As news headlines are increasingly pointing toward an impending recession, it should be no surprise that recruiters and hiring managers are sitting down to plan. Because when you work with people, you intimately understand that how you tackle a stressful event is almost as important as the stressful event itself. And that the best strategy for maintaining – or even improving – your hiring strategies during a recession is to do everything you can to recession-proof the way you attract, hire and retain job candidates.
As it turns out, there’s plenty you can do to minimise the impact of a recession on the way your company does business. Here are five ways to build a recruiting and hiring process that will thrive in any economy:
1. Start Contingency Planning Now
The golden rule for emergency planning is to have a plan in place. By defining action steps now, your team will be less vulnerable to uncertainty and fear, which could lead to poor decision-making during the stress of a recession – a key reason why as many as 50% of businesses that experience a major disaster without a recovery plan in place never reopen for business.
To kick off your contingency planning, consider how a recession could impact your business. For example, how would you recover if sales dropped 20%, or you lost your highest-paying client tomorrow? Don’t just theorize. Develop a detailed plan for 3-5 likely scenarios so that you will be able to make well-thought-out hiring and business decisions at every juncture.
2. Build a Magnetic Employer Brand
The benefits of a strong employer brand among knowledge workers have been well documented and include important employee satisfaction metrics like engagement and productivity as well as loyalty and retention and higher candidate quality. During a recession, high levels of these critical metrics can help you retain top talent even when the economy is making employees nervous and prone to changing jobs.
Take care of your employer brand so that it will keep working hard for you even through a recession. Maintain your website, curate your profile on Glassdoor, and review your company’s overall online presence, including social media. Then consider what else you can do to elevate your employer brand, such as running internal surveys and making improvements based on the results, capturing employee success stories to share on your website, and applying for industry awards.
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3. Identify High-Quality Hiring Channels
Job search activity often picks up during a recession, which could flood your hiring team with a significant amount of irrelevant resumes and job applicants. Before you’re distracted by an overwhelming amount of candidate data, take a moment to audit your current hiring channels and identify the ones that perform the best for you.
For many employers, Glassdoor stands out as a source of high-quality candidates with a higher retention rate. You may also find that specific social networks, niche websites, or boutique recruitment firms have been sources of excellent candidates in the past. Document those high-quality hiring channels so that it’s easier to prioritise your time during a recession.
4. Try to View Your Business From a New Angle
A recession can be a stressful and scary time, but it can also be a re-invigorating one. Apprehension has a way of cleaning out excess processes, habits, and expenses that have piled up during better economies. Proactive recruiters and hiring managers will see this as an opportunity to re-think the way they’ve been doing things and add efficiencies to their recruiting and hiring processes – or even the business itself.
Put yourself in the shoes of your company in a slower economy now. Ask yourself how you will move forward on various aspects of your business:
- How has this business function or job role performed for us in the last 12 months?
- Is this a core part of our business, or could we eliminate it?
- Should this process be automated or can it be outsourced?
- What other ways can we serve or what other value can we bring our customers or other departments within our company?
5. Build Flexibility Into Your Recruiting and Hiring Expenses
A significant piece of viewing your business from a new angle during a recession is re-examining your expenses. Because business expenses have a way of expanding until they’re actively managed and cut. Take the time to ferret out expenses, fees, and subscriptions that you don’t actually need.
Build flexibility into your recruiting and hiring expenses now by renting whenever possible instead of buying. Even if it costs you more in the short-term, it can often be better to be tied to monthly fees and subscriptions than to make significant investments in developing your own tools in-house. If you’re hiring for a new role, consider whether or not the function could be performed by a contractor or freelancer instead. And if you’re considering layoffs, think about offering staff part-time hours instead so that you can scale up and down quickly according to demand.
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Preparation Is the Key to Thriving in a Downturn
Does a downturn for the economy mean a downturn in your business? Not if you think through your strategy. It may not be possible to perfectly predict the highs and lows of the market, but preparing for the possibility now will ensure that your recruiting and hiring processes are strategic and effective throughout a recession.