It’s sometimes difficult to decide on an approach to recruitment, especially with regards to advertising. On one hand, there are the obvious cost benefits of promising your business to someone for a fixed term, committing to a contract, and agreeing to have an ongoing arrangement. The trouble comes when the market suddenly undergoes an enormous change, and the playing field changes entirely.
This has been clear to see over the last few years particularly. With publishers striving to push digital offerings, the market finds itself crowded with media options in certain areas. Aside from the highly specialist media this has resulted in having the option of many tools for doing the same job. Of course this isn’t to say that any one particular channel is ineffective, but it does leave a problem when considering recruitment in the long term. Signing a fixed term agreement in exchange for discounts may seem logical, but the uncertainty and constant fluctuation in the market means there is a definite risk involved. The best way to manage that risk? Allocate your budget carefully, and of course have a solid contingency plan. Most organisations have at least one “bogey role” which is either incredibly challenging to fill successfully, or retain staff in for a good period of time. So when there are no more resources left from the first choice channels, it’s imperative for the organisation that there’s a plan B. Nobody can predict how the market will evolve in the long run, so it’s wise to account for the possibility that market leaders may not stay that way, and that new technology might change people’s approach to recruitment and finding employment.
On the other side of the argument, there is the ad-hoc approach, which in it’s great flexibility has many merits including limiting the damage of quiet periods or freezes on recruitment. A 12 month contract is great on the face of it assuming there is a good discount in place, until a restructure takes place 6 months down the line and an invoice is still arriving every month despite the fact that there is no recruitment going on. It can be accounted for as an annual expense, but in real terms, it’s waste which is difficult for anyone justify in most situations. Furthermore, when an organisation invests in a new channel for recruiting which launches halfway through a year, it can give them a headstart on their competition who may have already allocated the most or all of their budget. Too much commitment can sometimes leaves you in a situation that you hadn’t planned for.
Similar strategies could apply to agency partnerships too of course. Most agencies are not a monthly expense, unless there is a management fee in place. If this is the case however, it again can leave you stuck, paying for something that you can’t make the most of. It often seems that flexibility in business is hugely underrated. Contractual agreements, for all the work usually involved in producing them don’t guarantee you security or even necessarily the best value in the long run. They have their place, but we believe it is in a market which is based on regular, quantifiable requirements which are easily comparable. Unfortunately at the moment, recruitment tends to be quite unpredictable and things can change quickly over 12 months both with the media and agencies.
Our conclusion? Assess the annual budget and if you or your agency can negotiate any agreements which give you a good foundation for your regular recruitment without breaking the bank it is definitely worth consideration. When doing this, go back to previous the recruitment activity from previous years and build a good case. Make sure that whatever agreements you have won’t cause you major headaches if operations slow down for a while and have a backup plan in case things unexpectedly speed up.
Perhaps in simple terms, the wisdom we would choose to impart is “Don’t spend it all at once.”