Harvard Business Review recently published the results of research which analysed the differences in employer hiring habits between recession and a growing economy. In summary, when economies grow and the availability of high calibre candidates reduces, they lower the standards of what they will accept and employ! In other words, organisations are prepared to settle for second best because identifying and attracting "A players" becomes more challenging and requires a bigger investment in time, money and perhaps creative thinking.
As Executive Search specialists whose work is to recruit "A players" for our clients across a number of different continents, I see absolutely no sensible reason why a company would raise the bar for the calibre of candidates it would employ when times are tough only to potentially weaken it again when the economy is booming. Surely this will take performance backwards and leave you weaker when the next downturn arrives?
I have worked with 1 particular US technology client for the last 13 years who has taken the opposite view. When the recession arrived in 2008, this business saw an opportunity to resize which took it on a journey to lose the "B" and "C" players, identify the "A" players and then continuously work to raise the bar every year including the positive economic ones.
The available "A player" talent pool has clearly shrunk and is in far more demand, however, our client has "stuck to its guns" and settled for no less than stipulated in its human capital strategy. It has realised that investment in creative recruitment solutions has been required and has implemented strategic talent insights, talent mapping and talent pipelining activities to achieve its objectives. The result? The business continues to enjoy a high performance culture, strong employee engagement, strong annual revenue growth and its employer brand makes it a business that "A players" knock on the door and want to work for.
The difference between this client and others who are happy to settle for second best is startling. There is no need to if you are happy to invest and work a bit harder to attract the talent that will keep raising the bar.
Here is an article on talent mapping https://www.collingwoodsearch.co.uk/our-insights/downloads/7-powerful-benefits-of-talent-mapping/
Geri Lavrov/Getty Images Although the unemployment rate is currently at a historic low of 4%, economists are still struggling to understand why it remained so painfully high after the Great Recession—and why it took five years to return to its pre-recession level. Our research points to one possible reason: employers increased skill requirements during the recession, when high-skill workers were more plentiful, making it more difficult to fill those positions as the job market began to recover. However, since then, some employers have been lowering education and experience requirements in an effort to clear the backlog of open vacancies.