Creating Talent Acquisition Team Value in Uncertain Times

What should Talent Acquisition Leaders do when open requisitions are suddenly put on hold, or canceled due to the current coronavirus pandemic impact on hiring?

Among several immediate questions and concerns is, “what does coronavirus impact on hiring mean for my Recruiting Team and their future? Will I need to layoff some of my Recruiting Team? What about the current candidates in process and those new hires who haven’t yet reported for work?” And the list goes on.

In this post, I want to just consider some of the potential ramifications for your current recruiting team that may have been brought about by the coronavirus impact on hiring.

Some History in Time of Economic Uncertainty

I’ve been a part of the recruitment profession for 40 years, and I acknowledge that the coronavirus impact on hiring is unpresented and unexpected. I believe there are lessons to be learned from earlier steep economic downturns in so far as hiring and employment is concerned.

Let me be clear, the only similarity to the coronavirus impact on hiring I’m referring to is the economic impact of hiring on employment  and the resulting unemployment. I’m not equating the heart rendering health impact with other economic downturns!

In many earlier economic downturns, executive management decided to quickly layoff what they consider “non-essential staff.” This has usually includes recruiters. It frequently turns out to be a strategic mistake!

The ability to establish a well-run capability to recruit and hire top people is a strategic asset, NOT a line “cost item” to be quickly trimmed without serious consequences.

Without competent people you don’t have a business…period! The ability to attract and hire the best is a strategic asset…period!

When the economy rebounds, and it always does, re-establishing this strategic asset is a re-building effort that takes time. It takes time to recruit, hire top recruiters and mold them into a win-win strategic hiring team!

Maintaining a Strategic Talent Acquisition Team

Savvy competitors keep this strategic talent acquisition asset in place as long as possible. I recognize the ability to retain staff for fiscal reasons is different for different employers. Some are in a better position to do that. With that in mind, here are my thoughts.

Employers should utilize this period as a strategic opportunity! They use times of reduced hiring to upskill their talent acquisition team. This includes reviewing their recruiting process and tools along with closing gaps to improve their talent acquisition process.

Think of it like ‘off season training’ for a professional athlete. Even better, like Spring Training. A time before games begin for players to “get in shape”, practice basic skills and formulate a win-win team strategy.

I know firsthand what it’s like to see well-run recruiting teams disbanded during uncertain economic times. I’ve also been part of a talent acquisition re-building process and know just how that adversely impacts an employer’s strategic capability to find and hire the best people when hiring resumes.

Two Specific Steps for Times of Uncertainty

I have two suggestions for Talent Acquisition Leaders during this time of uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus impact on hiring. I’ve had personal experience with both of the following suggestions and have found them highly effective in maintaining a high-performance Talent Acquisition Team in times of economic uncertainty.

#1 Conduct a Recruiting Audit

This is something that is difficult to find time to do during times of full-on recruiting. Take a breather and do it now when you have some time!


This can be done 100% internally or can also involve using an experienced external talent acquisition consultant to help. This includes looking at your total recruiting life cycle. Review your recruiting tools and systems. What works, and what doesn’t? Do they need to be tweaked, replaced or abandoned? Are they effective, but not being used as efficiently as they could be because your recruiting team needs to learn to use them better?


Next look at the end-to-end recruiting process from requisition open through the first 12 months of employment for a new hire. How could it be streamlined? How could it be sped up to improve time to hire? Evaluate your recruiting tool budget for ROI. How well does your hiring process predict on-the-job success? What are your metrics and are these metrics the ones most valuable to the business?


Finally, look at the talent acquisition team structure. Evaluate every team member. Who needs training and in what areas? Is there anyone you wouldn’t hire again, and if so, should you replace them?

#2 Invest in Specific Training

Invest in some specific training to support your best recruiters. Using the analysis suggested above, locate training that will make your best recruiters even better. Your top people will appreciate your concern for helping them grow in their career and increase their professional value. You will enjoy a renewed team spirit as they bond into a high-performance recruiting machine.


One such training and audit program that I’ve been involved with for over 25 years is The Adler Group’s Performance-based Hiring. They have training that can be delivered remotely through both webinars and online learning which is ideal in these times of limited travel. It has a high ROI and there is no better time to take advantage while hiring is reduced or on a temporary hiatus.

Contact

Carl Bradford


If you’re a Talent Acquisition Leader and want to chat about this informally, connect with me here. Be bold, take care and stay safe during these times.


Build world class, high-performance win-win hiring teams!


I look forward to chatting with a few of my readers on this topic. Let’s find a time to chat.

About the Author

Carl Bradford's background includes 30+ years as an HR Director, Executive Search Professional, Trainer for 1000+ recruiters and an expert in Performance-based Hiring methods. Carl has certified recruiters in this method since 1999.