Recession Fallout in HR: Why Aren’t Hiring Managers Getting the Message?

I have a feeling I’m about to preach to the choir.

I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had lately with hiring managers who just don’t get it! (I hear you saying “What do you mean “lately” – did hiring managers “ever” get it?) The recession has made our job very hard – today – especially if you are currently trying to hire anyone with technical skills (engineers, designers, IT professionals, scientists, etc.).

During the recession we had candidates coming out of our ears! Today, it seems like almost overnight, technical jobs across the country have turned on like a fire hose.

Everywhere companies are trying to find technical talent, in all industries, all at the same time. Remember that Baby Boomer tsunami of retirements we were suppose to see? This feels like the first waves are hitting the shore in terms of technical hiring!

Hiring managers aren’t getting it

I’ve spoken to engineering schools that have 100 percent graduation hires, plus, some companies are now paying for engineering seniors’ senior year of tuition! I’ve spoken to companies that have had to double their payroll projections in mid-budget year just to have enough money to hire the same amount of hires they projected at the beginning of the year.

In HR and recruiting we get this – the market moves, sometimes very quickly, and organizations have to be prepared to adjust and move with it or risk causing some very bad outcomes to our operations. But, do our hiring managers get this?

I’m here to say that not enough have gotten the message!

Over the past few months, it seems like we are having daily “conversations” with hiring managers who are still wanting to see the same 20 candidates they saw during the recession, and they are turning down candidates for minor things like “he seemed a little shy,” “she was from Tech and I like State grads,” and, “he’s had two jobs in the past 10 years!”

I’ve had hiring managers have interviews, come back and say they like both candidates really well, but would like to see some more – when there aren’t any more! It all sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

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Candidates aren’t just waiting on us

The recession did this to them! It made them greedy, it made them ultra picky, it made them believe there is a never-ending pool of great candidates who only want to come work at your company. Ugh! I hate the recession!

So what?

In HR/recruiting, this is where we become marketers. We start selling, and what we are selling is an idea — an idea that the world is different, they sky is falling, and there’s only one person left to hire. That person is the stupid candidate I just put in front of your face! (wouldn’t that be great if we could say that!?)

Look, I understand you and your hiring managers “only want to hire the best talent” (BTW, so does everyone else). But times are changing. If you want to hire the best, you better be paying the best – or at least offering the best value proposition as compared to your competitors.

Lines of candidates aren’t out their just waiting for calls any longer. It’s simple addition: more technical job openings than candidates + Baby Boomers now beginning to feel like they can retire = our job just got a lot tougher!

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.


4 Comments on “Recession Fallout in HR: Why Aren’t Hiring Managers Getting the Message?

  1. Tim, this is great. We’re seeing our clients actively engaging the hiring managers to be more proactive themselves(eg improve LI profile, post status updates, share the job postings w/their network, Twitter, FB) and to be an extension of Talent Aquisition as opposed to a recipient. It’s gonna take some time, trust, and effort!

  2. I see, hear and feel this daily. While there is always work for talented people that create value, we are entering a new season; a step change or inflection point where leaders and there organizations will change or die (ok perhaps a long slow painful decline full of malcontents that have quit and stayed).

    It’ll be money on the front-side (the smart money that builds what’s needed to get it right the first time), or money on the back-side (to cover the churn and staff to process it). Just as we went from the paradigm shift from “cost + margin = price” to “margin = price – cost,” our cost structure for Talent, Talent enablement and capacity to deliver product or service due to needed talent will be impacted dramatically.

  3. Same here on the continent.Plenty -loads even – of HR and editorial talent, but techies are awfully scarse..

  4. Agree totally. I was likewise inspired to write a blog post after reading some Gartner research on the state of IT job postings. It wasn’t good – and I think it’s exactly what you are pointing out. Hiring managers are often starting this broken process with awful job descriptions and worse job postings and expecting to get the cream of the crop. They absolutely have to be part of the talent acquisition process and understand the reality of finding and keeping good talent today, especially in IT. Not only is it hard to find good IT people with the right technical skills, it’s hard (and only getting harder) to find good leaders for IT.

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