Recruiting in a Slow Economy

Quantity does not equal Quality

Written by Deanna Hunter

If you recruit in Alberta you may be experiencing an unusually high influx of job applicants for your positions.  It could be because you are an amazing organization to work for and you have a highly effective recruiting strategy.  If so, nicely done!  Or, it could just be that our labour market is flooded with laid-off energy sector workers, former Target employees and Shaw Communications people who are anticipating the closure of their call centre in the coming months.

Having a ton of applicants may seem like a dream come true, right?   Wrong.  Quantity does not equal quality.  Just because you have a lot of applicants, doesn’t mean you have the right applicants.

Now is not the time to rest on your laurels when it comes to recruiting practices.  If anything, you need to be even more diligent to ensure you have the right people applying and the right assessment process to make the best match to the job.

Some things to consider when recruiting in a market flooded with job seekers:

  • Ensure that your job advertisement is clear, concise and paints an accurate picture of the job. A good ad will be just as good at deterring the wrong people as it is at attracting the right people.
  • Don’t adjust your tried and true assessment criteria.  Stick with the top 4  or 5 most important skills/abilities you require to get the job done – quality hasn’t magically improved.
  • Make sure that you have included some specific screening questions in the application within your applicant tracking system (ATS) – let it do some of the work for you. If you don’t have an ATS, consider including an additional screening component early in the process.
  • Make sure you ask about the candidate’s motivation for applying.  They may be qualified to do the job but their goal might be to get back into the industry they were laid off from when the market rebounds.  If you don’t suss this out in the interview, you may experience some turnover you hadn’t anticipated.
  • Be prepared to put in some extra time screening through all those resumes. Call in extra help if needed.  Reviewing all the applicants will ensure you don’t miss the perfect match.

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