Resources for Humans

Recruiting the Workforce of the Future

Ralph Gaillard reviews the book Recruiting the Workforce of the Future by Bruce Tulgan. Review praises book’s striaghtforward advice and checklists to help HR recruit the right employees.

Recruiting the Workforce of the Future book review

Let’s face it: Recruiting is no picnic. In fact, it’s one of the biggest headaches facing HR today. The pressure to find that perfect candidate has never been greater as senior company leaders are screaming for a return on their recruiting investment. What’s happening is that recruitment is becoming the new metric by which HR careers are being either elevated or destroyed.

Bruce Tulgan’s book Recruiting the Workforce of the Future, Second Edition (Manager’s Pocket Guide Series) understands this new pressure cooker for HR and attempts to outline in clear, straightforward, and checklist-packed style a life preserver for those struggling to win a few battles in today’s high-stakes talent wars. Luckily, Tulgan’s attempt is a solid one and may be just the shot in the arm that an experienced HR manager might need when tuning up an existing recruitment plan.

I also appreciated Tulgan’s uninhibited “straight talk” about the current state of the workforce, which he uses quite aptly to make the case that managers are out of touch with the complexities of finding good employees. He bravely states, “In essence, leaders and managers tend to look for employees who think and behave as they once did (or as they recall they once did). Thus, many employers, whether consciously or not, look for employees who are willing to ‘pay their dues and climb the ladder.’ But times and requirements have changed. Employers today need employees who are ready to get the work done, whenever they can, wherever they can, however they can, whatever the work may be on any given day.”

It’s this type of honesty that Tulgan peppers throughout the book, which I found to be refreshing and quite useful. In a sense, Tulgan is using this honesty to identify with today’s harried recruiters and the struggles they face with Millennial applicants and the current labor market.

I mentioned that Tulgan understands the pressures of finding the right applicants. He does, since he acknowledges that a “staffing crisis” exists, where “the supply of skilled workers is simply not growing fast enough.” To me, this provides HR managers with an effective and interesting way to explain to number-obsessed executives why it’s so hard to find good employees and the impact that the exodus of Baby Boomers from the workforce will have on organizations.

He also seems to understand the time constraints that most HR pros are under. This book is crammed with worksheets and checklists that provide ASAP training on how to design an effective recruitment strategy. His chapter on crafting a recruitment message is the high point of the book. Tulgan provides informative and useful worksheets that will help novices and veterans plot out an effective messaging campaign that will resonate with job candidates. Some of the worksheets may appear to be simplistic, but some are effective in forcing readers to take a “time out” and reconsider old notions about their current recruitment strategies. One worksheet even challenges readers to think about what it is they expect the applicant to accomplish on Day One and use that response in formulating their core recruitment message.

The next chapter on planning a recruitment campaign is a work of “step-by-step” art. Especially for those new to the recruitment game, this chapter is exhaustive in its worksheets that work quite effectively in helping readers truly understand how marketing plays a central role in locating and attracting talented performers.

If the beginning and the middle of Tulgan’s book shine, the ending is a dull and gray disappointment. The next to the last chapter, which looks at how to make the correct hiring decisions, is light on specifics and field-tested advice. The wonderfully useful checklists that populated the early chapters seem to disappear with the last sets of pages. The final chapter falls even shorter with a list of “useful” websites, which appear to be out of date.

Despite these weak points, Tulgan’s “no bull” approach and cache of helpful worksheets allow me to recommend this book. If you seek case studies from the FORTUNE 50 or long-winded theory about effective recruitment, then this book will sorely disappoint. If you want advice that’s concise, real, and useful, then get online or hit your bookstore and ask for Tulgan’s guide, which I can honestly say will be a book that will be “dog-eared” within a week.

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Ralph shares his “Insider’s Picks” in the right-hand column.

Ralph Gaillard is the Executive Editor of HR Insight and Group Publisher of the Strategic HR division for M. Lee Smith Publishers. For nearly 20 years, Ralph has worked in the publishing and marketing fields, with a specialty in creating executive education programs, building strategic partnerships and launching new products. Ralph has worked for various information publishers, including Lawrence Ragan Communications, a leading provider of corporate communication information and training. He was also an account executive for The PBN Company, an international media relations firm based in San Francisco. Early in his career, Ralph worked for the Chicago Tribune as an editorial researcher and at The Washington Post as the staff researcher for National News. He is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, the International Association of Business Communicators, and the American Society for Training and Development.