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Essential tips on how to hire during a recession

Hiring is predicted to become a ‘buyers-market’ in 2023 as there are more candidates looking for roles, and fewer are roles available. How hiring organisations’ navigate this landscape will be key to scalable growth. Here are some pointers to be aware of.

The impending economic downturn will be at the forefront of every business leader’s mind. A volatile market makes everyone cautious, and with the recent public layoffs at huge tech giants Twitter and Meta, as well as large retail companies Joules and Made.com going into administration, many employers may also consider downsizing as a means for bracing themselves for the slump. Some companies may be nervous about hiring new talent and focus their attention on utilising their current headcount. 

However, as unemployment slowly climbs in the UK, hiring will become a buyer’s market as the pool of potential candidates grows and roles on offer decline. How a company will navigate their way through this will be crucial in helping scale its business effectively.  

Wherever there is change, there is opportunity and as we begin the new year we’re asking, what can businesses do to adapt and prepare for the tough times ahead? 

Assessing priorities
Companies will inevitably be looking to tighten their belts, so they should be looking at how they can get the best ROI on their investment when it comes to their employees. Yet, quality of hire can only really be measured over time, therefore it’s imperative that you’re hiring the best talent for the role, and that comes down to assessing what your priorities will be. As we enter a more tumultuous environment, bosses will find that skills such as multi-tasking and change management will be top of the list when considering CVs.

Candidates, too, will be assessing what is important to them when looking for a new job, and businesses will need to keep their fingers on the pulse. As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, it is predicted in a recent survey* that almost a fifth of the UK workforce will plan to look for new jobs in the hopes of better pay and employee benefits. Among the new generation entering the labour market, these include opportunities for flexible working, better work-life balance and an inclusive culture. Employers must ask themselves what is their Employee Value Proposition (EVP), and does it align with the current concerns of candidates? As the first point of contact, career sites and job descriptions should be reviewed so that they reflect the company’s values and culture. 

Economising, whilst maximising
The next step will be to work out how to balance saving money, whilst making sure you’re recruiting the best people for the position. Organisations might first consider where they might find employees that will deliver value quickly. One option is finding high-performing candidates that aren’t necessarily looking for a new role. Although seemingly tenacious, being proactive in identifying talent will benefit the company two-fold: not only will you increase your team’s performance, but also impact your competitor’s ability to perform for a period, something that is particularly effective during a recession. This will aid in ensuring that your EVP and job adverts are attractive to those candidates.  

However, if your industry has a high turnover of staff, it’s imperative to make sure those empty spots are filled quickly. In this case, having a predictable talent pipeline can make a huge difference to cost.  

Recruiting remotely
Online recruiting is a fantastic way of making sure you have easy access to that pool of candidates. The last two years have extended the capabilities of virtual ways of working, and the recruitment industry has been no different. Remote recruiting has proven to be efficient in terms of both reach and timescale – by taking out travel time it becomes much easier and faster to schedule an interview. Remote hiring can also extend your geographical reach, aligning with many candidates’ desires for more flexible working options. 

Both companies and recruitment agencies are increasingly using technology to help structure the remote hiring process. Using scaling tools such as chatbots, they can both reduce spending and increase efficiency and ensure quality, through cross-functional hiring teams, scorecards and improved collaboration and feedback.
All of these factors contribute to making your company more agile, wasting less time, and getting more out of your hiring process during these challenging times.  

Looking ahead
But whilst there is a lot to consider, the fundamentals of hiring remain the same: companies need people and people need jobs. If there is one thing to take from the recent crises over the last couple of years, it’s about utilising your time. It would be naïve to assume the next year will be easy, but by taking a hard look at hiring processes, businesses will discover better and more innovative ways of scaling.

Resourcefulness will take precedence as we realise that perceived necessities are in fact luxuries. Recessions don’t last forever, and it will be those who are prepared to scale and are assessing their processes now that will have the upper hand.  

 *Survey by Unum UK

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