Fordyce Forum and Keeping Strong Recruiters Busy

When asked to contribute a post to share my excitement about the Fordyce Forum, while spending a working vacation on the family farm in the middle of the Smokies, I wondered what this ole “country boy” could contribute. This (working vacation) is an escape from the reality of finding good job orders in this economy, or trying to find some evidence of a recovery in this economy.

I can look out any window and see more trees than I will see in Las Vegas in 100 years, but somehow I will try to find a new spin, or put a new coating on selling impact players in a downsizing industry (take your pick of just about any industry, except for chocolate, pasta, pharmaceuticals, and liquid libation).

I find it’s no longer sufficient for recruiters to keep up with sports or the latest scandal, and one must now be able to hold an intelligent conversation on the economic outlook and the latest “Trillion Dollar Idea” to put lipstick on the pig — and a mighty big one at that. When Billions turned into Trillions, I remember something Bunker Hunt, who cornered the Silver market in 1980, said when asked his net worth in subsequent public hearings:

“If you know what you got, you ain’t got much.”

Well, a trillion bucks would fill two football fields in pallets of tightly bundled $100s 6′ high with no aisles, and if you are country folk, 200 acres 3′ high in ones. It’s a lot of money while $14 trillions has been spent, budgeted, earmarked in tax cuts, and planned over 10 years, mostly in the next two, in the United States alone. That’s 28 football fields of $100s or 4 square miles of $1s if you are keeping track.

Simply said, it’s scary for the hiring authority, too, as to how the economy will impact (or quit impacting) his company. Or will it get worse from what too many are calling the “not so Great Depression” or worse.

And whether we will repay the largess long before our grandchildren, in higher inflation and taxes. Oh, the economy will recover before 2013, the Budget Office projects at only a 2.5% (real growth), and I for one would have done fine not reading that.

There are a lot of ideas to make more placements in this environment, as most companies have quit laying off, cutting wages,
and cutting days, and will need our services quickly at the first sign of a new order or project. A keen ear on the slowing of the bad indications, the prospect of 2nd Quarter (Q2) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) coming in a lot stronger than Q1, plus a level or possibly positive GDP by Q3-4 needs to be emphasized to counteract the media emphasis on bad news.

Companies are bound to lose employees critical to their operation in this environment, which can translate into an easy job order.

Layoffs in HR can open up opportunities for recruiters where a skeleton staff is busy with general HR matters, with no time to cull through the many-fold increase in responses to any ad.

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Recently, a large subcontractor hired an operations manager from a smaller general contractor (my field) at a $30k raise (to $130K) and an estimator ($70 to $100k) from the same firm. Impact players where previously they relied on an in-house (but laid off) recruiter.

A recent post described the some 150k people a day who are getting jobs, presumably fewer than usual from recruiters, yet balanced by fewer recruiters. So much for the “no one is hiring” excuse.

I like to use the “economy is 88.8% healthy” example. Q4 and Q1 were -6.2% annualized, and a booming economy is +5%, thus 5 + 6.2 = 11.2 off of 100.

There is enough business out there to keep the strong, surviving recruiters busy.

So here’s the deal. We are all attending Fordyce Forum next month to pick up some tips, hone our skills, and bone up on technology and find out how to Twitter (or is it Tweet?). I have a few that will work for you in this environment without changing industries, working harder, or forcing your first-born to find work to help support the family.

It is certainly well worth it to bolster your income until the recovery comes by the end of the year. Yes, it will.

Jonathan R. Hefferlin is managing director of MRI, based in Dana Point, California. He is a search consultant with expertise in construction and transportation. A former television commentator, he authored the book Making Inflation Pay.

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