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Post Recession Hiring Strategy

Monday, February 1st, 2010
The signs that the economy is starting to turn around are obvious. The organizations that were running a lean structure for the past 18 months may be considering issuing those offer letters again. During the economic upswing, the best candidates are picked up by corporations that have the financial muscle power to pay a premium.


Advantage of recession times

Recession brings a chance for small businesses to pick up quality employees within an untapped market. Hiring the best workers is a challenge for small businesses even during boom times. Hiring bright, energetic and loyal young employees during a recession means your business has a better chance of riding the hard times out, as these hires will reward you with loyalty.

Moreover, small businesses get the chance to instill the right work ethic that will serve both the employee and the business well when the economy gets rolling again. The efforts of these bright people will help build a strong customer base. Moreover, the sentiments will favor the company that hired during tough times when everyone starts hiring again.

Avoiding Common Mistakes is the key

During recessions, quite a few businesses make the common mistake of treating their employees as if they were expendable. The mentality that an employer can easily replace any employee is detrimental to a business and is simply bad for morale. This leads to a feeling of insecurity that can lead employees to vent their frustrations in ways that can lead to a loss of customers. If a business gains a reputation for treating employees insensitively, the word spreads in due course even to the customer level, as we have seen in practice.

Times will change again and you want to make sure you keep the good people you found while they had to look for you. There’s no better time to hire good employees than during a recession, as that is the time when you get the real quality at a bargain. There is also no better way to ensure that your company keeps moving forward with your new recruits when the economy does.

Assuming we agree that now is the time to start hiring with momentum, let’s look at a few finer point of choosing the right candidates for your company.

How to hire the best fit for your business

It’s time for that crucial decision once again. While there will be some excellent candidates looking for you, there will be many more who do not fit the bill. Any business veteran knows the fact that quite a few of the business problems they face are due to bad hiring.

The fact is, not all entrepreneurs are the best at the art of hiring. There is the possibility one may be overly optimistic and hire not-so-good candidates who are merely excellent at interviewing. Many a times, simple tough questions are missed and the candidate gets away with it. Reference checks are an integral part of the interview process, which is also overlooked at times.

Another important reality is, great employees come with a price tag, sometimes more than we can afford. There are cases where one is forced to hire less-experienced employees without the right track record and credentials due the affordability factor.

There are times when people grow in an organization by merit of their achievements until they reach a level where their contributions are no longer commensurate with the company’s growth plans. Then they would hit the saturation level and stop getting promoted. Today in similar situations they get laid off, downsized or right-sized, whatever jargon one prefers.

Now, not all who get laid off are incompetent. They would not have been working for the company in the first place if that were the case. It’s just a case to the point that in the dynamism of today’s business world, what works today may not work tomorrow. Both the employee and the organization have to continuously realign themselves to fit into the new architecture of the business mould or find themselves losing out.

Let’s look at some interesting criteria to look at while hiring:

1. Attitude, energy and intelligence versus experience

Experience is something people pick up over a period of time. It is acquired. But people cannot be trained in attitude, energy and intelligence. They are born with it. Either they have it or they don’t. These are the key attributes that will make the star performer stand out in the long run. The experience will help win the sprint in the short term, but the marathon will be won by the one with the right attitude, energy and intelligence.

2. The hungry versus the starving

Hire the prospective employees who are hungry for your company’s opening. They will be more focused, more energetic and will walk that extra mile in their excitement to excel. The starving, on the other hand, will take the first thing they can get and they will jump ship the second a better suited, better paying job comes their way.

3. History repeats itself

Real experiences in life can be a real guiding factor towards determining one’s corporate world behavior. Understand a candidate’s school and college likes and dislikes, his relationship with teachers, his relationship with his co-workers and bosses in his earlier jobs and his performances throughout. Is there a pattern emerging about his corporate behavior? History repeats itself – he will be the same in your organization.

4. The big pond fish

This is the time when you get those experts from the large companies who have tried and tested skills and a good track record, for a bargain. The treat for them is the opportunity to take up leadership positions, and for you they bring in the best practices of the large and successful organizations. But do remember point two when you go for experienced hands.

Finally you may find the best of talent and experience all yours for the taking, but be advised and prepared for the economic upswing where retaining the talent and experience will become the challenge. The good news is, there is still some time to gear up for creating the ideal atmosphere to nurture your prized catches. Its time to get going!

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