When it comes to hiring, you can count on one constant: change. From economic cyclicality and event-driven growth to pandemics and the Great Resignation, anything can and does happen to thwart even the best-laid talent acquisition plans. That’s why it’s so critical for companies to avoid designing their recruitment approaches based on fixed models in favor of leaning into nimble, elastic hiring strategies.
Case in point: We had a client who forecasted needing 400 hires within a year’s time. Like most employers, they made this prediction during Q3 and Q4. (Traditionally, our team classifies that end-of-year period as the “workforce planning season.”) One year later, the client’s ranks had swelled by more than 2,000 people. They essentially quintupled their original hiring plan expectations.
Why was the company’s original projection off by so much? Put simply, things changed. And if the organization hadn’t partnered with us as their recruitment process outsourcing (or RPO) provider, their internal recruitment team would probably have been overwhelmed. Fortunately, our setup allows us to shift in real time and accommodate uncertainty.
Embracing Flexible Recruiting
It’s impossible to underestimate the inherent value of an adaptable hiring model. Not only does having elastic hiring take the stress off hiring managers and departments, but it also protects the brand against workplace disengagement and poor customer experiences. Plus, in the case of RPO, it helps organizations avoid paying for too many or too few talent acquisition professionals.
There are too many uncontrollable variables to build a reliable plan. Certainly, teams can and should take “best guess” stabs at forecasting their personnel needs based on attrition levels, anticipated growth, and seasonality; however, they must resist the temptation to feel that those guesses can be locked and set.
Take our company, for example. We factor in macro and micro elements when determining our possible hiring needs. We look at our three-year run rate to get a sense of our annual requisitions. Then, we compare that figure to our current headcount, attrition rates, and any event-driven growth we know about.
This blended method of planning gives us a general direction. Nevertheless, we understand that we might need to rewrite our plans at any time. That understanding keeps us open to the changes we know are likely to come — even if we can’t name them at the moment.
Bypassing Challenges in the Hiring Process With an RPO Partner
If tackling flexible hiring without assistance seems overwhelming, try partnering with an RPO provider that practices radical talent acquisition adaptability as a matter of course. Below are three ways our team helps clients avoid the problems associated with a static, fixed hiring process:
1. We have the advantage of scale.
Personify’s client portfolio includes employers across North America and Europe. Each client is at a different point in the hiring process at any given time. Because our clients are adding and reducing headcount (effectively expanding and contracting), we have structured our workflows to allow fast resource pivoting.
Essentially, our scale and operations enable us to flex intuitively. We can keep up with any demands related to attracting, hiring, and training talent to support our clients’ needs and goals. All the while, our clients don’t have to feel the pinch or pull of what we consider a natural recruitment flux.
2. We have a structure engineered around market variability.
Our delivery model is organized, strategic, and comprehensive. Yet, it’s also adapting and evolving in real-time. For instance, our program managers take the pulse and overall health of our business and our clients’ businesses each quarter. Additionally, our team leads constantly and relentlessly look for inefficiencies and opportunities based on KPIs. And our back-office functions? They’re segmented so other team members, such as recruiters, can maintain a lightning-targeted focus.
The structure we’ve created enables us to scale up and down, making it easier to function in the fast-paced, ever-changing environment of modern recruiting and hiring. Clients are often surprised at how comfortable our people are with ambiguity and how well they work under pressure. The clients don’t realize at first that this is by design, not happenstance.
3. We rely on a robust analytics platform.
Data can tell you a wealth of stories, but only if you let it talk to you. Our analytics platform is based on a proprietary data warehouse driven primarily by information gained through our custom-built Oracle solution. The insights we obtain allow us to have confidence throughout all the steps in even the most complex enterprise hiring process.
With analytics, we can keep an eye on what’s occurring on the ground and make immediate adjustments. That way, our clients can be more efficient with their internal teams’ capacities.
More than anything else, flexible recruiting and hiring will either hone the competitive edge you already have or give you the edge you need. If you don’t have the infrastructure to deal with talent acquisition uncertainty, variability, and changeability, get in touch with Personify. We’ll help you control what you can — and feel more stabilized in your hiring even when life throws curveballs.
Contact us today if you want to learn more about a better way of looking at talent acquisition.
Ryan Carfley is the president and CEO of Personify, an award-winning, globally recognized recruitment process outsourcing firm. Ryan brings over a decade of cross-functional leadership expertise in enterprise-class recruitment strategy (RPO) and traditional contingent workforce solutions. Ryan has led Personify’s exponential growth over the last decade, capped off with Personify being recognized as one of the fastest-growing privately held executive search firms in the U.S. by Inc 5000 in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Over the last nine years, the Triangle Business Journal has ranked Personify as the No. 1 search firm on its annual Book of Lists.