Coping with the Recruitment Rollercoaster

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Working in recruitment has always been a bit of a rollercoaster ride but the past few years have taken things to a whole new level. We have gone from the relative normality of 2019, through the screeching halt of 2020 and then onto the frantic pace of 2021. Now, as we look ahead to uncertain times, there is a genuine fear that we might have to go through the whole thing again.

In my conversations with recruitment leaders there is hope that organisations will have learnt that people cannot simply be lost and found without consequences. There is also a recognition that the underlying trends that were already concerning them in 2019, demographic change and loss of access to wider talent markets, are still having an impact. The final concern is that high-levels of attrition are also here to stay as employees, especially the newer generations, get comfortable with moving on a frequent basis.

All of which mean that if you get off the rollercoaster you might really struggle to get back on again – so what can we do to make it a smoother ride?

Some suggestions:

  1. Work closely with the business to anticipate future needs rather than waiting for a crisis to emerge. Educate the business on the impact of high attrition, even when growth has stalled. One of our partners, Foresight, can really help in predicting future talent needs so you can start addressing them now.
  2. Start low-intensity campaigns to build long-term relationships with people that might be interested in joining you in the future. This used to be the domain of the recruitment agencies, which is why they are still so successful, but modern talent pipelining tools make this possible for in-house recruiters too.
  3. Start to think about what you can do if there is a freeze on all activity. So much value and activity went down the drain because organisations had no place to keep the candidate connection going when things were disrupted. People still remember being abruptly ghosted midway through the selection process. This should not happen again.
  4. If you do lose people, and this will be as much driven by people as organisations, think about how to maintain the relationship in a positive manner after they leave. Your alumni could become a source of introductions and even future talent if you treat them with respect and make it easy for them to keep in touch.
  5. Take the opportunity to analyse the past couple of years and how much the stop-start approach has cost your business. Organisations are becoming acutely aware of the (lack of) resilience in their supply chains and the impact this has on the bottom line. Talent should be part of the same conversation and the resilience of your supply a top priority.
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