What if you were hiring clowns?

Every organisation wants to attract and retain the best talent – but what if the talent is a clown – not a dud candidate but a real circus clown?
That was a request I was given for the first time earlier this year as my team and I were designing an MSP solution to manage contingent recruitment for a new public sector client.
You can imagine my surprise. Along with standard contract and temporary roles in finance, children’s services, IT and trades, this organisation also runs public events throughout the year that require temporary street performers and, you guessed it, clowns.
So when a client requires a candidate outside the normal scope of supply, such as a clown, what can you do to ensure that the job is filled? Here’s what we did.

Identify dependable partners

Let’s face it, hiring clowns is not our forte and putting up job ads and screening clown candidates is not what we are experts in.
Instead we dipped into our industry contacts to identify reliable partner vendors who have an established register of the professionals required and who can supply these people when needed. In this case, let’s call the vendor that we engaged “ClownPeople”.
At the required time, we would liaise with ClownPeople, provide the necessary information on the requirement and answer their questions. Terms and conditions would be agreed in advance and they would be given access to our technology to help them manage the process. They would then submit details of appropriately skilled clowns, and the most suitable candidate would be hired.

Organise regular workforce planning meetings

We work with the client to understand their needs by holding regular workforce planning meetings. During these meetings we determine when and where their needs will occur.
In this instance, we would examine their schedule of public events that require street performers. We would communicate with ClownPeople, as we do with all agencies and vendors, to provide as much advance notice as we can of when their services would be required, and they can then schedule a suitably skilled clown in for these events.
It sometimes takes a bit of juggling, but our objective is to ensure that every role that is required is filled, quickly and efficiently.

Evaluation and continuous improvement

Following the completion of the contract, the clown’s manager would report back to us on how well the clown had performed, and we would retain this feedback for reference should they be considered again for a future assignment.
This is a continuous cycle of improvement where we seek to ensure that the people that we engage for our clients are of the highest quality and they receive the best service at the most competitive price.

The unusual roles can cause the greatest concern

When we are designing a new solution, it is often the atypical role categories that cause our clients the greatest concern. They may have a role in a particular location or job type that has caused them recruitment challenges in the past, particularly if the role is only required for a short period of time or when little prior notice is received.
Some of the roles I’d came across include the need for teachers to fill in for an employee who called in sick, workers to clean up an industrial facility or large teams of temporary contact centre staff to take calls for an insurance company following a natural disaster.
The approach I had described above helped our client mitigate the pressing issue of time (or the lack of), and support an overall people strategy, provide real time visibility of the contingent workforce and deliver quality business intelligence to inform staffing decisions.
It also ensured that they received the greatest value and performance from our panel of suppliers as well as access to the best available workers.
Any thoughts on our approach to hiring clowns? Let me know in the comments section below. 🙂
Cover image: Shutterstock

This article is contributed by Hays Talent Solutions.

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