Recruitment is in effect selling. Here's how recruitment managers can strike a good bargain...
The marketing streak in the human resources function will help managers position their recruitment strategy better
Recruitment managers can improve their chances of finding talent in an economic downturn by marketing their offers aggressively
"All recruiters are salesmen, while all salesmen may not be recruiters!"
The statement sums up the essence of recruitment recas a sales activity where a recruiter is either selling an employer to a potential employee candidate or a potential employee candidate to an employer. Either Both ways there ing happening. This facet of recruitment has long been debated and those who like to give recruitment it a more ahave often denied the '"selling'" aspect of th functio.
However, the debate over the selling mentality of the recruitment function vs. the process-oriented nature of the human resources function has never been conclusive in favour of either; and a majority of recruiters agree that at some point in time they have indulged in hard-selling. The truth is both hard selling and process-oriented recruiting have their own specific applications. While hard selling works well in situations where recruiters have deadlines to meet, the milder process-driven recruiting helps in filling positions when there is no leash on time. Selling is also resorted to when recruiters are looking to fill senior-level posts. On the other hand, the process-driven approach is suited for positions that are not very strategic, and therefore do not need an aggressive suitor. This kind of recruiting strategy rarely manages to get a good catch, especially for top slots, and the effort often ends up in a compromise. Such uncertain means cannot be applied during uncertain times, like the current global economic downturn. Then what options do organisations have in such situations?
In times of economic gloom, the recruitment function will be in the line of firing first. Organisations freeze recruitment, resort to job cuts and lay-offs, and axe staff benefits and training budgets. However, one needs to understand that while a downturn is difficult to handle, there are ways to weather the storm. In the context of recruiting, experts believe that managers should look at alternative means to fill job positions. Leveraging the potential of social networking, employee referrals and other social media can help recruiters meet their needs even during tough economic times. Like recruiters, potential recruits too use these media for job search.
While it may seem self-contradictory for organisations to seek talent even as they cut their staff numbers, experts say such contradictions in the functioning of an organisation are but natural and recruiters must go all out to meet the need for talent.
The selling streak in the recruitment function has got accentuated with the information explosion. Today, job seekers are aware of the employers' requirements, interview patterns, loopholes in the recruitment process and other such 'classified' information. Unlike before, when the equation was in favour of the recruiter owing to the access he had to employee details, today the equation seems to have evened out with both the parties equipped with information equally. This has made employment negotiation both simple and tough. It simplified the process because candidates are as aware of things as the recruiter, and therefore do not base their demands on unfounded expectations; and tough because awareness has made it easier for people to draw comparisons.
In an economic downturn too much information is known to create further chaos. When the mood is desperate, employees tend to respond to every single job opportunity that comes their way, irrespective of the job requirements. This clogs the recruitment pipeline and compels managers to either take what comes their way or suspend their search for sometime. It is therefore recommended that in such desperate times, recruitment managers need to frame a specific and aggressive recruitment marketing strategy.
The change in the economic scene has also led to an overhaul in the concept of recruitment marketing. Unlike in the past, where recruitment marketing was limited to advertising job positions in the print media, today more innovative channels are used to 'sell' jobs. Use of blogging sites, social networking platforms and other social media, and web analytics is becoming increasingly common for filling job positions. Recruiters are able to filter resumes faster and the quality of response too has improved significantly. A good recruitment marketing strategy is one that is very specific and makes it clear through its job announcement the kind of talent it is seeking.
Organisations that are focused on recruiting the best have to resort to aggressive recruitment marketing. While those that prefer to recruit 'average talent' may do well by taking the traditional process-oriented approach.