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Home » Recruiting Strategies » Recession Proof Recruitment Strategy: Frequently Asked Questions 
Recession Proof Recruitment Strategy: Frequently Asked Questions 

Want to make sure your recruitment strategy stays strong and efficient during an economic downturn? 

We recently hosted a webinar with CEO and Talent Acquisition veteran Thad Price on recruitment strategies and how to:  

  • Build an effective recruitment strategy 
  • Recruit in a recession 
  • Find and hire the best people for your company 

You can watch the on-demand webinar here and check out these FAQs to get the tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years! 

When you see a sudden spike in turnover, what would you analyze first? 

Start with collecting surveys and documentation for reasons as to why people have left. If you begin there, you’ll start seeing the overarching patterns and pain points among your employees. Then you’ll be able to diagnose not only the work, but your work culture. There could be a department or manager pattern, etc. – but from then on, it’s up to you to decide how you’d like to solve the problem. That may be through policy, support or other actions that can help you turn the ship in the right direction.  

Why do you think employers should start hiring now, instead of pivoting to automation at scale? 

Automation has a very important and practical implication in hiring and recruiting. However, it’s also important to recognize that you need operators – you need people who work to be successful even within your automated processes. Thus, it’s more a question of whether you have the right team in order to meet your goals at scale and the tools to ensure that you recruit those team members. While automation is a versatile tool, it is only as good as the people behind the scenes who can execute it. 

Is the goal for the “candidate persona” to create a persona (or multiple personas) who would succeed in this role? How does this inform recruitment behaviors for the hiring manager? 

Personas help you understand the requirements of your role – the skillsets or grit necessary to excel in the position. You can absolutely create a few personas to see which skills may be transferable or easily built/molded upon hiring. That said, only one is necessary as this persona will allow you to dissect the core of what you’re looking for to fulfill the role. Once you understand this, you can build a list of non-negotiables and write a job advertisement. As for the hiring manager, personas show them ways in which they can improve. They can learn how to pinpoint potential and flexibility in candidates rather than strictly accepting candidates who fit the ideal requirements in the description. These challenges allow more alignment between expectations of the position and your recruitment strategy. 

In a labor market focused on hourly essential workers, what are a couple of things you would optimize to stand out? 

Be transparent as much as possible about the environment, pay, and how you’re different. One strategy we often suggest is creating ‘battle cards’ essentially to show how your product stands against your competitors and your unique value proposition. Create these to showcase your brand and what you have to offer. In addition, understand the competitive market among essential workers as to how you compete in this new world of work. Pay and flexibility tend to be at the forefront of the modern worker’s mind so make sure to advertise these policies as well as a glimpse inside your organization. 

What are your thoughts on sales driving recruiting efforts, vs. using recruiting data to become more intentional with sales efforts? For example, if job postings don’t perform well in a certain geo market, should that data help the sales department focus on job orders/clients that have a better chance of bringing in applications in a different market? Any recommendations for that balance? 

In many cases, data tells all. The greatest leverage it allows is for you to “catch the fish where the fish are” particularly when looking in a specific area of work. Not only will you need to find those who already exist in your area of work, but you also must be able to attract people into that area. Talent analytics will be a key identifying factor as to where you advertise your jobs in addition to geo marketing. Your sales team can use that data regarding who to target, but your ads most certainly should be positioned based on these analytics. 

What do you mean when you say “it’s all about the data” in regard to recruitment and iterating on your recruitment strategy? 

Recruiting is very relationship oriented which makes it very special and humanized. The best way to think about it is to start looking at recruiting through a data lens; dig into the metrics to take more of a quantitative approach to transform a recruiting function and become more effective when there is budget pressure leading into a recession.   

When hiring for a smaller/growing business who recently went through a large scale layoff, how would you make candidates more comfortable when offering them a role? Any advice? 

Focus on your history and the longer periods of success. When we look at the market right now, many of us are seeing companies that OVER hired in the last 18 months to meet large increases in consumer demand. We’ve seen this in many large tech companies and growing businesses as we enter back into the “new normal”. While many companies overshot their projections or didn’t anticipate the downturn, you still want to think about the long-term successes, not the short-term window that has impacted many organizations. Just remember that your business is not alone; many companies have had to make the same difficult decisions in this recession. 

Would you consider a buffer when building budget to compensate a potential pay rate increase in the market that can impact our cost per hire? 

Absolutely! First look at pay data to know where you sit in the overall ecosystem in your area for your role and how competitive your pay may be. Once you understand where you need to be, then layer that into your planning for this tight labor market as you must ensure that you are able to move with the market quickly.   

What are the most impactful talent analytics tools that can be used to assist with the decision making process of launching new locations? 

Talroo can help you with this as we power nearly 2 billion searches per month. If you’re looking to hire essential workers, you can use Talroo Insights to look at certain locations and a time series view of labor supply in a certain market. There are plenty of other products in the industry depending on the sector you’re in, such as Burning Glass, that will help provide some insight into this fascinating labor market.  

You talked about the importance of job descriptions and specifically pay transparency, but how important are the titles themselves? Is there a way to optimize those? 

View job titles like the title or cover of a book. We all have heard ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but we’ve heard it only because so many inherently do! The reality is that job titles are what turn heads and spark intrigue, landing that initial click for candidates to read your description aka THE BOOK. There are amazing candidates out there; the problem is getting them to see you – let alone, apply. Which begs the question, how can you buy their attention long enough to get them to read the first page and decide if you’re a good fit? Utilize Smart Job Titles. These are groundbreaking in the talent marketplace, allowing you to use recruitment analytics to check your job’s reach along with the best-performing job titles and descriptions. You also have the power to track your job posting progress, edit the description and manage its budget. These titles give you the ability to vet and select candidates from the get-go and ensure you reach top talent fast. So, even if they do judge your book by its cover, those who are a great fit will still see you and want to read more. 

Can you talk more about the “talent pipeline” and what that means for a recruitment strategy? 

A pipeline is very important insofar as it is always available to you. In this tight labor market where there is a constant state of flux, a pipeline can be tapped in to in order to enjoy flexibility in your recruitment initiatives. The idea of candidate relationship management is very strategic; thus, anything you can do to ensure that there is talent available for you at your beck and call is vital. The key is to invest and check your metrics so that you’re not overinvesting in keeping it populated. That said, be aware that if you stop investing and allow your pipeline to dry up, it’s incredibly difficult to replenish on a dime when you’re ready to scale hiring. 

Any recommendations on strategy with recruiting commission positions? It is hard to be transparent about pay when it depends on how their sales work out.  

You can be transparent about base salaries and commission. For commission jobs, you need to target hungry and ambitious candidates. Showing them what they could earn if they challenge themselves to excel is often a huge motivator for these types of employees. Think of what your ideal candidate would be motivated or challenged by in your position and ADVERTISE it. Often, applicants want to discover what the average employee in their position takes home at your company as well as the highest earner. Put easter eggs in your job ad that indicate the type of salary, culture, and healthy competition they will experience in order to exceed their goals. The worst thing you can do is come across stale or stagnant, this will only repel high earners or disinterest those with a vision for lead growth.