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Aditi Sharma for Peerlist

Posted on • Originally published at

Slow down but don’t stop hiring during the recession.

With recession and layoffs happening in IT companies every other day, recruiting has become extremely difficult.

You have two choices when recruiting in a recession - Freeze or Reset.

Some companies take this as a reason to freeze hiring. Other companies take this as an opportunity to change their strategy and slow down a bit to come up with a less exhausting and more successful system.

Recession can be used as a period to reset the default settings. Make changes, experiment, get failed, make changes again, and repeat until you find a better strategy for your organization.

The market is more vulnerable which means candidates will be more hesitant to switch jobs.

Reset your mindset. Reset your strategy.

You have decided to reset your existing methods but there are things that you should keep in mind while executing new methods.

Your survival depends entirely on what you do now

When the market is active and you get busy, you decide to stick to what you know: LinkedIn, job boards, copying and pasting the same email outreach that works usually. It’s difficult and feels irrelevant to do something new. It’s hard to be productive when you’re buried under different stages of work.

What you’ll be building now though is a digital presence

If COVID has taught us anything, it’s the importance of the online world. During COVID, digital businesses were the least affected and it shows how during the recession, building a digital presence can be good for your organization.

Now you know what two things should not get neglected.

Let’s see how to recruit in a recession.

Steps to change your strategy

Go through your existing strategy and find the loopholes and see why candidates might not choose your organization.

Assess your hiring needs

Recessions will ultimately impact your bottom line. So, it is important to have a clear sense of your hiring needs and fill your crucial roles first so that you can track your budget without messing up the essential hires.

  • Get more creative with filling open roles.
  • From promoting existing team members to working with freelancers.
  • It will boost your team’s overall results and employees will stay with the organization for a longer period.

Understand how the job market will change

With the recession going, 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.

Candidates are using a more advanced approach to apply. Recruiters are going through the social media of the candidates before selecting them for the role. The market is candidate-driven.

Get ready with a recession-proof strategy

This is the time to prepare for some important questions that can set the tone of the whole process.

  • Get prepared to answer questions about how you treated employees during the pandemic.
  • Get prepared to answer questions on how you are treating your employees during the recession.
  • Anything related to the finance of your organization. Yes, it is difficult to recruit but it is equally difficult for candidates to trust. So go with the data, and show your best.

Planning for a recession can never be fun, but being unprepared can lead to problems — and cause you to potentially lose employees and reputation in the market.

Follow these before you get active to recruit

Be more selective

Take your time. Prepare questions for the team leaders of sub-departments and decide on what kind of candidates is your team looking for.

For example, questions can be -

  • What are the skills within the skills that are required?
  • What kinds of tasks will the individual need to complete each day, each week, each month, and each quarter?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current team dynamic?
  • What capabilities or traits are desired outside of skills and knowledge?
  • Are there any organizational changes coming that would impact whoever is in the role?

Make sure to understand minute details and that’s how you take the advantage of a recession. When you give attention to the needs for the role, beyond the same old job description, you can bring a set of requirements to the table when looking for the perfect match.

Nurture with more meaning

Get creative. Write customized emails to candidates, and try to stand out as a recruiter. It should show that you want them to be in the role and that the email can’t be for anyone else. Target their strengths, talk about the role's requirements, and make it about that individual.

Look for recruiting platforms that have features built in to help you know candidates better and scheduling interviews easy.

Understand what works

“Be a scientist — test, and experiment to set yourself up for success.”

Prepare a list of questions for your assessment and ask your hiring team to go through those to understand what is working for your organization.

For example, questions can be -

  • Did time to hire improve with candidates who had to go through fewer interviews?
  • What changes to the hiring process impacted retention?
  • Do you have an easier time getting responses when recruiting for more senior roles?
  • What commonalities can you find about candidates who ghosted you?

If I have to summarise, then this is what you need to work on.

“Know your data, understand your people, win your business.”

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