The Value of Hiring Downsized or Laid-Off Employees

Akin to dating scenarios, we often want to land what is more challenging to acquire — what someone else has. And as such, poaching candidates from other companies is appealing to recruiters.

On the hunt for passive candidates, recruiters seek out workers who appear to be content with their current role. One of the attractive traits of a passive candidate is that they are actively generating value — that they are in demand at their current company.

However, because of recruiters’ predisposition to hunt for currently working people, a slew of candidates is too often ignored: rightsized, downsized or otherwise laid-off workers do not always make it to recruiters’ radar. Similarly, unemployed candidates are often overlooked when HR and hiring managers sort resumes, because a presently-employed candidate seems more vital.

Overcoming the Predisposition to Hire Passive Candidates

Many unemployed people simply were caught up in a corporate reorganisation, laid off because of a duplication following a merger or were rightsized/downsized amid some other initiative that had nothing to do with their individual performance. It is this talent capital that often gets overlooked; amid these pools of talent are performance and productivity engines that already are fueled and brimming with energy.

Additional reasons why these candidates can add immediate value to your organisation follow:

1. They Are Ready to Go — Now

Passive candidates generally are obligated to their current companies, and at the very least, are obliged to provide a two-week notice (often more). They also may be in the middle of an important project or another initiative that can create a sense of obligation to finish out. Moreover, they may be driven to stay the course a bit longer at their current employer based on financial incentives, bonuses, etc.

On the flip side, an actively seeking and unencumbered candidate can be at the ready, often in a matter of a few days, to start work. They do not have to give notice or have other work obligations to conclude with a current employer.

[Related: Disabled Candidates Represent Huge Pool of Untapped Talent]

2. They Are Enthusiastic

You may find yourself working hard to convince a passive candidate to come work for you. Their desire to change course from their current employer often is less than enthusiastic, if there is any interest at all. However, a candidate whose career suddenly was disrupted by a reorganisation is probably eager to restart their career engine and become productive again. More than likely, they were not choosing to depart their contributory role, and thus aspire to become active members of a team again.

3. They Are Relieved & Ready to Partner With a Better Company

In some instances, where an organisation was in turmoil and laid off employees amid that tumult, the displaced staff are actually relieved. In these instances, finding a new work home where the culture is more calming, the atmosphere more conducive to thoughtful work and the overall feel more positive, is top of mind. Promoting these traits throughout the recruitment process will appeal to those newly displaced employees and create a win-win hiring scenario.

[Related: 5 Strategies for Building Company Culture with Content]

4. They Are Poised to Selectively Partner With the Right Boss

In those instances, where the layoff was due to a lack of fit between hiring manager and employee, the newly available talent may be JUST the fit for you. We all know that personality and skill alignment between the hiring decision maker and employee is integral to a successful, productive working relationship. Unfortunately, sometimes a misalignment happens, despite best interviewing and screening efforts.

An employee who has parted ways under such circumstances may be a perfect fit for you. Moreover, this candidate’s experience will likely compel them to be more inquisitive during the interview phase, spurring them to open up regarding their needs. This provides a genuine exchange, increasing the probability of an enduring relationship.

5. They Are Ready to Phase Into a More Consultative Chapter of Their Career

In some instances, a company reorganisation and/or downsizing may involve offering redundancy pay. In these instances, staff accepted packages that will enable them to be selective about the next phases of their career. In other words, newly available talent, without the pressure of having to earn a specific salary, but armed with premium intellectual capital, have made themselves available. Many of these people are not looking for long-term commitments, but instead, seek to keep their skills sharp through temporary involvements.

Companies seeking out experts for short-term gigs, long-term contracts, on-site consulting and the like can garner deep value from such talent.

[Related: Why Recruiting Older Workers Adds Value to a Company’s Bottom-Line]

6. They Are Raw Talent, Awaiting Development

In some scenarios, the candidate was downsized because of the last-in, first-out formula. They were the last one hired, so when cuts happened, they were the first to be let go. It may be that they are new to the industry or to the job force altogether, and getting their foot in the door — and staying put — is a dream of theirs. You can be that organisation that swoops in and capitalises on developing their raw talent, from the ground up.

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