Hiring in an economic downturn: 5 ways to stay competitive

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By The Fetcher Team

Hiring in an economic downturn: 5 ways to stay competitive

7 mins read

Hiring in an economic downturn
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We’ve felt the sting of an uncertain economic climate: tighter budgets, leaner teams, and a heightened need for resourcefulness. Hiring is an expensive endeavor in time, resources, and hard costs, so it’s no surprise that when the economy ebbs, it’s likely to be among the engines that slow or comes to stop altogether.

How do you demonstrate your resourcefulness when you aren’t hiring due to conservative budgets or uncertainty? Smart TA teams will need to rethink their day-to-day; rather than focusing on immediate wins, they’ll need to look at the company’s long-term talent needs. Recruiting will ramp up again, and you’ll want to ensure you’re well-positioned to flourish, individually and as a company.

What strategies can you implement now that will pay off, in short-term viability and long-term results?

Grow brand recognition

A successful employer brand strategy can have a massive impact on your organization overall: 50% reduction in labor costs per hire, 1-2X faster recruitment, and 50% more qualified candidates, according to LinkedIn’s Employer Branding statistics.

Much of the branding communications that TA professionals do revolve around open roles and the benefits of coming to work for their company. Even if you aren’t hiring, you can still showcase your company via outbound emails – you just need to adjust your content and your CTAs (calls-to-action).

Ideas to highlight your employer brand include:

  • Showing how you invest in your current team’s education and professional development

  • Sharing charity and mission-based initiatives

  • Publishing photos of employee gatherings -- even if they are virtual!

  • Promoting small and large wins internally

  • Anything that ties back to your company mission and core values

Rather than end your emails or messages with “apply here” or “schedule your interview,” send passive candidates to where they can learn more about you and build awareness about what it’s like to work for you. This includes social channels, videos, press, and review sites.

Engage with top candidates and silver medalist candidates

Just because you can’t offer a candidate a job doesn’t mean you can’t keep in touch! Americans are still leaving their jobs in record numbers, so even if someone isn’t actively looking for a change now, they likely might in the near future.

With all the noise coming from various employers, it takes consistent outreach to earn a candidate’s attention. Personalized emails that make candidates feel noticed will stick with them – so put your employer branding strategy into action by sharing the latest from your team! Having multiple touchpoints has become a recruiting best practice; Fetcher data indicates that a third of candidates respond as interested after a third email.

And although you might not be able to move candidates through the funnel completely, you can still invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn, so you can easily check in with them in the future.

Focus on key hires

If you’re not in growth mode, most likely you won’t be hiring for new roles. However, you will want to maintain a solid pipeline for your key hires. These are leadership roles that you’ll need to lead teams through challenging times and build a strategy to come out on top afterward.

These high-level roles normally take longer to fill; in some cases, nearly twice as long as other roles. Executive roles require more research, on both sides, and also have more parties involved. As a recruiter, if you know that your company has plans for key hires, you can get ahead of the game now through sourcing and initial outreach. If you wait for an upswing, you may find that top candidates have already signed elsewhere, leaving you with fewer options.

Fill your pipeline for evergreen roles

In the same vein as key roles, evergreen roles are the ones that are vital to your company’s operations. For marketing agencies, it’s savvy digital strategists. For SaaS companies, it’s developers. If you stop sourcing for these roles now, you’ll be left with a shallow talent pool when the time comes to hire.

Again, leverage your employer brand and outreach channels to get in front of top talent now. Now is also a great time to establish a referral program, to encourage current team members to recommend good-fit candidates for future roles.

When fewer companies are actively hiring, you’ll face less competition in candidates’ inboxes. It’s also a sign of confidence about the future; communicating that your company is already planning its hires after a downturn indicates that your organization will be a great spot to grow in the long term.

Streamline workflows & maximize integrations

Building better processes is often tricky for TA teams in growth mode. Between meeting with hiring managers, interviewing, and keeping up with candidate communications, recruiters often don’t have enough hours in the day or mental energy to put towards process improvements.

If there is a silver lining to hiring slowdowns, it’s that teams can take a step back and assess their workflows. Important questions to ask include:

  • Where are things running smoothly?

  • Where are the bottlenecks, internally and for candidates?

  • What is taking up a lot of time, and not correlating to a lot of progress or results?

  • Which platforms are currently being used, and is there potential to get more out of them?

  • What other tech solutions can help reduce the bottlenecks?

  • What data do you have good visibility on, and where are there information gaps in your process?

Prioritize answering these questions now, and implement solutions that will help you work exponentially smarter when the pressure is on again.

Prep Your Hiring Strategy for Success

Bottom line: Build and nurture your pipeline now, to put you and your company in a position to win when it's time to grow quickly! 🏆

Use this time to strategize and prepare for future roles, so you can hit the ground running when hiring takes off again. We’ve collected the resources below to help TA teams make the most of their downtime. Wondering how Fetcher can help you cut recruiting costs and time? Reach out to schedule a demo!

About Fetcher

Our mission is to help you engage talent that will transform your business aspirations into reality. Great talent is hard to find - that's why we offer a talent sourcing platform that not only gets your brand in front of the right candidates but also gives you a competitive edge in talent acquisition.

Begin building a relationship with your next great hire today and let Fetcher handle the rest. Get started for free.

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