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.

Featured Image

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.

Was this article helpful?

Subscribe to get your daily business insights

Related Articles

Can AI help to unveil hidden talent?

Finding the ideal candidate is like searching for a needle in a haystack - an exhausting and often fruitless effort for recruiters in today's...

  • HRD Connect
  • Feb 1, 2024

A quarter of UK businesses spend up to 10 hours a week just scheduling interviews

1 in 4 (24%) of UK businesses spend up to 10 hours a week just scheduling interviews, according to new research from global matching and hiring...

  • HRD Connect
  • Jan 31, 2024

How to strategically handle last-minute candidate withdrawals

Last-minute candidate withdrawals can derail the best-laid recruitment plans, leaving talent acquisition teams blindsided despite extensive efforts...

  • HRD Connect
  • Jan 23, 2024

Ghost-busting in 2024

As we step into 2024, it's time for HR leaders to reflect on their recruitment practices and make necessary changes to enhance the candidate...

  • HRD Connect
  • Jan 10, 2024

Josh Bersin: Talent scarcity isn’t going away. It’s time to re-think jobs altogether

It’s been another tough year for HR. Even the most optimistic HR leader would admit that issues such as talent scarcity are not going away and...

  • Josh Bersin
  • Nov 9, 2023

Framework: Making the move from active to passive talent acquisition

How can organizations tap into the potential of candidates not actively seeking new roles? Some of the most valuable candidates are those...

  • HRD Connect
  • Oct 31, 2023

Strategic hiring: How can candidate personas help you attract ideal and adaptive candidates?

Hiring the right talent is a crucial mission for any organization. In today's competitive job market, it's more important than ever for you to...

  • Jodi Brandstetter
  • Oct 27, 2023

How to improve your internal hiring ratio

Internal mobility rates have slumped from pandemic-era record highs to concerning record lows, according to research from the Josh Bersin company....

  • Janet Mertens
  • Oct 19, 2023


HRD Roundtable: Combating 'Quiet Quitting'…

08 June 2023
  • E-Book
  • May 12, 2023

HRD Network Roundtable: The Retention…

15 June 2023
  • E-Book
  • May 12, 2023

Manage change and drive value…

01 June 2023
  • E-Book
  • May 12, 2023
Sign up to our Newsletter