By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech
The talent acquisition field is no stranger to quiet happenings. First, there was quiet quitting. Now there’s quiet hiring. Both are likely to reshape recruiting for the foreseeable future. That said, I think the flip side of this phenomenon also deserves our attention. Meaningfully adopted, it can have an even more potent impact on both recruiters and solution providers. I call the dynamic loud recruiting.
Back in the Paleolithic Age of the Internet (the mid-1990s), I started writing a column for The Wall Street Journal about the online job market and recruiting. It was a fascinating beat at a fascinating time. The shift from a technology that had been in use since the invention of the printing press – newspaper advertising – to a technology that was just beginning to harness the power of algorithmic computing – online job posting – was profoundly impactful, both on what recruiters did and on how they did it.
It was unbounded change at an unprecedented rate. And yet, the more things were altered, the more they remained exactly the same. Recruiting teams were still understaffed, forcing individual recruiters to be responsible for simultaneously filling 10 or 15 or even 20+ open reqs. At the same time, recruiting budgets were too small in the best of years and the first to be cut when the economy slowed (as if hiring could be turned back on by simply flipping a switch when business picked up). And perhaps worst of all, at least some HR Departments treated the recruiting function as an entry level job for their new HR hires, notwithstanding the fact many had few or no skills for (or interest in) the work and moved out of it as soon as they could.
There were exceptions to those behaviors, of course, but that’s what they were and continue to be today – exceptions. In far too many organizations, recruiters have no choice but “to do more with less.” Even as they are increasingly able to make the business case for the acquisition of new technology, they have to deal with a c-suite mindset rooted in the 1950s, when workers were plentiful and skill requirements were less demanding. Although CEOs and, most especially CFOs, would never admit it in public, deep down inside, they believe that recruiting is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.
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This reality-defying situation puts recruiters in an untenable position. On the one hand, they face a daunting challenge in the talent market. Here’s how ManpowerGroup recently put it based on their survey of 39,000 employers in 41 countries:
“Today, 77% of employers report difficulty in filling roles – a 17-year high. … Combined with changing skills needs, talent shortages have been pushed to their highest levels since our survey began in 2006.”
And on the other hand, recruiters face c-suites that are reacting to the slowing economy by amping up their worst behaviors. Their companies are cutting budgets and staff and laying off recruiters.
What’s the best response? Loud recruiting.
Unlike conventional recruiting, loud recruiting is an internal activity. That said, it draws its foundational principles and practices from what recruiters already know and do in the talent market. Loud recruiting sees the internal competition for scarce funds and staff as the mirror image of the external competition for scarce talent. In other words, the activities that make recruiters successful in the War for Talent can also make them successful in the War for Relevancy & Support.
What are those principles and practices?
There are many, of course, but here are the two with which to begin:
Lead with a value proposition that resonates with your target demographic. CEOs and CFOs are literate in only one language: numbers. So, make the business case for more staff and a bigger budget with data. On a strategic level, use the results of such surveys as the one I noted earlier from ManpowerGroup. On a tactical level, use market data for the supply of those occupations/skills your employer needs in the geographic areas where it needs them or on a national/global level if the work can be done remotely.
Repeat the value proposition over and over and over again. Like job seekers, CEOs and CFOs have short attention spans and are frequently distracted by other concerns. So, just as a single job posting seldom (if ever) breaks through the clutter of competing noise to engage the optimum candidate, it’s important to restate the recruiting value proposition frequently and always with fresh data so that the case for recruiting support is increasingly difficult for decision-makers to overlook or ignore.
Why is that loud recruiting? Because it doesn’t take “no” as the final answer. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite of that behavior. Loud recruiting is the confident, emphatic communication of both recruiting’s purpose and rationale. No less important, it is also recruiters’ expression of self-determination and self-respect. Loud recruiting is an action-oriented outlook which announces that the quiet acceptance of inadequate staffing and budgets is over. It is a reset that benefits recruiters, of course, but ironically, it serves employers as well. They will just take a little longer to realize it.
Food for Thought,
Peter Weddle is the author or editor of over two dozen books and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. You can download his latest book – The Neonaissance – FOR FREE at OneStoryforAll.com. And, if you don't have time to read the entire book, just download a short excerpt of his inspirational message.