What’s the Problem With “Just-In-Time” Recruitment?
How many times has a requisition(s) for a new department, acquisition or project been dropped on your desk with the expectation of you walking on water and moving mountains to fill them immediately?
Over the course of my career, this has happened to me countless times. Sometimes, I had great news for my hiring managers and other times I had nothing for them.
Those of us who have been in Talent Acquisition and/or Recruitment roles for a while know that there was a space and time where you would source your heart out against regularly-filled requisitions to amass a database of names. These were people you could put to work when opportunities arose. You were able to do this because you had some inkling or clue as to what the needs would be in the future.
Fast forward to now, the wants, needs, and priorities of today’s candidates are ever-changing. This makes the concept of casting a wide net, baiting and catching anyone who can breathe; an archaic modus operandi for recruitment.
I’m not sure when someone in HR or otherwise made a collective decision to shut recruitment out of workforce planning discussions – but it happened. Suddenly, every requisition is a new awakening and you are in a just-in-time mode – satisfying as many of your requisitions as possible in an absurd amount of time.
What’s the problem with “Just-In-Time” Recruitment?
Here’s a shortlist:
- It’s reactive versus proactive.
- It becomes hard to focus on quality when your sole objective is to fill a requisition.
- It creates a further divide between what is needed by the organization and the potential value Talent Acquisition can provide.
From a business strategy perspective, any solid or potential plans for expansion, acquisition, joint ventures etc. should be discussed with your recruitment team. If they know what is coming down the pike they can better strategize and ensure that optimal levels of staff are achieved.
It’s called…workforce planning
The ideal scenario is: You, the owner of the organization or member of the C-Suite decides where the business goes next. In turn, we proactively work with you to see that you have reasonable timelines established for the recruitment process and a strategy for hiring and on-boarding people properly so they start off on the right foot.
Step it up, TA Managers!
Additionally, talent acquisition managers have to be strong enough to force their way into those conversations in the first place. There’s nothing more infuriating to recruiters than having a TA manager who sits idly by; while the organization sets them up to fail with last minute requests for bulk hiring. If you are a TA lead or manager, it is your job to set reasonable expectations for what your team can accomplish given the time and resources that are allotted.
If you say nothing and accept it, the entire organization expects that you and your team are on-demand entities ready to funnel them candidates no matter what they throw at you.
Here are some tips on how you can get out of the Just-In-Time rut:
- Push back on unreasonable timelines and expectations for staffing when they arise.Educate your internal partners about why the timeline and/or requests are unreasonable and provide timely alternatives for them.
- Get your recruitment team in operational meetings so they have a global view of future hiring needs. Rotate team members at these meetings and have them come back and debrief the other recruiters on the state of affairs.
- Map out a timeline and create a plan for expansions, acquisitions and projects so every recruiter can take stock of what they have and plan their recruitment efforts accordingly.This will allow for a more proactive approach to the support you provide and set the team up for success.
- If you really want to be progressive, rate your hiring managers on their time and ability to anticipate staffing shortages. When Just-In-Time requests start to affect their performance ratings and increases, you will be likely to see less of this. Accountability wins every time.
Why Lasting Change Is Hard
Before we had any children, my wife and I lived in the heart of Dallas. One day, on our way back to our house, we were driving down Skillman Avenue when we were caught in a sudden torrential downpour.
The rain was coming down incredibly hard, which wouldn’t have been a problem if the storm drains were equipped to handle that much water. Instead, the road itself filled with water faster than we could have anticipated. Quickly, the water rose up the side of our car. Trying not to panic, we realized that we could not continue and would need to turn around and get to higher ground.
Water rising up the side of your car door is the kind of roadblock you might not expect to encounter, but when you do, it’s formidable. We couldn’t drive through it or even around it. We had to deal with it quickly or face serious consequences.
When we’re trying to implement change in our own lives, it’s important to identify and plan for common roadblocks to lasting change.
The first and, in my opinion, most important roadblock to lasting change is not addressing the real issue.
Let’s say you wake up in the middle of the night with a sore throat. You’re annoyed by feeling sick but your throat really hurts, so you get up and spray a little Chloraseptic in your mouth and drift off to sleep. When you wake up the next day, you still have a sore throat, so you pop in a cough drop and go about your day.
The change you’re making – using a numbing agent – might work if you’ve only got a cold, but if it’s strep throat, you’re not addressing the real problem. Only an antibiotic will cure what ails you, even if Chloraseptic will keep the pain at bay for a while.
Just like how more information is needed to diagnose your sore throat than one feeling, problems you encounter in your life or business require diagnostics, too. Figuring out the real problem – not just your most apparent needs – requires some introspection and a little bit of time.
Here are eight questions to ask when you need to discover the root cause, courtesy of MindTools.com:
- What do you see happening?
- What are the specific symptoms?
- What proof do you have that the problem exists?
- How long has the problem existed?
- What is the impact of the problem?
- What sequence of events leads to the problem?
- What conditions allow the problem to occur?
- What other problems surround the occurrence of the central problem?
Once you have your answers to these key questions, you can’t stop there. Your vantage point is skewed from your own perspective. You’re going to want to ask someone else to evaluate the problem at hand with the same questions and then compare your answers.
If you and all of the partners at your firm have similar answers, you’ll know you’re on the right track. If you wind up with wildly different ideas, I suggest seeking the advice of someone outside your organization. Fresh eyes can make all the difference in understanding a problem.
I often talk about being ‘too close’ to understand. You’ve probably heard the illustration about a group of people standing by an elephant with blindfolds on, trying to describe what they’re experiencing. Depending on what part of the elephant you’re next to, you’re going to have different observations.
But someone outside of that elephant’s cage can clearly identify the elephant.
The first key to making a lasting change is to make sure you’ve addressed the real problem and are looking for authentic change.
Next time, we’ll address the second major roadblock to creating last change.
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