Bestselling author Martin Yate, a career coach and former HR professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in HR. Contact him at the e-mail address at the end of this column.
Recently we addressed why job seekers need an objectively focused resume to be the base of their carefully crafted LinkedIn profiles. This week, we will discuss how and why companies use different recruitment methodologies and how this should direct your own job search and career management tactics.
Corporate recruitment strategy has a laser focus on economy, speed and value. Hiring and training a new employee can cost thousands of dollars, making the recruitment process very cost- and productivity-conscious. Understanding how hiring managers, HR and recruitment professionals try to maintain cost-effectiveness and save time when selecting the right candidates will help your job search considerably.
Logically recruiters and hiring managers look to promote internally first, because it's quicker and cheaper. This works to the benefit of career-driven employees too, it's easier for you to get a promotion in your current job where people know you and can see that you've made the effort to develop the necessary skills for that next step.
Also, many companies offer employee referral programs, often cash inducements to refer job candidates. So looking at the arc of your career, it always makes sense, for you and your professional network, to have a well-written resume and social media profile up-to-date and ready to go.
Smart HR professionals belong to SHRM and attend their local monthly meetings, because this is where you get to meet the most committed and best connected HR pros – expanding your own network and the opportunities this brings as you become more aware of suitable candidates for your company's needs – and their employee referral program. The same reasoning also means that professional network connections can also be found—and referrals made—through other online social networking groups and alumni associations.
The need for speed in recruitment means companies will sometimes start recruitment advertising (the next cheapest way of sourcing new staff) before they have finished the above-mentioned cheaper methods. This means that even while recruiting externally, HR recruiters constantly review the company's resume database for promising candidates, and that along with employee referral programs is why those new job openings you see are sometimes filled just after you apply.
When internal promotions and personal referrals are seen to be failing in generating the right candidates, companies get serious about recruitment advertising.
If recruitment advertising likewise fails to deliver the goods in a timely manner, an employer will ultimately turn to headhunters; it's because of their expense that headhunters are typically used only when the less costly recruitment alternatives fail.
This standard corporate recruitment sequence should have obvious impact on your career management strategy, because companies prefer to hire people who come to them directly or through referral networks. For job seekers, this means that the most effective job-search tactic is networking coupled with research and direct approach—skills that, once learned, will serve you well throughout your career.
In coming job searches, leverage your understanding of corporate recruitment strategies and adapt your job-search tactics to maximize the impact of that knowledge.
Have a question for Martin about advancing or managing your career? From big issues to small, please feel free to e-mail your queries to YourCareerQA@shrm.org. We'll only publish your first name and city, unless you prefer to remain anonymous—just let us know.