Hiring on the Cheap: How You Can Find Smart Deals in the Talent Market

Photo by istockphoto.com
Photo by istockphoto.com

I’m an American, damn it, and Americans like deals.

We want 40 to 60 percent off stuff, even if you priced that crap up 75 percent to begin with (hello Kohl’s!). I don’t care – just give me a receipt that shows I saved $45 dollars on a $90 pair of shoes and I’m sold!

I think HR Pros are even worse at this concept  than most people, probably because 75 percent of us are female and like a good sale as much as the next guy or gal, but also because we rarely have any money in our budget, so we need to make our dollars stretch!

This is why I think it’s funny that most HR Pros do a terrible job at trying to get Talent on Sale. Yep, you read that correctly – you can get great talent on sale, but we often refuse to do it. Here are some of the best talent bargains we often miss:

1. New College Grads

This can be tricky in finding a real deal. First, you have to get one that has cut the purse strings from mommy and daddy, and doesn’t want a freaking trophy for just showing up to work.

I look for new grads that had to work their way through college in the dirtiest job possible. Those are the kids who really get it – get what it takes to work. Also, look for kids who worked nights and weekends – even if your schedule doesn’t need them to – because they’ll just appreciate your 9 to 5 work environment even more!

2. Alumni

This seems like an obvious one, but as I talk to HR Pros around the country, most hiring managers still struggle in hiring back employees who left them looking for greener pastures.

If an HR Pro can talk their hiring managers into really tapping this pool, you can find some great bargains because the people come in already trained and already acclimated to the culture – two huge overlooked values when hiring.

This is really an ego thing with hiring managers. If you can get them to check it at the door, you can make some great hires. Before you go put a ton of money into a Boomerang or Alumni-type program, spend some time surveying your hiring managers; what you find might surprise you!

3. Old People

Before you blow a gasket on the term “old people,” let me explain.

I use to be young. Now I’m over 40, and while I still feel young, my kids look at me like I should be in a museum on display! People aren’t lying when they say 30 is the new 20, and 40 is the new 30, because people are beginning careers later in life, living much longer, and are healthier than ever.

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So, when I see someone who is now 60, I can’t think, “oh, they’re only a few years away from retirement.” Heck, they might not retire until 75 or later, and I’ll take 15 great years from a hire – especially from someone who has proven over the past 40 what they can do. This is the greatest untapped labor pool in America right now!

4. Single Moms and Dads

OK, you’re going to have some attendance and flexibility issues, but if you know that going into the hire, you won’t find anyone else who “has” to work harder to make it all work.

Some of the best workers I’ve ever had are the full-time single Moms and Dads (where no other parent is in the picture), and they’ve proven they can handle the single parent role for a few years. One word of caution, however – new single parents will have many more issues than ones who have been at it for awhile and have figured it out.

So, am I advocating paying these people less? No! What I’m saying is you’ll get more for your dollar with some of these hires than you’ll get from your college grad, with 5-7 years of experience at one employer. Why? Because every hiring manager is looking for that – and thus that market gets overly inflated for no good reason.

Where else do you find your talent bargains?

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.

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