Times are tough. Organizations are downsizing, changing the skills mix of their workforces, and correcting for bad hiring decisions made in the heat of the talent war. Many organizations are hiring people and laying them off at the same time, as skills are re-matched to the needs of a changing economy. The recruiting industry is in flux as well. Many of the people who jumped into recruiting over the past few years have left (voluntarily or not), and the rest are at least wondering if they should, as the easy money of the past year or so has gone the way of the dot-coms. Organization after organization has reduced recruiting staff along with other employees. Recruiting has always been a tough and demanding profession. It requires great skill at persuasion and selling, good analytical skills and the ability to quickly adapt as times change. Really great recruiting managers weather downtimes and find ways to meet challenges in the uptimes without building a huge overhead that has to be taken down as things slow. I have written several articles on the need for organizations to have a talent strategy ? a way to look at the overall skills needs that an organization has today and will have in the near future ? and for recruiting to play a major role in creating and executing that strategy. But rarely have I seen any example of this happening in any significant way. As organizations downsize, I see recruiters throwing up their hands and feeling that they now have no role. Many firms, as well, see this the same way and let their recruiters go. In a few months, when things pick up, they will be going through the familiar cycle of seeking recruiters and of getting them oriented to the company and to its needs. Creativity is part of all of our job descriptions these days. We have to figure out how to do our jobs better and to create a new need when an older need has changed. A few recruiters are able to make these transitions better than others.
|Rich Kisiel, Corning Inc.|
Rich Kisiel, a long time senior-level recruiting guru and the director of global staffing for Corning Inc. in upstate New York, is one of the creative ones. He has won several awards for his creative approaches to recruiting, and may earn another one for his latest move. As Corning’s demand for engineers and scientists slowed over the past few months, he wanted to find a way to keep his best recruiters and to help the employees who were being impacted by the slowdown. So he has put his recruiters to work helping these employees find new jobs. Quickly turning part of Corning’s recently remodeled recruiting facility into an outplacement center has provided Corning’s employees with a place to go while looking for new jobs and put the services of many seasoned recruiters to work on their behalf. The recruiting team is now focusing on finding new positions for employees, either within Corning or with other firms. And he has extended this service to branches of Corning in other states. This is the kind of creativity that breeds excellence. Corning is helping its workers find new jobs, providing career guidance and resume writing training, and retaining its best recruiters. These recruiters are challenged to acquire new skills ? in counseling and in learning how to place people as well as find them. They are all becoming more valuable and well-rounded talent. Whenever the economy turns the corner and hiring begins again in earnest, Corning will have a stable and highly tuned recruiting staff ready to shift gears again. At the same time Rich is showing Corning, and us, how recruiting can be part of developing and executing a talent strategy. He and George Brewster, the long time head of college recruiting, are reexamining the role of college recruiting and are focusing their efforts where it will pay back the most for Corning. And Valeria Kennerson, recruitment marketing manager, is developing a brand, a website and an image for Corning that shows it as an employer who cares about employees and takes care of them through the full cycle of entry to departure. This is only one example of an organization with good recruiting leadership and an enlightened human resources function that provides its employees with exemplary service and makes even those who are leaving feel good about the company. When organizational needs change, the recruiting function should be able to step up and help out. They should be able to bring in and gracefully exit employees all the time, not just in bad times. Outsourcing is a part of what we all do and, while never as much fun as bringing in new people, can be rewarding to everyone.