Recruiting in the times of slowdown

By Aditya Mishra | December 28, 2019

Ups and downs are a part of life. They say, if you have none, you’re not alive. Right from the waves in the sea to seasons of the year and experiences in life have crests and troughs. One has to embrace them and make the most of them.
Organisations have their own lives and their people provide them the much-needed mojo to keep them going, excel over a period of time and scale new heights. They always need the best talent who can take the mantle forward on their respective missions. Economic downturn or a slowdown is a time when the leaders tighten their belts, control costs by taking a hard look at the productivity of their people, process efficiencies and organisation design.

Simultaneity of Layoff and Recruitment

Companies typically identify processes, systems, lines of business which drag them down. They get rid of these bottlenecks, dampeners and fissures. As a result, some roles get redundant and some get redefined. People occupying the roles which become redundant get laid off; at the same time, talent is acquired from the market to fill in the roles which need new skillsets.
Leaders have to explain transparently to their people why they have layoff and recruiting at the same time. They have to enthuse the organisation about its mission and the future so that they continue to have trust and faith of their people in them.

Attracting the best

When the economic activities in an organisation go down, most people fail to achieve their targets in spite of significant amount of stretch. Employee morale across the firm takes a beating and their vision of the future looks unsure.
Secondly, some organisations tend to keep aside their tenured employees from the jaws of layoff. They tend to redeploy these experienced employees into the other roles or reskill them. Hence the relatively newer employees face the axe of layoff. This phenomenon reduces the attractiveness of employer brand further.
At times of slowdown, number of opportunities in the market reduce and hence, competition for talent eases. Logically, ability to attract talent of an organisation is high, however given the context above, recruiting continues to remain challenging.
Companies have to invest energies on identifying their target audience, promoting their context, future and mission on various platforms : social media, networking sites, finishing school campuses and the traditional media. Secondly, we need to make sure that the value proposition for the potential employee is clear and long-term. Last but not the least, we have to proactively address questions in the minds of potential candidates, such as job security, financial health of the company, rewards program and career growth.

Candidate experience is more crucial than ever

At times of slowdown, due to the changes in demand and supply forces in the talent market, companies keep receiving many more applications than what they normally do. Thus, some of them ignore the need of delivering a positive experience to the candidates who show an interest in pursuing a career with them. As a result, candidates do not get a realistic preview of the company’s culture, context and the job profile.
Candidates know that companies have many choices at the times of downturn. So, they try harder to crack the recruiting challenge. When they have a not-so-great experience, they share these stories with their friends and contacts in their social circles. Eventually, the ability of the organisation to attract the best talent declines. Would a company let this happen to itself?
Candidate experience determines an organisation’s strength to attract top talent from the market. It takes conscious efforts of the leadership team of a company to underline the importance of candidate experience in the mosaic of talent acquisition strategy of their company. Slowdown or upswing, an organisation has to get this right. This becomes all the more important at times of downturn because a company needs to attract people with specialised skillsets and keep the best minds on board so that they innovate and improvise to deliver the best results.