HomeTalent AcquisitionHow should HR recruit during a recession?

How should HR recruit during a recession?

  • 3 Min Read

In hard times, it can hard to know which way is up, especially when it comes to recruitment. Wendy Dailey, HRD Thought Leader, tells you what to do – and what not to do – when recruiting during a recession.

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While there is a lot of talk about how we are in ‘unprecedented times’, some of us have been here before. A couple of times actually. Yes, this is the first pandemic of the modern working world, but we have been through recessions in recent history.

In my working lifetime, I’ve been through 2: after 9/11 and 2008. And I’ve been in recruitment through both. If you had asked me for advice after the last recession, my advice would have been much different.

But the world is also much different. Social media has definitely changed talent acquisition. I’ve also changed. I think there is a way for us to keep talent acquisition moving forward, as we definitely need to do during a recession.

Here are my top 5 dos and dont’s for recruitment during a recession:

Don’t lowball your candidates.

Even if you can. Even if you need to for budget reasons. You will muddle up your internal equity for years. And definitely don’t mess with your pay ranges! I know might seem like a good time to pay people less – people may be willing to take pay cuts to keep their jobs, but if you do, be sure this is a temporary cut. 

Do take this time to look at your internal equity.

Fix what you can. Or make plans to fix what needs to be fixed once you are able to. Check your ranges and ensure you have kept up with the market.

Don’t change job requirements…

Just because people with lots of experience and higher degrees than you usually see are willing to take the job. 

Do review your job descriptions/requirements…

And be sure you looking for the correct qualifications. Ask yourself if the degree truly is a requirement or just a nice-to-have. What does someone who has that degree really bring to the role that another person with experience would not? If you are asking for 10 years of experience, is a degree really required? And yes, I realize that this opens up the door for MORE candidates (we’ll get to that).

Don’t discount someone…

Just because they are experienced or turn them away because of those qualifications either.

Do understand what someone can bring to the table…

And ensure they understand the job. Someone may be looking to take a step back in their career, looking for less responsibility. Be sure your candidates understand the role you are looking to fill.

Don’t ignore your brand and employer messaging.

It’s easy to lose focus right now and think that you don’t need to think about this. After all, you are likely getting plenty of candidates for your job openings.

Do take the time to check your brand.

You’ll want to be more deliberate about what you are sharing. As candidate pools increase, you want to help them self-select for the right positions. Recruitment shouldn’t be about attracting as many people as possible for each position. You are looking for one person. 

Don’t plan to start asking candidates…

What they did during the pandemic – especially if they were unemployed.

Do be prepared to answer questions on how you treated employees during the pandemic.

Be ready to talk about what you did well and what lessons you learned.

Too many of us think that recruiting becomes easy during a recession because there are more people looking for work. But this is a great time to do and be better.

Enjoy more insights from our HRD Thought Leaders.

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