If business is booming, or even if things are just going good, than you should be recruiting. It’s not just something we should be doing for open positions; there should always be buzz about what an organization’s workforce looks like today, and what, ideally, it should look like tomorrow.
After all, people always leave organizations, no matter how big their budget or effective their retention initiatives are. The good ones leave for better opportunities, or more cash, or just a fresh start. The bad ones are managed out, if you’re lucky, or fired, if they’re not. That’s the sort of stuff that just happens, which is also why recruiting should ALWAYS be happening. So too should succession planning. If you’re not preparing for the future while recruiting for current needs, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Recruiters bitch. Managers bitch. It seems like, somehow, in recruiting. we’re always a day late or a dollar short.
We bitch because can’t hire the people we thought we would hire because we don’t have the money, or couldn’t coerce our clients into making a decision fast enough to land the candidate we were looking for, even after we’ve found them. We also bitch because while there are always too many resumes to sort through, there are somehow never enough people out there for the jobs we’re looking to fill.
Recruiters bitch. Management bitches. It always seems like we are a dollar short and a day late in recruiting. The people we thought we would hire, we can’t because we either didn’t have the money or aren’t able to make a decision fast enough to land the candidate we are looking to hire. We also bitch because we never can find enough people to do the job we are looking to fill.
The Recruiting Roller Coaster: Get Me Off This Crazy Thing
Recruiting is a cycle. Hire, quit. Hire, fire. Hire, retire. Oh, and by the way – if you have a crappy quarter, and business sucked, stop hiring, period. Wait, never mind, the next quarter is shaping up to be way better, so better start hiring again. Dammit!
I mean, seriously – what about this recruiting thing is so confusing? How can we make sense out of such senselessness? How can we keep ahead of the curve when the pace is so fast and furious that we’re barely struggling to keep our heads above water?
Can’t we slow down, or take our foot off the pedal for just a minute so we can catch our breath?
Dude, that right there? That is recruiting. That’s just how it works. If you don’t like it, then get out, because you better get used to the fact that this is business as usual at almost every business, usually. It doesn’t matter what employer you happen to recruit for; all companies follow this same basic formula.
Bottom line is, there will always be too much work for recruiting to keep up with, until there’s not, in which case, we find ourselves out of work entirely. Right? Makes me wonder how we keep from going under.
Bye, Bye: The Day Recruiting Stopped
Well, as I can tell you from personal experience, being involved in a hiring freeze sucks, big time. If you’re not recruiting, then there’s no need to have recruiters, so kiss your staffing specialists goodbye. Adios, amigos. Your services are no longer necessary. We appreciate all you’ve done for this organization, but tough times, you know? And don’t let the door slam you in the ass on the way out.
I’ve been part of more hiring freezes than anyone should have to see in my 20 year career. Hell, most people in this business have – or will, if you’re a sadist and stick it out long enough.
If you’re one of the lucky recruiters who somehow manages to survive a freeze and keep their job, you’re stuck doing side projects and admin crap. If you’re an agency recruiter, you’re going to pretty much bust your ass just to earn an honest buck. Most of the time, that doesn’t pay off, and you start looking for a new line of work when you come up empty handed too many times to count.
This is a great gig, but it’s far from a steady one. Which is why recruiting remains a revolving door, a profession with no barriers for entry and a whole laundry list of reasons why someone would want to get out. But some of us stay put, and somehow, our careers survive the freezes even if our jobs do not.
But what about the managers? What about the company? Who really gets frozen during a hiring freeze? Like most tundras, the landscape of an organization whose headcount is on hold looks pretty bleak. Managers are forced to do more work, and their satisfaction plummets. Their hours increase, the scales of work-life balance tip forever in favor of the former, and they become so disengaged they hate every extra minute they have to spend at the office they don’t want to be at to begin with.
This pattern repeats itself throughout the company; at an enterprise level, a freeze means companies can’t accomplish their business objectives or execute on long term, sustainable strategies because, well, they don’t have the right people, or enough people, to get the job done effectively.
This, in turn, leads to a drop in profits, in stock price, in shareholder confidence, and all those bottom line repercussions that people forget about when they think about the true costs of recruiting the right talent. Of course, this creates the need to let even more people go – voluntarily or otherwise. The vicious cycle continues, on and on and on again.
But let’s go further than a freeze. What happens when a company really stops recruiting? You know, permanently? Have you ever seen an employer who quits looking for talent FOREVER? If you have, you know that when recruiting stops, when the freeze freezes over, then the company itself isn’t far behind. There’s no surer sign a company is going to die than when it kills off recruiting.
It’s just part of the highs and the lows. And if you’re a recruiter, you’ve got to get used to it. It’s the ultimate roller coaster.
Recruiting Is A Hell of A Drug
Recruiting is a drug. And it’s a damn good one, but it can be dangerous. The highs are incredibly high, but the crash can be even more painful. No matter how far up you get, you’re always going to come down, eventually. But the thing we need to remember is that if you quit recruiting cold turkey, you’re really not going to like what the withdrawal feels like. So quit your bitching and moaning.
Remember, complaining is easy, but recruiting is hard. And as difficult as it is to make that big hire, as soon as you’re done, there’s no time to rest on your laurels or pat your own back. There’s still a need for another one, and another one, and another one after that.
Being busy is good when you’re in recruiting. Frustrating, sure, but it’s all good. All that work means you don’t have to worry about not working at all. At least not in the foreseeable future.
So, what happens if recruiting dies? We’ll probably never discover the real answer, because it’s the lifeblood of any business, and there are plenty of people willing to put up with the pain that comes with the profession. But if you can’t hack it, then get the hell out.
With you or without you, recruiting continues. And it always will.
About the Author: Will Thomson lives in Austin, Texas, and works for Rosetta Stone as the Global Sales and Marketing Recruiter. He has been in recruitment and sales for 20 years.
He received his undergraduate from The University of Mississippi, and his Master’s Degree from St. Edward’s University in Austin. He has recruited some of the most sought-after talent around the globe, and is a regular blogger for the recruitment industry.