Recruiting in a Recession: Why You Need To Plan

Posted by Kandace Miller

The U.S. economy has been booming for over a decade but recent signals point to a potential downturn on the horizon. If that happens, companies in nearly every industry are going to be affected. So what’s the best way to prepare your company for a recession? Adapting your recruiting strategy is a great start. And I’m not talking about hiring freezes. From preparing ahead to knowing how the job market is likely to change, having a plan in place can help you weather the storm while continuing to attract the best talent.

Assess your hiring needs 

If you’re like most companies, you probably review your hiring needs on a regular basis and have a general sense of hiring timelines and costs. To stay ahead of the challenges of a recession, it’s important to be even more strategic when it comes to hiring and to be as accurate as possible when determining both your short- and long-term needs. This could mean creating a talent acquisition plan that aligns with your business forecast for the next one or two years to understand how your staffing needs may have to change if a recession hits.

Since recessions can ultimately impact your bottom line, having a clear sense of your needs and filling your crucial roles first can help you streamline your budget without sacrificing essential hires. It can also be a great way to get more creative with filling open roles — from promoting existing team members to working with freelancers. In addition to creating cost savings, this can help to boost your team’s overall results since promoted employees tend to be more successful and are 61% less likely to be let go.


Understand how the job market will change

The current market is very candidate-driven, but that could change significantly when a recession hits. As job security becomes less common, candidates will become less likely to leave the safety of their current jobs for uncertain opportunities. To understand what that will look like, we only have to look back to the financial crisis of 2008.

Looking back at a study from SHRM, some of the key lessons learned during the Great Recession included the importance of having sufficient staff while also maintaining employee engagement and morale. While 55% of the executives surveyed in the study said that they relied on layoffs to combat the economic challenges of the recession, a whopping 76% also said that they invested in training for their existing teams to help them be successful in their roles. While cost-cutting measures are almost always necessary in a downturn, it’s important to balance them out with strategies that will increase long-term employee satisfaction and retention.


Create a recession-proof strategy

Once you have a clear sense of your talent acquisition needs and how you can balance shrinking budgets with staffing demands, it’s time to develop your recruiting strategy. The best way to do this is to create tiers for essential roles and those you’d like to fill if your budget allows. This will help you prioritize your hires and see where you can cut costs without sacrificing your company’s goals. 

Once you have the tiers nailed down, focus on how you can streamline your hiring process to eliminate additional expenses. For example, if you’re currently using different solutions to address recruitment needs such as interview scheduling and communication, considering opting for an all-in-one solution that can help you do more with your existing budget. Then, figure out a timeline for implementing your new strategy to ensure that you’re able to stay ahead of the curve if and when a recession hits.

Planning for a recession is never fun, but being unprepared can lead to more problems — and cause you to potentially lose staff. By taking steps to safeguard your company and protect employee morale, you can get through the worst of it and come out on the other side.

Want to improve your recruiting strategy even further? Learn how to build an effective Gen Z recruiting strategy and why salary transparency could help you attract top talent.

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