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How To Maximise Your Recruitment Processes During A Market Slowdown

David Law

Mon, 5 Dec, 2022

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 5 minutes

The tech world is slowing down: what should you do about your talent function? It might be counterintuitive— but this is the best time to elevate your recruitment process.

In late 2022, the entire world is headed towards an economic slowdown (or even a full-blown recession). Big tech is laying off employees and the bonanza of the last decade seems to be coming to an end.

In these uncertain times, it’s tempting to forget about recruitment and focus all resources on more conservative areas of business. But what happens when you need to make a new hire? And is this the best plan for long-term growth? 

Our experts explain why this is the best time to invest in improving your recruitment function and what you can do to make the best of the talent market during a recession.

What’s happening with the economy in Australia and the world?

According to expert forecasts, many of the world’s major players will go through a recession in the next 12 months.

A recession means a decline in the gross domestic product (GDP) for two or more consecutive quarters. As a consequence, recessions cause a decrease in consumer spending and investment, higher unemployment, and fewer open jobs.

But what about Australia? In the past, the country has managed to evade worldwide recessions. And according to economists, the Australian outlook is brighter. Despite some companies already laying off part of their workforce, the country might still escape the worst economic impacts.

What would an upcoming recession mean for your business?

A global study by McKinsey indicates that 50% of executives think a recession might happen soon. Companies of all sizes are taking a step back from the aggressive growth of recent years.

During a recession, your company might see reduced revenue. Financing might be harder to come by.

As a result, your organisation might choose to cut costs: halting new product development, making layoffs, and taking a more hands-off approach to hiring. 

Recruitment in times of recession.

In the middle of cuts and layoffs, hiring new talent might seem like a wasteful process. So leadership often stops hiring efforts and decides to save resources used for sourcing, recruiting, and onboarding.

But a hiring freeze is not the best long-term solution for growth. When the economy recovers, as it always does, businesses that have continued to acquire and develop top talent will be far ahead of the competition.

But if your company stops hiring, onboarding, and growing, you’ll inevitably be left behind and lose market share.

The best solution isn’t to stop recruitment completely, but to be more strategic and refine your sourcing and hiring processes to pick up speed when the market recovers.

5 steps to hire during a market downturn.

1. Review, reassess, rebuild.

Nothing is less recession-friendly than an inefficient hiring process. So when you have to slow down recruitment, instead of halting hiring completely, focus your resources on improving existing practices.

Review your process for any inefficiencies that cause unnecessary delays and drain resources. Look for bottlenecks and wasted time by assessing basic metrics like CPH (cost per hire) and T2H (time to hire). Analysing your acceptance rate can also help you spot recurring problems and refine your process.

A market slowdown is also the perfect time to rebuild and elevate your candidate experience (CX). Improve your candidate’s journey from outreach to an accepted job offer by prioritising transparency, communication, and positive company culture.

Your efforts to rebuild your recruitment process might seem unnecessary right now. But they will help you make faster and more cost-effective high performing hires when hiring ramps up again.

2. Use strategic analysis.

Not only should you analyse your performance to find the most strategic investments, but also your competitors. When you figure out exactly how your competition is doing well, you can begin to close the gap— and even get ahead.

What are their metrics? What’s their hiring process like? Are there any stages you’ve missed or put too much weight on? Are you missing any roles that they have prioritised? Is their ATS more efficient?

Once you discover where your competitors’ strengths lie, you can invest more strategically to improve your process. This will help you come out ahead when the market stabilises.

3. Choose well-rounded candidates.

In times of great economic uncertainty, your company can’t hire every great professional you’d like. However, you can capitalise on the hires you do make.

Instead of hiring ‘specialist’ candidates, acquire talent that can perform well in more than one role.

While all-rounder candidates require higher compensation and a larger benefits package, this might still be more cost-efficient than hiring several ‘specialists’ for different roles.

4. Upskill your existing talent.

Can’t make any new hires at all? Focus on improving the employee experience and providing development opportunities to current employees.

Data shows that the Australian job market is still tight: there are still many opportunities for top talent to grow in their careers.

So if you want to keep your top performers, avoid costly new hires, and increase employee value, zero in on upskilling your team. Identify areas for development and missing skills that could benefit current and future projects. 

When you invest in further training and skill development, you improve retention and build value for your team and company.

5. Make the best of layoffs.

Despite much-publicised tech layoffs all over the world, many tech companies big and small are still hiring. Organisations like Reddit and Aussie firm Canva have stated they won’t stop acquiring talent through these times.

If you’ve had trouble filling certain roles and you’re not 100% risk averse, this might be a golden chance to find the right talent.

And because other companies are laying off talent, you might be able to fill these roles fast, setting them up for long-term success. Use AI tools like Layoffs.fyi to find top candidates who are probably looking for a new job.

Conclusion: your recruitment function can benefit from recession

Recession can be a scary prospect for many leaders. But when you focus your resources strategically and make decisions with the bigger picture in mind, you can build teams and processes that grow your business sustainably.

You can make the best of this economic slowdown and build down a winning strategy if:

  • You use a tailored approach: there’s no one-size-fits-all, Holy Grail solution for recruitment during a recession. You should develop a talent strategy that contemplates your specific situation, goals, and culture.
  • You identify key opportunities and needs: allocating resources where they’ll be most beneficial is essential in times like these. A talent expert makes it easy to pinpoint where you can grow and ramp up quickly when needed.
  • You work strategically: working with ad hoc agencies that fix problems with band-aid solutions is not a sustainable strategy. Instead, team up with an embedded expert recruiter that knows your business. They’ll help you build up your talent function, identify recruitment problems, and achieve ambitious goals efficiently.

At Fulcrum, we provide a flexible, efficient, and sustainable approach to recruitment for ambitious Australian companies. Work with us to elevate your recruitment process, improve your talent function for the long term, and minimise the impact of the coming recession on your objectives. Ready to start? Write to us today!

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