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Now’s the time to hire, not fire

Now’s the time to hire, not fire

Here’s an idea from the left field – while everyone’s concentrating on tightening their belts, there are some great people to be snapped up.

Filed in Employment strategies

A recession is all about priorities - and often about hard choices. No one likes making people redundant, but sometimes it has to be done. Belts need to be tightened. But there's one thing that's true about every recession: they come to an end. So while there's a need to manage your business through a recession, there's also a need to prepare it for coming out at the other side.

Indeed, many businesses fail not during a recession, but as the recession ends - because their competitors have managed to get themselves in great shape for when the recession is over.

And so this recession brings with it an interesting opportunity. There's never been a better time to hire - there are more really great people available for hire now than there were a couple of years ago.

True, companies shed their less able people first, so there may be a lot of frogs to kiss before you find a prince, but there are many princes to be found.

It's not just about availability, either. People who are highly skilled will now accept a more realistic package to work within the right job. After all, a job is a job. It's also possible to find someone highly skilled, who will be happy with a step backwards or sideways if, when things pick up, there is a path to a greater career goal.

The key to exploiting this opportunity is to plan what kind of size and shape your company needs to be in post-recession times. To look at the skills and manpower you'll need. Not that it makes any sense to take on a large, expensive headcount when you can't afford it - but some planning, combined with a few prudent and strategic hires can get your company in great shape further on down the line.

It's not all about future planning either. A siege mentality may be necessary sometimes, but historically the winner of a battle is seldom the army under siege. There may be ways that a few highly skilled people can make a massive difference to your company's survival chances, for example. An obvious example is taking on a star sales person, or a really sharp marketing person - but it may also be savvy to take on a trainer with a rare product specialisation, to give you a premium-price training course that you can sell.

So while there is a real need to keep hands firmly on the tiller and grit your teeth, there's also the opportunity to steal a march on your competitors - getting in better shape now and preparing yourself for the future.

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