This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

May 26, 2004

The New Recruiting

Recruiting has increased across industry lines in recent weeks. The numbers are not dramatic yet, but the trend is steady. That signal is positive, compared to the fluctuating numbers we have seen in recently.

Several activities of this hiring trend are significant. These factors make it difficult to see just what is happening; the process is not as transparent as many people expect it is. The trend is relatively quiet. Employers are recruiting, interviewing, and hiring, but they are doing it quietly. They are very focused on specific talents they seek and are targeting desired individuals, not publicizing their openings. Some employers have confided to us that they are engaged in what we will call "stealth hiring"---actual employment and "dry hiring."

"Stealth hiring" is defined as recruiting quietly so your competitors won't know you're building your talent strength. Employers watch what their competitors do in the employment market, since it is a good indicator of how they see the market and how they position themselves for growth.

"Dry hiring" is taking a candidate through all the steps of the recruitment and selection process, but not actually completing the hire. It is a technique used to identify desirable and available talent to build bench strength.

Another part of the current hiring trend is that employers are filling jobs that have been closed for a long time. Now those positions are being opened and filled. We describe this as "deep hiring," since the staffing process is now going deep into the organizational chart to bring in people to do jobs that had been left vacant during the economic slowdown. Some of these people are new hires; some are employees returning from layoff. Sometimes, employees are promoted into these positions and the resulting vacancy is then filled.

We're seeing more activity to fill managerial positions, a sure sign that subordinates will be hired soon. Executive search firms are very busy in most fields. The demand for sales professionals has picked-up, as companies strengthen their capacity to bring in new business. Manufacturing hiring is healthier than it has been for a long time.

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