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Recruiting Employees During a Recession

Ariel Thorne | May 25, 2022

Even as the job market shows no signs of slowing down, experts predict a possible economic downturn within the next year. Indeed, some leading financial institutions predict a recession is approaching, spurred by the prolonged pandemic, soaring inflation, and continued supply-chain issues.

  

What might a looming recession mean for businesses? Many business owners remember the Great Recession of 2008 and the resulting hiring freeze that contributed to the loss of over 8.7 million jobs in the U.S. That former recession took the country nearly five years to get those jobs back.2 

  

When faced with a recession, businesses may feel pressure to put their hiring practices on hold. But talent acquisition experts encourage businesses to carry on with steadfast recruiting of new employees. Many companies agree, and the proof is in the pudding! According to a Harvard Business Review survey, the majority of responding employers said that one of the most effective responses to the Great Recession was to hire top talent.3 

  

Recession or not, people still need jobs, and businesses still require employees to keep operating. Luckily, recessions don’t last forever. Companies are advised to remember their long-term goals regarding talent acquisition and adjust their recruitment strategies to ensure short-term survival. Here are a few ways to continue recruiting the people you need to keep growing, even during a downturn. 

  

Prioritize Positions 

Identify the positions you must fill and the ones that impact your revenue the most. Focus your hiring activities on the core of your needs. For the less critical positions, consider giving your current employees more duties with a promised incentive. You can also temporarily use freelancers and independent contractors.  

 

Promote from Within 

Consider training and advancing some of your current and most promising employees. Giving current employees a new position can be more cost effective and quicker than searching, hiring, and training a new person all together. Plus, promoting from within the company is great for employee engagement, satisfaction, retention, and even recruitment.  

  

Listen Closely 

Listening to what your candidates are looking for is important, especially when facing a recession. Make sure you find out why your candidates are changing jobs beyond the size of their paycheck. If they have been unemployed for a while, don’t forget to ask why. This helps you better understand what your candidates want, leaving you with better ways to tailor your recruitment efforts and hire successfully.  

 

Embrace Change 

The pandemic has changed the world of work and the expectations of employees. Be prepared to demonstrate how you’ve adapted to hybrid and remote work environments. People are looking for jobs with a more flexible workspace and an improved work-life balance.  Keep in mind that millennials are expected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025.4 So, make sure you’re appealing to the wants and needs of those younger candidates. 

 

Quantity Over Quality 

Hiring one strong candidate will likely bring your organization more value than hiring several less qualified candidates. Even those who might be willing to take a smaller paycheck. During a recession, you may also see an influx of resumes from overqualified job seekers; don’t write them off just because they exceed your needs. Similarly, don’t discount a strong candidate who doesn’t check off every box in your job description. 

  

Make the Right Match 

Make sure your hire is the right one. Be sure they clearly understand the job requirements and your company’s mission, vision, and values. Making a good first match can save you considerable time, resources, and money. 

  

Right-Size Your Requirements 

Should your candidate have an advanced degree? Do they need ten years of industry experience? Must they be proficient in 20 different applications and systems? Give your job descriptions a reality check to ensure you’re not limiting yourself or your talent pool. 

  

Act Quick 

Once you have found the right candidate, make them an offer they cannot refuse, and quickly — before they get hired by someone else. Acting with speed and urgency shows them that you are serious about hiring them and that you are excited to have them on your team. 

  

Why You? 

While considering the value your candidates bring, be sure to demonstrate your own value as a company and employer. Clearly communicate why your organization is a great place to work and how you’re different (and better) than other businesses competing for their talent. During a recession, employees may be reluctant to leave the safety of their current jobs, so you might have to ensure they are in good hands. 

  

Save Costs Elsewhere 

Rather than slashing your recruitment budget during a recession, find other opportunities to streamline, drive efficiencies, and save costs. An all-in-one recruitment system may make it faster and more efficient to sort and vet a flood of resumes, so your HR team doesn’t have to. 

  

Explore other digital solutions that can help drive up efficiencies and drive down costs. Enrollme is one such example. Enrollme, a digital platform for employee health coverage, saves your HR department significant time and costs by lightening the administrative load around employee benefits and healthcare open enrollment.  

  

With Enrollme, employees can purchase their own health plans online and keep track of their own costs and benefits. Enrollme also reduces the administrative burden and risks associated with ACA compliance and COBRA requirements. By streamlining processes, automating manual tasks, and freeing up staff resources to focus on more high-value activities, digital tools like Enrollme can help offset the costs of recruitment during a recession so you can continue to hire the people you need to reach your goals. 

  

Learn more about how Enrollme helps drive efficiencies, lower costs, and attract talent.  

  Sources:

  1. https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/26/economy/inflation-recession-economy-deutsche-bank/index.html
  2. https://www.advancepartners.com/blog/what-a-recession-means-for-staffing/
  3. https://www.indeed.com/lead/tips-for-hiring-during-a-recession
  4. https://teamstage.io/millennials-in-the-workplace-statistics/


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