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How to identify which companies are hiring

Looking for a job change?

Have identified your professional strengths and what you bring to a job (Check out this blog )

And looking to make your search efforts productive by identifying which companies are most likely to be recruiting.

Then read on.

Companies recruit when there is a shortfall in the resources they have compared to what they require.

Triggers which can lead to this shortfall are

  1. Rapid growth

  2. Diversification into a new line of business or geography

  3. Companies lagging their peers

  4. Unplanned attrition

When looking for a job, identify companies with one of the above triggers. They are the ones which are likely to be recruiting more actively.

Those growing rapidly

Social media, e-commerce, analytics, and cybersecurity are some recent themes which have driven rapid growth of new industries and of companies within them. This growth has and continues to spawn aggressive recruitment of talent

Growth themes and companies tend to attract a lot of media attention. This makes it relatively easier to identify the fast growth industries and companies who could be potential future employers for you.

Pursuing new lines of business or geographies

Aiming to grow, companies add new lines of business and expand their presence in new geographies.

Since both of these are new to the organization, its current employee pool may not have the requisite skills or expertise required, thereby triggering a need to look outside to talent.

Let’s take two illustrations of this from the IT services industry.

The intent to expand into domain consulting and solutions led traditional IT services companies to recruit actively from retail, manufacturing and financial services, and from traditional consulting companies like the big 4.

Similarly, pursuit of business in new geographies (USA & Europe in the 90’s and LATAM and emerging markets now) has been a trigger for them to aggressively add new talent in those locations.

Companies which are lagging their peers

Companies which trail their peers in financial performance are likely to come under pressure from stockholders to become more competitive. This in turn can trigger initiatives to consolidate lines of business, of initiate new ones. As illustrated in the earlier example, initiatives into new lines of work are triggers for external hiring.

Trailing peers in performance brings leadership and senior managers under scrutiny and often leads to changes in senior management.

If this underperformance leads to a change in ownership / dominant shareholders, the external search for leadership and senior management is higher than when ownership is stable.

When ownership changes

If there is new ownership, incumbent senior managers lose the sponsors who they may have built equity with through past performance and loyalty. Expect active hiring at the senior levels as the new owners look for external talent seen as more likely to drive the enhanced ambition for financial performance.

Those who follow the IT services industry would have observed this with the mid-size companies where private equity took controlling interest in the recent years.

When ownership does not change

When company ownership does not change, senior managers retain the relationships with the owners/board members. There will still be a churn in senior management but lesser than if the ownership changes.

While there may be selective recruitment of senior leadership from external sources, many of the senior slots to be filled will be from within by elevating and rotating high performing internal talent.

Again, those who follow the IT services industry would have seen this with the larger IT services companies which were lagging. While they made selective hiring of external leaders, the bulk of the senior roles were filled by high performers from within.

Unplanned attrition or separation of existing personnel

Attrition of talent occurs in the course of any business.

Companies plan for this “normal” attrition. Recruitment of young talent from campus’ to be groomed into the workforce and redeployment of internal talent into roles tend to be preferred mechanisms to ensure a stable workforce.

Job opportunities for external experienced workers are more likely when the attrition is unusual and the company is unable to backfill it from its internal talent pool or intake of younger talent. This can happen if there is aggressive poaching of talent by competitors or companies from other industries.

Another situation which may trigger “abnormal” attrition is if the organization is performing poorly. Employees may be heading to better, more stable roles outside.

In both cases, the elevated attrition will trigger external recruitment, and hence opportunities for job seekers.

In closing

As an experienced job seeker you want to focus your efforts towards companies where your search efforts are most likely to be productive.

Companies or groups within a company which are experiencing rapid growth in business, diversification, leadership changes, or unplanned attrition are most likely to seek external talent.

When searching for a job, these are the companies which you want to focus your energies on and make your job search efficient & productive.

Happy hunting!

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