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Hiring Considerations for Employers During a Recession

by Tim AustinJuly 11, 2020 12:00 PM

Hiring talented, committed employees is a crucial part of running any business. Identifying those key employees is especially important when you need to lean on those individuals during a recession. Even during tough times, you may find yourself in a position where you need to grow your team. Between financial concerns and a growing pool of potential candidates, it’s important to weigh a few factors to ensure you make the right hiring decision for your business.

An employer finding the right new employee during a recession.

Scrutinize Each Open Position

In a recession, you may not have quite as much flexibility to add to your payroll. This impact on your bottom line means that it’s additionally important to review your hiring needs and estimate timelines and costs. If you’re looking to add employees, you’ll need to examine short- and long-term needs and see how adding people will impact your business. 

To start, analyze every opening. Is this a role that’s absolutely essential or will help generate business, even during a recession? You’ll want to determine the importance of each potential position and fill the most crucial roles first if you need to be picky. You’ll also need to try and forecast how the recession will affect your business – if there’s a fair chance you’ll need to furlough or let people go in the near future, you should hold off on adding employees. You can also get creative with certain openings. Freelance or temp workers are a short-term solution that can help when money is tight.

Evaluate Your Current Staff

If you’re looking to fill certain positions, you should also look inward for hiring opportunities. There may be a talented employee ready to make the jump and take on more responsibilities instead of having to hire another person. This scenario is hugely beneficial during a recession for a couple of reasons. 

First, internal hires tend to cost less than external ones. Not only can promoting from within take less time and effort than a lengthy interview process, the starting salary for external hires is roughly 18 to 20 percent higher on average than internal candidates. Second, you already know how an internal candidate fits into your company culture. This familiarity is extremely important, especially when you consider that external hires are 61 percent more likely to be fired from new positions than people who are promoted from within.

There’s also a chance that after evaluation, you may realize that you don’t need more employees – or that you may need to fill more holes than you expected. It’s good to take a critical look at your organizational structure and current staff. To do this, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggests asking yourself a few questions:

  • Do we have the right leaders, and are they in the right positions? 
  • Is our staff aligned to meet organizational goals?
  • What opportunities do we have to improve or grow the business? 
  • How can we best structure our work groups to achieve optimal results? 
  • How can we reduce costs without compromising the quality of our product or service? 
  • Can we automate or outsource any functions or processes to drive internal efficiency?

The answers to these questions can help inform key decisions, which is especially important during a recession. An in-depth review of your team will help you identify ways to make your workforce more efficient or gaps that can be filled by existing employees. You may also learn that you need to fill a different role than originally planned. Regardless, looking inward can help you get the team you need in place so that you can stay strong during a recession.

Market Your Business, Not Just the Job Opening

A recession is an unsettling time for both employers and employees. Seeing friends, family, and coworkers get furloughed or laid off can make a once promising job candidate less likely to look for a new job. There are also a few other reasons why potential prospects would refrain from job hunting:

When talented prospects are hesitant to move, it’s time to approach recruiting with a marketing mindset. Make it clear to candidates exactly why your business is a great landing spot. If you know that your business is financially secure, make it clear to concerned candidates that the new position is a safe landing spot for talented, innovative people. 

Showcase the aspects of your business that make your brand an attractive one to work for, whether that’s an attractive benefits plan, quality of life perks, or any other differentiators. It’s also important to listen to desirable candidates about what they want in a job. These details can help you understand what it takes to attract top talents in trying times and adjust your recruiting approach accordingly.

Be Selective, But Don’t Drag Your Feet

With layoffs and furloughs, the hiring pool is larger than usual during a recession. These factors may give you a wider group of potential prospects, it can also mean that there are more unqualified people eyeing your positions. As such, it’s crucial that you work to find the right candidate for the job. If you have specific requirements, make them clearly known on job descriptions to narrow your candidate pool to the proper people. Don’t be afraid to be picky – hiring a new employee is a major investment, so finding the best fit is key.

Once you identify someone as a top target, it’s time to act. You’re not the only company looking to hire in a recession, so top talent can disappear quickly once other companies recognize their worth. If you feel great about a candidate after going through the interview process and the background check comes back clean, don’t hesitate to make an offer before another business does.

Get the Right Team in Place for Your Business

A recession is a challenge for just about every business, but having the right people in the right seats can help keep your business stable during difficult financial times. Do you need help recruiting the right employees for your business? Contact GMS today to talk to one of our experts about employee recruiting services and employee benefits administration to attract top talent to your team.

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