Even if your firm is going through a hiring freeze, interviewing and networking is always one of the most important things you can do, especially in our business.
As you know, the business has waves of "great times" and "not-so-great times." You must always be prepared for the next "great time" because your existing clients and newly acquired clients need you to react quickly to their evolving needs in order to service their business appropriately. If you do not constantly recruit and create a pipeline of people with different backgrounds/expertise, you will potentially be caught behind the eight ball. The inability to staff your client team appropriately leads to client dissatisfaction and can put your account(s) at risk.
When pipelining it is important to let those you are meeting with understand that you are meeting them on an informational basis, keeping them in mind for future positions that may suit their career goals and current skills.
Recruiting does not end with one meeting. It is important to continue to have contact with those who you may want to bring into your team at a later date when the need arises - it is also important to seek the help of client-facing colleagues in order to keep the relationship going, especially if there is a possibility that the potential future candidate would fit a specific role.
Constant recruitment and networking is the responsibility of everyone, even during a hiring freeze.
Michele Chase is MD of US HR at Burson-Marsteller.
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