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Now Hiring

Despite daily headlines bearing bad news about the economy, now isn't the time to put off strategic hiring, Shawn Boyer, CEO of warns.

Many hourly employers may be tempted to lie low and stop recruitment and hiring to save money these days.  However, this lockdown approach may do more harm than good, Boyer says.  While it may seem counterintuitive, companies that choose to strategically hire employees during the downturn are more likely to protect their bottom line over the long term; those companies can sail through these troubled waters by keeping their turnover low and maintaining customer loyalty, he says.  Besides, if history is any indicator, recessions typically don't last longer than a year, Boyer says.

"I hear from many hiring managers on reasons why they are not recruiting right now, but more often than not, they’d be better off to take a look at the facts instead of standing by common misconceptions."    

Why aren’t companies recruiting or hiring and why they should do so strategically?  These are the myths and the facts, Boyer says:

Myth: The company is fully staffed and doesn't need any more employees. 

In the hourly realm, turnover rates of up to 300% are common. Companies without a long-term recruitment strategy may find themselves suddenly short-staffed.  Since applications typically go “stale” after 30 days, it’s especially important to keep a pipeline of quality candidates ready to join your team. 

Fact:  Executing a recruitment strategy, especially in hard times, will fortify existing staff with quality people as turnover occurs.

Myth:  The company has plenty of walk-in candidates. 

While it’s important to meet potential employees face to face, time with customers is just as critical.  Employers who rely on the walk-in candidates to fill vacancies may be forgetting that while managers are interacting with the walk-ins, they are spending less time with the customer. This is dangerous territory, as poor customer service often signals internal trouble and causes severe damage to the business. 

Trying to manage walk-ins also diverts attention from other critical tasks like training, upkeep and general management. 

To avoid being distracted by walk-in candidates, incorporate a standardized screening process into the recruitment plan to identify the candidates best-suited for the position.  Then schedule face-to-face meetings with those candidates during low-traffic periods. 

Fact:  The customer is No. 1.  Include a screening process in the company's recruitment plan and avoid wasted time that should be spent building relationships with customers.

Myth:  The applicant pool is more qualified than ever.

Everyone has heard the stories of MBAs applying for hourly theme-park jobs and former realtors clamoring to work in retail.  But, if they are out the door once a better opportunity arises, are they always the company's best worker?  No matter what kind of applicants are being received, the company should be in the driver’s seat about who it is hiring.  Consider company goals and priorities to ensure the company hires the best person for the job.

Fact: Hiring overqualified employees for cheap may be enticing, but it’s no bargain if the company is left high and dry.  Be sure to think about the qualities and commitment desired in an employee in the long term.

Myth: The company can save money by hiring less.

Many employers think that by cutting back on hiring, they will save money.  But, by skimping on recruitment, they may end up creating even more expenses.  Having three people responsible for a six-person job will quickly result in low morale and costly turnover, should any of the remaining staff choose to leave.  Plus, customers who don't receive attention in a timely manner because staff is at its max will look for services elsewhere. 

Fact:  Spending less on recruitment could cost the business more in the long run.  The company can save thousands in turnover costs by hiring wisely.

As companies struggle in this tumultuous economy, Boyer says, it is now more important than ever to implement a recruitment plan. After all, employees are the lifeblood of any business, the folks who deliver the products and develop customer relationships.  Hire wisely now, he says, and the company will weather the storm. 

Adapted from an article by Shawn Boyer, CEO of

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