Recently, I have been spending a lot of time catching up with my professional connections, both new and old. It's something I've done in good times and bad throughout my career—because it is during these times, I learn what's changing in the industry.
Throughout this process of connecting and reconnecting, you begin to understand how you can add value and help them, and they, you. It's how a networking relationship can benefit you both. I'm sure that, due to the market conditions, most of my new connections think I am looking to sell them something. But in all honesty, I have a genuine concern for my connections and the businesses they serve
These calls with my connections have given me a great opportunity to more deeply understand what impact this crisis has had on their companies, their industries, and their recruiting. And I am delighted when they turn the tables on me, asking, "how has this crisis impacted YOUR business?"
It gives me an opportunity to explain my industry—Recruitment Process Outsourcing, or RPO—in a way that's most meaningful right now.
RPOs Give Companies
a Head Start
As a Recruitment Process Outsourcing provider, we have seen an impact, given our industry is directly tied to hiring. Some would even venture to guess that recruiting will be less critical, with 30 million working American displaced from companies of all sizes. But they're horribly mistaken. This, too, shall pass.
In my career, I have helped companies through several economic disasters, including the dot com bust, banking/finance debacles, 9/11, and natural disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, and now, this pandemic. Trust me, recruiting will come back, and it may come back with a vengeance as companies start to look at the new skills needed as a result of this pandemic.
What I try to convey to my HR network connections is that RPOs are uniquely poised to give their organization an advantage during times like these. Why?
RPOs Take on The Risk
During an economic downturn, a company will look internally at their staffing levels and make hard decisions to furlough or even reduce the number of recruiting team members for cost avoidance. That can be painful on so many levels!
When working with an RPO, organizations can ramp up or ramp down recruiting capacity as hiring demands dictate—giving you, as an employer, more significant control of how many of the RPO's recruiting resources will be needed to support the business. When times dictate and recruiting returns to normal levels, the RPO can add team members as required, scaling up or down depending on the company’s needs.
RPOs manage the recruiting team so you don’t have to. That, in turn, frees you to spend your time on more value-added activities, such as HR/business strategy alignment, workforce planning, and HR innovation.
RPOs Build Candidate Pipelines
So You're Prepared for What's Next
When hiring comes to a screeching halt, RPOs can shift their focus to candidate pipelining. RPOs hire a variety of recruiting resources, including Sourcers and Talent Advisors, who have a unique set of skills that allow them to find and connect with top talent who may not be actively seeking a role nor heard of your brand. They become responsible for building a pipeline of candidates and keeping that pipeline "warm" for when for future positions open.
Pipelining candidates is not an easy thing to do, but taking these steps helps keep your recruiting activity in a state of positive motion versus stopping it completely. If you only start your recruiting events once a vacancy emerges, recruiters may rush the process and not hire the best fit for the roles that may have developed because of the crisis.
Forward-thinking organizations realize that, whether they are hiring right now or not, hiring will return. Hiring an RPO to build and nurture a pipeline, taking advantage of quality talent that may not have been previously available, is a smart move for forward-looking companies who recognize the market will eventually rebound.
RPOs are Motivated to Exceed
Candidate and Hiring Manager Expectations
Some things won't change when hiring ramps up again. As they go through their job search process, candidates will still have high expectations for communication, logistics, and knowing what onboarding may look like in the "new normal". Hiring Managers, too, will be just as demanding, wanting their hiring experience to be quick and hassle-free.
Companies that hire RPOs expect us to provide the best hiring experience for all concerned. They are looking for a robust, effective, and efficient hiring process that utilizes innovative new approaches to recruit top talent. Because we serve numerous companies across multiple industries and because there’s a lot of competition in the RPO space, we have to keep up with the latest recruiting tools, technologies, and best practices, so you don’t have to. We are continuously learning, so we can continuously improve on your behalf. Whether we're hiring to staff-up a particular project, or are acting as a company's recruitment arm, we're motivated to meet and exceed those expectations to keep your trust, partnership, and business.
RPOs Fine-Tune Recruiting Practices
That Impact Your Brand and Deliver a Great Candidate Experience
We all know how important it is that your recruiting process makes the right first impression on your potential applicants. Every company wants to hire "A-players." These A-players set the bar high for themselves, but also for the companies that want to hire them. They will extrapolate the impression they get from the candidate experience to how the company will be.
Attracting and engaging candidates who will 'wow' your hiring team, need to be 'wowed' themselves in return.
That's where RPOs provide a real advantage. By deploying a fully dedicated, high caliber recruiting team to represent your brand, every communication becomes an opportunity to reinforce your brand and establish a positive first impression for your organization.
Proactive organizations are using the current slow hiring period to fine-tune recruiting practices that might be keeping them from engaging and hiring those "A-players." For organizations that are reevaluating the talent and skills they'll need after the market rebounds, this is extremely important. No organization wants to settle for "B-material," but their current approach and process may be telling a different story to “A-quality” candidates that are now available.
Whether you're actively hiring or building a pipeline for future openings, it's extremely important that your process builds trust in candidates. That's the only way they can picture you as their future employer. This requires, not only fine-tuning the current recruitment process, but having recruiters that can communicate more thoughtfully and be engaging, empathic, and transparent. Building this into your process now will reap many valuable returns even after the crisis passes.
There's So Much to Do
to Get "Recruiting-Ready"
How can an RPO help you get your organization ready for when the market returns? There is no one size fits all solution (or at least there shouldn't be). We know that it takes a holistic approach to get optimal results.
Partnering with an RPO means having a team to help you clearly identify what success should look like for your company and prioritize the factors that will drive toward that success. And there's no better time than right now to do that.
Whether you’re one of my network connections or not, we should talk. I’d love the opportunity to better understand your challenges and what you'll need to prepare for the future. Together, we can realize the many benefits of an RPO – for you and the business partners you serve!