Have you picked up employees from struggling industry companies?

John G. Swanson
September 24, 2008
THE TALK... | Management

The Talk...Page 2

Survey Results for 09/17/2008:

We have:

Kept things pretty tight in our own company, so we're not hiring.


Looked at possibility, but not found right people


Picked up a few key people from struggling industry companies


Hired many people from struggling industry companies








The results from this week's poll make clear that most industry companies are in a "hold tight" phase.  That's not too surprising--given the industry headlines we've seen lately.  Some respondents indicate they are looking at picking up talent, however.  Thirteen percent have taken the plunge and added a couple of people and 3 percent indicate that strengthened their workforces more substantially. 

She admits it may not be easy to do, but Carlyn Burns, a recruiter in the industry with Prolyn Executive Search, emailed me to wrote to say "now is a better time than ever to hire people if you can afford it. It is beyond amazing how much great talent is out there for the taking right now. One company's layoffs or downsizing is another company's dream come true to often pick up a caliber of candidate that they would otherwise never get the opportunity to hire or even find."

Burns also reports, however, there's been a change in the past year, with more companies hiring outside the industry.  The main reason behind this, she says, is that many companies are finding it harder to relocate candidates--"as in getting candidates that are willing to take the risk to sell their house and/or take a huge hit on the sale of their house to pick up and move."

She also suggests that "many companies are almost dissuaded by hiring industry experienced folks because they are so negative in attitude about prior window companies they have worked for and may potentially bring that negativity to their next company. "  Burns goes on to note: "As I am sure you know all too well, many life long employee in this industry have given up total hope of the industry recovering and the industry being sustained and of course bad news travels quicker than good news. I think it is personally crazy and the industry will be just fine, if not better here soon. Yet, the majority of candidates I speak with are so down in the dumps and negative about the down turn in the industry that many of them are fleeing to other industries as well. That is the scary part to me."

Interestingly, and perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Burns reports that despite the struggles in the industry, "I have never been busier. It is baffling to many, as this year has most definitely been the one year within my involvement in the industry that I have seen so much distress and struggle with many companies in the industry, with layoffs, continual plant closings, etc. In any event, I remain busy…companies in the industry continue to hire me to find them people to fill their open jobs."

In light of the poll results, my take on her last observation is that more than a few companies are positioning themselves for the future. They have the resources--and probably don't carry the debt that other companies have--to invest for the long term. One thing I do know is that we have a lot of private companies in this business--family owned--that don't have to focus on the quarterly numbers and how financial analysts and other third parties will react.  These companies have always focused on the long term and I suspect they're doing it now too.




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