Friday, June 13, 2008

Hiring in a down economy

We talked earlier about A/E firms who are hiring while their competitors are letting people go.

Here’s what you can do to make this a reality in your firm:

· Take a look at your workforce. Are there things that could be redistributed if you found the right candidate?
· Check out your competition. Are they letting people go? Have they instituted a hiring freeze?
· Use your network. The candidates you seek are out there. You just need to find them.

The AEC industry is built on relationships. People know people in this business. If you hear that your competition is laying people off, ask your “in the trenches” professionals if they know of anyone at XYZ Architects who lost their job. Ask them if they would be an asset to your firm. Encourage your staff to let you know when they hear of a competing firm laying people off or an industry colleague looking for work.

Linked In and the Society for Marketing Professional Services are two more resources you can use. SMPS is a great place to find out who’s hiring, who’s laying people off, and why. Linked In allows people to update their employment status instantly and sends out an e-mail to each of your contacts, letting them know immediately of any changes.

And if you know someone who is on the street and you’d love to have working for you, by all means, do whatever it takes to get them!

Fact is, you can wait for your clients to find money to put projects out to bid, submit an RFP, go through the dog-and-pony presentation, and land the job before hiring people. Or you can bring them on staff now, take a hit to your margins, but with the knowledge that when things turn around and the talent war resumes, you’ll be several steps ahead of the competition.

Good luck!

Ed Hannan

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