Recruiting in a downturn offers a mix of opportunities. Favour tends to shift to those doing the hiring, since there are more people looking for work in a downturn. But recruiting the best and brightest can still be tricky, since star employees often hang on to their jobs. Put a plan in motion and you’ll be in a better position to recruit and retain employees.
Nine tips for recruiting in a downturn
1. Look at offering retention bonuses. In a downturn, hot shots tend to be the ones most likely to leave.
2. Keep up your employer branding, especially when big companies start publicizing their layoffs. Even if you’re only recruiting occasionally, you can still help future candidates see you as an employer of choice.
3. Offer non-traditional benefits. If money’s tight and you want to recruit star candidates, you may do better by offering creative and flexible benefits.
4. Hire smart and staff strategically. Planning ahead can help you do more for less.
5. Be candid. Stay honest about your company’s financial and market positions. If you sugar coat things and your new hire finds out, they’ll be a flight risk and you’ll face further turnover and recruitment costs.
6. Seek out people still working at companies that have downsized. These people may not be happy with their current situation, especially if they’re carrying a heavier workload, working for a different boss or following a new mandate. And, if their work friends are gone and they no longer believe in their employer, they may have fewer reasons for staying.
7. Focus on low cost recruitment techniques, such as referrals, recruiting at professional conferences, social networking media (e.g. FaceBook and LinkedIn) and employees who previously worked for you.
8. Make use of temporary employees, freelancers and consultants. You can test people out before making a commitment and also tap into the skills of people who hit the ground running.
9. Note that downturns rarely go right across the economy and the world. Even in challenging economic times, some industries, professions and regions see upticks in salaries.
Related to recruiting in a downturn
• Temporary employees
• Hiring smart: staffing strategically for cost effectiveness
• Five-step plan for recruiting from within