on what great recruiting looks like – and people drink this polluted KoolAid.

    Rant over 😉


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