The Best Talent is the Talent You Keep


Holding steady.

Signs of the drawn-out recession have hit my inbox all year long.  A wide range of resumes and cover notes abound, some from professionals I’d love to recommend as hires, but most from those not so polished or qualified.  Among the more interesting: an impressive resume from a Criminology major (did she really think we needed her skill set?), and my creative favorite – a right shoe in a box with a note that said “Just wanted to get my foot in the door. Interview me and I’ll send you the left one.”

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Only The Employed Need Apply” makes some interesting points about the buyer’s market mentality of employers.  The article points out that many employers look at the employed who have survived the recession as “first string” – the most valuable candidates for any openings they may have.  So, instead of plowing through dozens of resumes from would-be applicants, they are conducting “guerrilla recruiting” tactics and finding those strong performers who are working for competitors or similar organizations.

As I look at our staff here at Fahlgren Mortine Public Relations, it’s particularly gratifying to know that we haven’t had to replace an account team leader or senior level position for more than two full years running.  I attribute the health of our business during this recession to this fact.  Our overall turnover rate of 4% per year is far below the public relations agency average of 22%, and speaks highly of our values and culture.  In fact, six of our staff members have worked for us, left to pursue other opportunities, and then decided to return to work for us.  It’s made hiring simpler, because when you’re certain you know the quality of the talent you’re getting, it’s easy to bring that talent back into the fold!

Clients want assurance of who will actually be working on their account.  Our stability in these times has emerged as one of the greatest assets we can provide our clients.  It’s an assurance that we’ll be able maintain a team that can understand their business, and one that they or we won’t have to re-train anytime soon.

Are you finding innovative ways to keep your best talent during this recession?  Are your competitors trying to recruit your best people? Let us know how you’re dealing with these issues.

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    One thought on “The Best Talent is the Talent You Keep

    1. Brian,
      Good piece. The challenge is to know who the top performers are , AND WILL BE, for the future. Too few companies are good at identifying the folks they are going to need going forward. Most evaluations are retrospective, too few are prospective. Those would be very interesting if the bosses would show the courage to by-pass a favorite from the past, and develop new talent long before they really need it.

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