Recruiting Smarter... Not Harder.
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August 13, 2002
Managing An Upside Down Recruiting Need
by Jeff Dahltorp, Director of Global Sales and Marketing

It never fails. I clip coupons for pizza and fast food, then when I'm out and about running my errands, I never have a coupon for the restaurant where I want to eat. Murphy’s Law I suppose.

It's the same thing when it comes to recruiting - when the economy is up and there is only a need to hire one person, corporate recruiters are never satisfied with the few resumes they have, but when the economy is down, they have hundreds of resumes that they may never get a chance to even read. While very common, many companies have not figured out a way to manage this occurrence and turn it into an advantage. If this is you, here is a starting point - you have to think about what you will need to do different in an up economy when faced with a down economy and vise versa.

Hypothetic: the economy is up. Your company has a position posted on an Internet career site, but you receive only a few resumes for that job. Often the next step that a corporate recruiter will take is to look to other sources such as third party recruiters or even a re-posting of the job on another Internet career site, hoping for additional qualified candidates. Not only does this increase the cost of that hire, but you may end up finding the best person was already in one of those first few resumes that you read.

Fear not. There are simple ways of supplementing your recruiting efforts when it appears to be a job seekers market. The best candidate for that open position may be someone currently in your company. They may be an individual that applied for that same job in a down economy that wasn’t the right fit at that time or even someone that had applied for a completely different job that wasn’t the right fit at all.

But hiring from within still leaves an open position in your company you say? Making sure that quality-testing procedures are done when someone is hired and ongoing during their employment means that you always have a readily accessible talent pool from which to "hire". While often this means that technically you still have an open position, it may be an easier position to fill through a job posting. Using a web based technology to administer, score and track test results makes testing very affordable and manageable.

Then you have the people that have already applied to work at your company in one capacity or another. Even if they didn’t apply directly for the position that you currently have open, that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be a good fit for a very different position if it ever became open. Again, assessment of a candidate’s true value will give you the ability to know who best fits each job. When you do receive hundreds of resumes during a down economy, and you really only need a few, make sure that you are using a technology to narrow and rank order all applicants. There are many cost effective technologies on the market today that treat each candidate equally and fit every budget. These technologies use everything from basic key word ranking to Boolean and concept based to very strong predictive match rankings using innovative "artificial intelligence" concepts. For many of these technologies, once you have the resume parsed, you can match any open job requisition with your resume database to find the best match. How’s that for low cost, effective recruiting! As an added bonus, remember that all of these applicants wanted to work for your company - they don’t have to be "sold" as hard as the candidate that just heard of your company yesterday. That’s a big score - Boom Baby!!

Okay, reality check. Right now, the economy is down, so there are more people looking for a job. When your company posts that same position on an Internet career site today, you receive hundreds or thousands of resumes. The next step in this scenario is to start reading the first resumes that you receive and hopefully find a number of qualified candidates before you reach resume number 100, if not sooner. In this situation, you may find a good candidate, but were they the best candidate or was that shining bright star you really wanted in the last 100 resumes?

Using a narrowing technology to parse and score your applicants will not only save you time, but it will give you the best candidates based on the job description and corporate criteria, whether they were the first applicant or the 101st applicant. Additionally you are building your applicant database for times when less people are looking and there is a more competitive market for talent.

Prepare to hire today as if it were an up economy ... and when it is, prepare to hire as if were a down economy ... this way you can always be best managing an ever changing upside down recruiting scenario.

  About the Author
Jeff Dahltorp, Director of Global Sales and Marketing of IIRC
IIRC is the pioneer of Internet recruitment consulting. He has been called upon to provide expert media opinions for Forbes, Human Resource Executive,, Human Capital Solutions and The Wall Street Journal to name a few. His responsibilities include management of the consultative sales force, marketing, products and services, IT and web site relationships. He has over 10 years of business experience in the area of marketing, sales, consulting, product development and product management.

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