Recruiting in a recession: tools and team structure strategies

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By The Fetcher Team

Recruiting in a recession: tools and team structure strategies

8 mins read

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Are we in the midst of a recruiting recession? Right now, it depends on who you ask.

Major companies have resorted to layoffs, while others claim that the downturn in hiring is too isolated to be considered a widespread shift. Hung Lee, of Recruiting BrainFood, recently asked his LinkedIn network about their current hiring posture, and 73% responded that they are still hiring for growth. Surveys from April 2022 indicated that more than half of employers planned to increase hiring in May and June, but that still leaves 43% with static or decreased headcounts through the end of the year.

What does this wave of uncertainty mean for recruiting teams? While the data shows that overall hiring remains strong, the highly publicized shakeups at big companies like Netflix are reason enough for many business leaders to proceed with caution. Recruiting teams on the path to growth may be asked to tighten up their budgets and TA team hiring, while still keeping up with recruiting demands elsewhere.

The question for recruiting teams

For TA leaders, a recession presents a dilemma. Savvy hiring teams will still want to get in front of new candidates, continue to nurture their current talent pool, and promote what their company provides, even if they can’t make offers right away. With smaller budgets, the question for maxed-out TA teams becomes, “do we invest in tech, or do we expand our team?”

Below, we explore two scenarios: 1) when recruiting tech tools can help lean teams continue to shine on the hiring side, and 2) when it may be beneficial to bring on additional team members. We also look at the bright side of taking initiative now, to set yourself up for success for when the overall economic climate is sunnier.

When to add new recruiting tools

1. When there’s a bottleneck in one specific part of the hiring funnel.

Is your team struggling to keep interview calendars updated? Or are you not getting enough candidates for the final interview to make a hiring decision? Cracks in your hiring process make candidates more likely to drop off or lose interest. Automating these areas will allow you to create a standardized, efficient process to move each candidate through the funnel, without requiring your team to take on more work.

The bright side: If you have more time now because hiring has slowed down, it’s a great opportunity to get new tools and processes in place. When things take off again, you’ll be prepared!

2. When your team is burnt out due to time spent doing repetitive, manual tasks.

Especially on smaller recruiting teams where each individual is wearing multiple hats, the manual, repetitive tasks take up valuable time that could be spent improving processes or working closely with a top candidate to ensure they accept an offer. Recruiting tech tools ease the burden of having to manually source, email, schedule interviews, etc. which saves a ton of time, and allows recruiters to focus on more fulfilling work.

The bright side: Recruiters want to work at companies that listen to their needs. Building a stellar tech stack that empowers them to perform at their best will help you attract and retain TA talent in the future.

3. When your budget is limited and/or uncertain.

Budgets are always in question during a recession. Hiring new team members may be the right decision in some circumstances, as we’ll discuss later, but might not be an option if budgets are tight or unknown. If your leadership expects hiring to continue as normal but doesn’t feel comfortable expanding the TA team, recruiting tools can help to bridge the personnel gap and allow your team to still hit hiring benchmarks. Often, investing in new tools can give companies the advantage they need to stay competitive in the market, while keeping their costs low.

The bright side: Leading recruiting platforms like Fetcher not only cut down on hiring costs, but also provide readymade analytics on performance. That makes highlighting the ROI, and getting buy-in from stakeholders on renewals and expansions, easier.

Plus, it makes a recruiter’s day more well-rounded. Manual sourcing is one of the most time-consuming aspects of hiring. For recruiters who primarily rely on manual sourcing, they’ll spend 30% of their day searching for candidates. With automated sourcing, that’s cut down to just 10% of their day, according to data from Greenhouse.

See our tips for getting leadership buy-in and approval for your recruiting budget.

When to add to your team's headcount

1. When you don’t have the team members with the appropriate skills or experience to accomplish goals.

No matter what, companies need the right people in place in order to grow. In a recession, hiring strategically is key – what roles are essential to ensuring your company adapts and pulls through? For example, you may need to consider hiring full-stack recruiters who can be successful throughout the hiring funnel, versus specialists focused on one particular area. This is also a great time to invest in upskilling your current team, so they can feel confident taking on new responsibilities.

The bright side: Adding new people brings new perspectives and potential solutions to challenges, in the short-term and the long-term. Alternatively, providing training and professional development opportunities to current team members increases both employee engagement and retention.

2. When your team is burnt out from managing projects and/or people.

If you’ve invested in tools, but still don’t have the bandwidth to give hiring managers or candidates’ the attention they need, you may need to consider expanding your TA headcount. Similarly, if you’re a manager who needs more time to train and guide their team, look into other ways you could distribute responsibilities. You could also consider reaching out to the customer success teams of the platforms you have – are there features you aren’t using to the fullest, or additional support you could be taking advantage of?

The bright side: In looking into what other avenues are available to balance responsibilities – increased headcount, cross-training, and additional resources through your current tech stack – you’re bound to uncover creative solutions that payoff for your team in the long run.

3. When you have the budget to support new team members for the foreseeable future.

Every business will be impacted differently by a downturn. One company may need to slow its growth, while others keep rolling, full steam ahead. If you are poised for long-term growth and are able to invest in your team, now is the time to make a move. Recruiters continue to be the most in-demand roles to fill, after IT and Engineering, so investing in new TA team members during a slowdown could set you up for even more hiring success once the market stabilizes. If you can get a budget approved for new team members and new tools to help them do their best work, even better!

The bright side: Hiring recruiters now, while some companies are hesitating to pull the trigger because of budget concerns, could give you more sway with candidates eager to switch roles.

There’s not a blanket solution to toughing out a recession. How you decide to move forward will depend on your current team makeup, your budget, and the overall outlook for your business during the economic recession. If you’re wondering how Fetcher’s automated sourcing and outreach can cut your recruiting time and costs, reach out to us to schedule a demo!

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