A common myth in a troubled economy is that recruiting is an easier task because there are so many available (i.e., unemployed) candidates to choose from. It is true that there are more people looking for jobs – but more people available will not assure you of finding the right person.
Chances are, in this employer's market you will receive a promising number of responses to a job post, but the chances are slim that you will find the most qualified talent in the marketplace utilizing this type of passive approach. In the process of discovering this, you may have invested an inordinate amount of time sifting through dozens of resumes from people who don’t fit the bill, and possibly even hours of interview time.
Astute hiring is astute hiring regardless of the economic climate. If you view each hire as an investment in your company's future, then you will apply the same diligence in an employer's market that you would be forced to apply in a more candidate-driven market. Why? Because unless you approach your hiring decision as an investment, you may find that rather than hiring a long-term executive or senior professional, you have hired a “temp” – in other words, someone whom you might have more easily recruited in this market than at other times but who will seek his or her ideal job when the market turns around...if not sooner.
To find the right person -- even in a job market where supply exceeds demand -- requires a targeted, strategic approach. First of all, regardless of what type of job market we are in, the A-player executive will typically be in demand. Even the top-notch executive who may have been forced into the job market due to downsizing will, by long developed habit, evaluate joining your company from the standpoint of making an investment (read: commitment) rather than as a short-term survival tactic. If your opportunity is not being scrutinized, be wary. If a candidate is being discriminating, it is more likely that he or she is taking you seriously -- and this is the type of person you want to hire -- not the person making a desperation move.
Therefore, the targeted hire who will most contribute to your success is most likely someone that you will need to actively seek -- and possibly even need to persuade -- even in this saturated employment market.
If you approach hiring as an "investment" accompanied by a strategic and selective approach, rather than as an exercise in expediency, then you will yield a higher return on your hiring efforts in the long run.
In the end, your company is only as strong as the people you hire.