9 Steps to Smart Hiring In The Wake Of A Recession

The U.S. Labor Department recently reported that worker productivity fell at an annual rate of 0.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012. This steep drop suggests that companies will need to hire more employees if demand picks up.

But according to a survey by Manpower Group, businesses are stuck in a vicious cycle wherein stronger consumer spending is being reined in by weak hiring. Still smarting from the recession, hiring managers are reluctant to invest in additional staff until they see a rebound in demand for their services, and consumers are wary of overspending until employment prospects improve.

For business owners, however, there is a middle ground. Hiring temporary employees can provide extra support without increasing headcount, while simultaneously creating opportunities for those in need of work. Read on to learn the best way to supplement your staff with temporary employees.

Step 1: Know what you’re looking for.


Draft a list of qualifications you require. Since no candidate will be a perfect fit, you’ll need to prioritize this list and decide which traits are negotiable and which are not. Doing so will help you sort through applications quickly to find the best candidate for the job.

Step 2: Write a job description.


Your job description should spell out the responsibilities of the position and the education and experience required. Include information about your company and corporate culture; the department or division the position is in; and the work environment and equipment that will be used. The description should clearly state that the position is temporary, but if there is a possibility that it will become permanent in the future, be sure to indicate that as well.

Step 3: Recruit online.


An inexpensive way to recruit candidates is to use online job listing databases, such as Monster or CareerBuilder. By signing up as an employer you can search through resumes from professionals in your immediate area or nationwide. You can also post your position on these websites and let job seekers apply directly.

Step 4:  Seek remote assistance.


Technology has made it possible for many employees to work remotely. If the job opening at your company doesn’t require someone to be in the office every day, you might consider seeking remote assistance. Websites such as Elance, oDesk and Guru can help you find qualified candidates.

Step 5: Spread the word.


Sometimes the best workers are found through word-of-mouth referrals. Talk to other business people in your area or industry. Tell them about the opening you’d like to fill, and be clear that it’s a temporary position. They might have worked with a contractor in the past or know of someone who can meet your needs. People aren’t likely to refer someone they know is unreliable; therefore a personal referral improves your odds of finding a well-qualified employee.

Step 6: Outsource your recruiting.


If you don’t have time to hunt for temporary employees on your own, a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) firm can do the work for you. Before you settle on a specific agency, make sure they specialize in your specific industry and that their service offerings and fee scale are in line with your needs.

Step 7: Vet your options.


Initial interviews can be conducted over the phone, but should be followed up with an in-person meeting. It’s important that candidates’ personalities mesh well with your corporate culture and team. A formal interview will also give you a chance to ask more specific questions, so you can better understand their background and verify that they are qualified for the position.

Step 8: Determine wages.


Pay periods can vary by job, depending on the duration and type of work you’re hiring a temporary employee to do. Some employers choose to pay by the hour, issuing paychecks at the end of the day or week, while others prefer a project-based arrangement, wherein employees are paid upon completion. Whichever you choose, make sure candidates understand the terms before accepting the position.

Step 9: Cover your bases.


Just like permanent employees, temporary workers should sign an employment contract as well as tax forms and any confidentiality agreements your company requires. If there are special terms, deadlines or expectations pertaining to the job, make sure they are documented and agreed to by all parties.

As the economy continues its slow rebound from the recent recession, it is important for employers and job seekers alike to consider alternative options to full-time work. By hiring temporary employees your company will help stimulate consumer spending and be poised for growth.

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