Taking the Pulse of the Market is the Recruiting Start Point

We all know that the economy has been turbulent over the last few years. It has touched many people personally. Listening to the market and watching the data is a major element in planning recruitment. March of 2013 was a benchmark in time when government cutbacks impacted the reporting of mass layoffs by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Eliminating the Mass Layoff Statistics program that provides information that identifies, describes, and tracks the effects of major job cutbacks in the economy is a loss. Forgive me if I sound cynical, but it seems that the government doesn’t want us to know about any information that may suggest that we are not on a rosy path to better times. At least they don’t want to know. Sequester cuts not only impacted federal agencies, but also affected some joint federal/state systems as well. State and local agencies responsible for unemployment statistics are stressed with the current workload without additional resources to manage the overflow.

Some would call it ironic that the Workplace Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act gives employees certain rights in a mass layoff and dictates the detail of record keeping and reporting that is required. Scratching my head, the same government that cannot tell us in general what is going on is requiring infinite knowledge of everything businesses are doing. Compliance is enforced, but the free data on the general workforce is slowing to a trickle. Would I add to my cynicism if I also pointed out that the Department of Labor can’t afford to spend money to assist business interests while at the same time they are maintaining a huge bureaucracy to deal out punitive measures? How fitting it is that when government fails to provide free enterprise steps in. There are many other sources to fill the gap.

There is excellent commercial reporting coming out of Manpower Group with their Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, or MEOS. Watching business news in the usual publications such as the Wall Street Journal and other financial news reporting sources lets the workforce analyst dissect the data by location and industry. Many online sources list plant closings, bankruptcies, layoffs, and other sources of talent. Daily Job Cuts is one compiler of such actions that can be a source of intelligence on the job market.

Outplacement firms are another key source of not only statistics but also viable candidates. In the past there was a cloud of perceived failure hovering over anyone laid off from their job, but a soft economy and business financial constraints (or caution) changes all that. Most cuts are not just trimming the fat but cutting to the bone. Lee Hecht Harrison, a part of DBM, provides not only outplacement, but also offers two products: one for job postings called JobScout and the other is a database of resumes, Resume Reserve. Right Management is another firm that is the outplacement arm of Manpower Group. Specific local job postings can be coordinated with the local offices handling outplacement. Often a call to one of their career counselors can result in contact with key talent.

Sourcing that is the result of a focused approach will yield better results than a shotgun approach. Listening to real people gives the opportunity to alleviate any fears of recurring unemployment and misfortune by directing them to a new future. Replacing their negativity with a positive message about a viable career with a company that has a culture of engagement makes it work.

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