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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Returnships. How to Proactively Recruit Candidates Pivoting in Their Careers


By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Mid-level professionals have been heavily impacted by changes in the current economy. Professionals from a wide range of industries such as finance, IT, human resources, and engineering are looking for opportunities to change careers and even enter a new career field. These types of positions are usually filed by those who are already employed, but looking to take on a new set of challenges. Their qualifications speak for themselves and these employees are sometimes capable of taking on the responsibilities of two or three less qualified employees.

Returnships help candidates who are re-entering the workforce who have taken off work to have a child, take care of a family member, or are pivoting in their career. When companies struggle to find the qualified candidates they need, despite the high unemployment rate. Some employers have started thinking outside the box to solve this dilemma through what are commonly known as returnships. Recruiters are taking a different approach when it comes to recruiting more seasoned professionals. Creating a returnship program will give recruiters a set of defined barriers that’ll help enrich their recruiting efforts.

Question is where do you find these job seekers and how do you create a program that works and betters your company? We’ve come up with a few insights on how to successfully recruit within a returnships program.

Have a champion. This is one of the most important aspects of creating and recruiting within a successful returnships program. Without some type of champion of the program it won’t receive the support and dedication it needs. The champion should come from someone in a higher executive position that has the power to push ideas, candidates, and training through at a fairly successful rate. If your Director of Recruiting believes in returnships, that would be ideal.

Be willing to take a risk. Employers might be wary of candidates who are wanting to switch up their career field, have been out of a job for awhile, or are coming back from a pregnancy or extended leave of absence for medical reasons. Counting this group out entirely would be a great disservice to your company because these seasoned workers have a lot to offer an employer. Candidates in a returnship might not match a set of skills that you’re looking for, but they have experience in work style, great cultural fit, and soft skills that are hard to come by when recruiting directly out of college or someone early in their career.

Understand the learning curve. Similar to a new recruit fresh out of college, those participating in a returnship might have a bit of a learning curve. Their skills might be a little rusty when it comes to the corporate environment, but once they get in the groove of things, these skills will come back naturally. Assign a worker or a champion of this program who can guide them through the processes again and help expedite their success.

Returnships offer a company an entirely new workforce that has the skills and experience needed to elevate their company to the next level. Offering a second chance to workers in this class allow the company not only some good Public Relations, but the skills of workers who might have 10 or even 20 years of experience. So next time someone applies that might be a little older than your normal recruit, take a second look, they might be worth the risk.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

Photo Credit.


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