Is it Worth Maintaining a Recruiting Department That’s Not Being Used?

Wharton Prof Peter Cappelli hit this one out of the park.

Although “I’m betting that this downturn will become nasty fast,” he says, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a recruiting department that could have too much time on its hands should be axed.

He argues that before recruiting-department pink-slips get printed, companies should:

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  • Figure out what the chances are that next year they’ll need recruiters who really know their company.
  • Then calculate what it’ll cost to hire such recruiters next year if the company has laid off its critical recruiters and needs to start from scratch.
  • Lastly, decide whether it might be better off just keeping who they’ve got.

It’s an exercise that could and should be done in another departments on the proverbial chopping block.

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4 Comments on “Is it Worth Maintaining a Recruiting Department That’s Not Being Used?

  1. While all are proceeding with caution, Organizations should remember that it will take 4-6 months to rebuild the staffing organization and 9+ months to build the organizational knowledge base required to really be highly productive.

  2. To borrow the concept from e e cummings, Peter Cappelli actually expects leadership to think. What a silly man.

    Howard Adamsky

  3. I loved Cappelli’s article. We really do need to get better at presenting our business case. Clearly a “time to fill metric” will carry little weight in this effort. Sell from the positive – what does it gain the business by doing recruiting right every bit as much as selling against the negative of the cost of failing to recruit.

    We also need to get better at raising awareness that recruiting is a constant function within the organization, not an on-again/off-again add on. That it plays into brand, market perception of performance, performance sustainability, etc.

    Now is a great time to go after key talent. What a great message – yes, the economy is tough but we are still growing and want you to help us stay on that path. So while others batten down the hatches, we’re hoisting the sails.

  4. Unfortunately I am not sure many organizations will be able to avoid laying off their recruitment teams. In the coming months all “non-essential” (a term totally up for debate) staff may be up for the chopping block. Particularly since some recruiting functions can be absorbed by members of management (particularly with a hiring slowdown) while staffing services can pick up many remaining functions.

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