The Real Problem with Just In Time Recruitment

How many times has a requisition(s) for a new department, acquisition or project been dropped on your desk with the expectation of you walking on water and moving mountains to fill them immediately?

Over the course of my career, this has happened to me countless times. Sometimes, I had great news for my hiring managers and other times I had nothing for them.

Those of us who have been in Talent Acquisition and/or Recruitment roles for a while know that there was a space and time where you would source your heart out against regularly-filled requisitions to amass a database of names. These were people you could put to work when opportunities arose. You were able to do this because you had some inkling or clue as to what the needs would be in the future.

Fast forward to now, the wants, needs, and priorities of today’s candidates are ever-changing. This makes the concept of casting a wide net, baiting and catching anyone who can breathe; an archaic modus operandi for recruitment.

I’m not sure when someone in HR or otherwise made a collective decision to shut recruitment out of workforce planning discussions – but it happened. Suddenly, every requisition is a new awakening and you are in a just-in-time mode – satisfying as many of your requisitions as possible in an absurd amount of time.

What’s the problem with “Just-In-Time” Recruitment?

Here’s a shortlist:

  • It’s reactive versus proactive.
  • It becomes hard to focus on quality when your sole objective is to fill a requisition.
  • It creates a further divide between what is needed by the organization and the potential value Talent Acquisition can provide.

From a business strategy perspective, any solid or potential plans for expansion, acquisition, joint ventures etc. should be discussed with your recruitment  team. If they know what is coming down the pike they can better strategize and ensure that optimal levels of staff are achieved.

It’s called…workforce planning.

The ideal scenario is: You, the owner of the organization or member of the C-Suite decides where the business goes next. In turn, we proactively work with you to see that you have reasonable timelines established for the recruitment process and a strategy for hiring and on-boarding people properly so they start off on the right foot.

Step it up, TA Managers!

Additionally, talent acquisition managers have to be strong enough to force their way into those conversations in the first place. There’s nothing more infuriating to recruiters than having a TA manager who sits idly by; while the organization sets them up to fail with last minute requests for bulk hiring. If you are a TA lead or manager, it is your job to set reasonable expectations for what your team can accomplish given the time and resources that are allotted.

If you say nothing and accept it, the entire organization expects that you and your team are on-demand entities ready to funnel them candidates no matter what they throw at you.

Here are some tips on how you can get out of the Just-In-Time rut:

  1. Push back on unreasonable timelines and expectations for staffing when they arise. Educate your internal partners about why the timeline and/or requests are unreasonable and provide timely alternatives for them.
  2. Get your recruitment team in operational meetings so they have a global view of future hiring needs. Rotate team members at these meetings and have them come back and debrief the other recruiters on the state of affairs.
  3. Map out a timeline and create a plan for expansions, acquisitions and projects so every recruiter can take stock of what they have and plan their recruitment efforts accordingly. This will allow for a more proactive approach to the support you provide and set the team up for success.

If you really want to be progressive, rate your hiring managers on their time and ability to anticipate staffing shortages. When Just-In-Time requests start to affect their performance ratings and increases, you will be likely to see less of this. Accountability wins every time.



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