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MailTribune.com
  • Finding the Right Employee Fit in a Sagging Economy

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  • Back in July, the United States Department of Labor reported that unemployment rates were at their highest point since 2004. At the time, job losses for the year totaled 463,000.
    With so many people out of work, the job market is flooded with far more workers than there are jobs available. For hiring managers, that can be both good and bad. With so many people looking for work, hiring managers can rest assured there will be no shortage of qualified applicants. On the other hand, sifting through those applicants to find the right person for the job could be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
    In the current economic climate, it's best to take a more specialized approach to recruiting, which can involve a number of steps.
    * Don't mass market the job. Every recruiter and every job seeker is well aware of the major Internet sites that cater to every profession. With unemployment figures so high, these sites really are not your best bet if you want to limit the number of response you'll get for your opening. Chances are such sites will provide many qualified applicants, but the volume of unqualified applicants will dwarf that number, creating more unnecessary work for you, the recruiter, in the process.
    To increase responses from qualified applicants, consider placing an ad in the local newspaper or even trade publications. The local newspaper will limit your responses to applicants within your area, while a trade publication will limit the responses to people in the field.
    * Don't shy away from applicants with employment gaps. In the past, gaps in employment were red flags to recruiters. However, with so many people now out of work because of a sagging economy, you're going to come across lots of resumes with employment gaps. Whereas an employment gap used to indicate an employee might have been fired, nowadays it's more indicative that an employee was probably laid off, which is often the fault of the economy and not the employee.
    * Share the interview process with a coworker. In the current economy, you're going to have more applicants than in an economy that's booming. While that's good, it's also more work, and as competent as you might be when it comes to screening resumes, you're going to end up needing some help, both with screening and interviewing.
    The interview process might be especially daunting. That's because you're going to have more than one qualified applicant, and it can be hard to choose the best one. In such instances, it's best to share the interviewing duties with a coworker. This will help you get a different perspective, and one interview is often not enough to gain a good grasp on a candidate. If you conduct the first interview, let a coworker conduct the second. That way you can share thoughts on the same candidate, as opposed to discussing the pros and cons of candidates you have interviewed but your coworkers have not, and vice versa.
    * Protect yourself. In the current economy, an applicant is going to take the first job offered, regardless of how interested he might be in the position. To protect yourself from candidates who are more interested in a paycheck than a profession, make it known the position comes with a trial-period. While this can't entirely protect you from someone skipping out on you the moment they find something better, it will protect you from an obligation standpoint if the employee doesn't work out as well as you'd hoped.

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