Be a Security Blanket

Be a Security Blanket

R&D Spending Holds Steady in Slump. That was the headline in The Wall Street Journal yesterday. Despite the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression, a survey by the Boston Consulting Group found that R&D spending is down less than 1% this quarter.

What does that mean for job seekers and recruiters?

The surest way to security these days is to draw the shortest possible line between what you do and what the company needs to survive and prosper. As the article put it, “Big R&D spenders say they’ve learned from past downturns that they must invest through tough times if they hope to compete when the economy improves.” To put it another way, employment security these days is a function of how well you can make yourself look like an employer security blanket.

How does that apply to job seekers and recruiters?

If you’re in transition and apply for a position, it’s not enough to tell the employer how well you can do the work. You won’t even get an interview if they don’t think you can do that. So, you must also tell them how the good work you do will help the organization get through the recession and achieve success in the recovery. You have to make them believe that if they don’t hire you right now, they are setting themselves up for disaster once the economy improves.

If you’re a recruiter and your employer is doing little or no hiring, you must emphasize the other part of your job, the part that you seldom get to during the good times. Building pipelines of talented candidates takes time and investment, yet they are essential to an organization’s sustained success and its ability to staff up for a recovery, once it occurs. All of that spending on R&D will be wasted if the company can’t hire equally as talented operational and sales, financial and supply chain professionals and all of the other skills required to move new ideas into market-ready products and services.

In this one critical respect, then, there is a congruence of need among job seekers and recruiters. Each of you relies on the other to ensure your own success. You may be on opposite sides of the employment table, but in these tough times, you each depend upon the other to create the perception that you’re a security blanket.

Does that change anything?

I think so.

As I talk to both those in transition and those who are recruiting, I’m seeing a precipitous drop in the level of respect and courtesy each group is showing the other. The stress and frustration of these hard times are fraying our mutual civility. And we can’t let that happen. We win or lose together, so it’s essential that we remember what we share. Job seekers and recruiters are interwoven threads in the security blanket each is weaving, and we must recognize and revere both or the fabric will not hold.

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