Top 5 mistakes when hiring in a recession


While hiring during normal economic periods is itself fraught with big time peril, hiring during a recession can have its own set of unique challenges. Here are the top five recruiting mistakes made by companies during tough economic times:

1.  Thinking Great Candidates Grow On Trees

Recruiters I’ve talked with on RecruitingBlogs.com say they are having a harder time filling the reqs they have open. How can this be? Unemployment is high! Generally speaking, most of those top tier candidates that clients are asking for are still working and are not so willing to move now with so much uncertainty. Like most things in life, quantity isn’t a sure sign that you’ll get the quality you need.

2.  Under-Estimating Your Staffing Needs

One of the classic moves is under-staffing when times are tough. When you are launching a product though and you forecast five employees and your manager cuts it to three, think about the situation you are putting these new employees in. They’ll be doing the work of five employees and that added stress can lead to increased turnover. Turnover can cost a lot of money too.

3. Hiring Now Only To Later Lay Them Off

The opposite problem of number two: you hire someone and then lay them off three months later because of something unanticipated. There isn’t anything worse than this (especially if they had a job before!) When you make the decision to open up the req, plan worst case scenario and that you have to keep them on board for a year or more. Still confident? Open it up. Have questions? Re-investigate until you can be confident.

4.  Under-Compensating Because You Can

In a depressed market, you may feel the urge to underpay a new employee because you can. While I am a fully fledged capitalist, I should mention that there is a real risk to this strategy. Let’s assume that you under-compensate a new employee by 25%. Not a problem now but down the road when the market is back and compensation is on the rise, are you going to be ready to up the pay significantly (by 25% or not)? If you’re not, beware. You may be buying a deal on a very short term employee. And don’t forget holiday bonuses either, although here are some recession-proof ideas for you.

5.   Not Replacing A Necessary Employee

When times are tough and you have a hiring freeze going on, it may be tempting to not replace Bob from accounting who is retiring at the end of the year. Just redistribute the work and hope for the best. If Bob is a necessary puzzle piece though, you must replace him not only because you can (you were paying that salary before) but because it will help the other employees who are in the department (who may have taken over extra work as the down turn began).

In short, hiring in a recession isn’t about guessing and it isn’t about treating people like sub-humans because they are desperate for a job. On the contrary it is all about getting your hires right the first time and treating them with respect. This attitude will pay dividends once the recession is over and we’re all back to business as usual.

You can also find Lance on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/thelance

http://standoutjobs.com/site/blog/top-five-hiring-mistakes-in-recession/

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