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December 27, 2008

Recruiters – Recessions – Reinvention

You can read a lot of insight into this post about third-party recruiters, recruiter behavior and more during recessions. Some people wonder why recruiters can earn placement fees from companies during recessions or high by historical standards unemployment figures. 

Since the recession started about a year ago we have seen a lot of recruiters face difficult circumstances in placing candidates in parts of the financial and banking fields. Forget automotive industry – that's terrible. 

But that does not mean third-party recruiting stops during historically high unemployment. Other fields like sales, technology, accounting and related opportunities may remain hot and needed even during a rash of layoffs and unemployment figures rising.
Here are a few reasons why recruiting by third party recruiters can thrive in bad economic times:
1. Third party recruiters often niche. That means they focus on very hard to find candidates and match them for the company. For example, forensic accounting, auditing and tax accountants still are in high demand. That may not surprise you. But also people with hard to find technology skills may be very marketable now. Additionally, people in sales who bring in new revenue and who have a book of business to bring to a new company may be close to recession proof.
2. In one instance over the last month the president of one of the largest banks whose home office is in Raleigh, NC said directly to me: "John, I find that this may be an unprecedented time where we can locate and hire top talent from our competitors." So this person who is in a field that has taken a huge hit still feels he can find and hire top talent.
3. You can read most leadership books like "Good to Great" by Jim Collins or "The Dip" by Seth Godin or others. Soon you find out that setbacks are merely setups for great comebacks. This is the time, an opportunity for you and for companies to set themselves up to prosper. One key way is to get the right people on your company bus. Another client of mine received a raise this past quarter and his company made record profits in the energy sector. What did they do? They did a 4% layoff. When I inquired why he said that it was a convenient time to get rid of "some dead weight" at the company. Believe it or not but a recession can be a good excuse to reinvent your team. Is it fair? You may not think so but it happens. Companies clear the decks to set the stage for growth. What do they want? They want or should want the best players on the field. A recession may be a time to find that talent.
So there you have it. If you are not the hunted and most placeable candidate during this recession then what are you doing to follow your personal brand, your worklife mission? By niching properly and following a most marketable path you can do a lot to stand out and potentially recession proof your career a little bit more.

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One Response to “Recruiters – Recessions – Reinvention”

  1. December 30, 2008 at 3:40 pm, Dave Baldwin said:

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve read Good to Great and The Dip, and they both point to the same thing: discovering what you could be the best at, and doing that. I think that this is optional during an economic upswing, but mandatory during a recession. The folks who figure this out are the ones who never have to worry about where their next paycheck is coming from.

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