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Dear Recruiting – It’s Time to Keep Your Foot on the Gas

In some organizations, leadership teams have “slowed their roll” on all things recruiting and talent acquisition. Not so long ago, before the days of sourdough starters and Netflix docu-series, there was a time when we all took the longview. Not only did we search for candidates to fill our vacancies, we also looked miles down the road as we scanned for candidates that could fill our future talent needs (Q4 2020 baby!). We understood organizational challenges and talent voids. Recruiters worked with hiring managers on their needs, spent a bunch of time talking about employer branding and gave extensive consideration to candidate attraction and experience.  

Then the world and the market went topsy turvy. Now unemployment is reaching “unprecedented” levels. Almost 1 out of 5 people are unemployed, and that must mean our talent strategy isn’t necessary anymore. It seems silly to focus on hiring tactics and workforce messaging when we’re all still trying to figure out how to unmute on Zoom, right? Besides, recruiters have (or will have) a massive labor pool that’s just teeming with desperate candidates who will take anything. Is there any need for our seemingly-oh-so-quaint TA strategy? 

If your TA strategy was part of your organization’s DNA pre-pandemic, but now it’s been tossed aside like “work pants,” then it wasn’t truly embedded in your operating code. If you thought the economic and business trip down was fast, just imagine being caught sans pants during the ramp-up? Now – more than ever – is the time to focus on your TA strategies.

Back in the Day

Even before the world changed, talent acquisition was undergoing rapid and continuous change. The workforce of the future was new, unknown, and being defined day by day. Emerging technology was leading to the creation of new jobs and newly-required skills and competencies. TA practitioners have long been tapping into new technology, systems, and methods to source and connect with the right candidates. Talent acquisition demanded an agile and swift response to market needs. And that hasn’t changed; nor will it stop.

Just like you we’ve dealt with these issues; rapid growth in challenging conditions due to cultural and branding issues.  Managing quick and scalable hiring in a high-growth industry. 

But now, as we move to the next “phase,” organizations the world over will need to ask themselves…are we ready for the ramp up this time? 

What To Do NOW

Now is the time to redefine and reengineer your talent acquisition strategies – because we’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy! While everything is in The Upside-Down, and the job market continues to nose dive – take the time to step outside the norm, reevaluate your existing state (people, processes and systems) and ask yourself a few questions: 

  • Do you know what you need?
    Any good people strategy starts with understanding your people. What are your resources? What are the future projects? Identify the competencies and experience you lack and start filling in the gaps. Take the time to run a needs assessment on your organization and its talent needs. If rapid growth is in the foreseeable future (as many predict it will be), then do your analysis under that lens. Criticize your methods and start breaking – and recreating – new molds.
  • When’s the last time you looked at your talent and succession planning?
    It’s time to dust off your talent management system and give it a hard look. While employees are working from their homes, juggling home-schooling and zoom-meetings, there’s talent waiting to be encouraged. Distance is only a hindrance to your succession planning process if you don’t follow through with it. Right now people may be inclined to stay in their organizations for security and safety but your TA strategy should think further than that. Do you have a plan for when “Janice” retires?
  • Does your technology support your TA strategy?
    Have you incorporated automation into your talent acquisition process to either effectively match candidates to jobs or create a smoother (and much more rapid) candidate journey? What methods are working and which are redundant? Now is an excellent time to shop around and find better tech that fits your TA goals. When’s the last time you upgraded your TA technology? 

This slow down won’t last forever. Are you prepared for the acceleration?  

author: Christine Assaf

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