PAULA SANTONOCITO
PAULA SANTONOCITO, SENIOR MANAGER, RESEARCHER & WRITER

Why Recruitment Should Have a Seat at the Table Now

May 26, 2020 at 12:51 PM — Post

For years, the human resource profession has been advocating for a larger role, one that allows for influencing organizational strategy and decision-making. Today, this so-called “seat at the table” is a reality at many companies.

Yet, even as HR has become more influential, the recruitment function has remained largely in the back office.

Sure, recruitment has been renamed talent acquisition (TA), and a number of professionals have extensive management responsibility. But a seat at the table? Not usually.

It’s partly the nature of the work. Recruiting tends to be viewed as process oriented. Job orders lead to job postings, which lead to screening and hiring. Supply and demand are factors, and may influence process slightly, but, in general, process drives results.

Or at least it has, until now.

Post-pandemic recruiting

In the current environment, talent acquisition can no longer follow a predictable path. Because TA leaders and recruitment professionals have numerous unknowns with which to grapple, the tried may no longer ring true.

At this point, there hasn’t even been time to answer these questions, or absorb the lessons experience has to offer.

  • What happens when a country shuts down all but essential businesses?
  • What happens when 38.6 million people become unemployed in a nine-week period?

Suddenly, the United States is about to find out what happens when a country, after shutting down all but essential businesses, attempts to reopen, at reduced capacity, with no national plan – and with plans that vary from state to state, to the point where a uniform business decision is impossible.

Gulp. In this environment, perhaps a strategic approach to talent acquisition aka recruitment would be helpful.

Adding essential value

Reopening for business will involve more than recalling furloughed employees. It will require creativity with regard to staffing – for example, a team approach, with more part-time workers; or, a shift approach, that requires additional managers.

It also will likely involve experimentation. Remember, there is no roadmap or rulebook; everyone is making things up as they go along. Even the “experts” acknowledge this.

What does the situation mean for talent acquisition? Staffing needs may change on the fly, and, as a result, recruiting will require adaptability. But that’s the easy stuff.

Strategy and decision-making are where talent acquisition has a pivotal role to play.

In other words, now is the ideal time for TA to become a business partner. In this capacity, TA can help plan for reopening and, as important, help develop innovative staffing plans for each phase of business resurgence.

Why not ask HR to take on these tasks? At small and midsize organizations, where there is significant overlap between HR and TA functions, this approach may be warranted.

However, at large organizations, where the functions operate independently, TA is best suited to this particular role.

Why rely on recruitment pros

TA has the ability to:

  • Plan for flexible contingencies
  • Use data for direction
  • Use technology for automation
  • Use data + technology for real-time decision-making

This isn’t to say that HR shouldn’t be at the table as well. As business gears up, there will be important people issues requiring HR’s input.

Nevertheless, when it comes to recruitment, why not draw on your company’s most knowledgeable resource? Make room at the table for your senior TA leader.

For additional insight into how to adjust your recruitment strategy to succeed in the current environment, check out the recording of Appcast’s recent webinar, Responsive Recruitment for 2020.