Recruitment Strategies for 2022 Facing a Downturn

Despite whispers of a looming recession, global unemployment rates remain at historic lows, and the job market continues to overheat. Goldman Sachs even used the term 'historically unusual' to describe the uncanny strength that we see in the job market, even as the economy sits on the brink of a recession. It's a curious dynamic that HR professionals need to account for as they work to develop sustainable recruitment strategies suited to the approaching economic environment. 

This much is clear: whether we end up in recession or not, job seekers will continue to hold the higher ground in the hiring game for the foreseeable future. Your recruitment plans need to account for the fact that this could be the first recession where the candidates remain in control.

Traditional recruitment strategies have become notably less effective since the Great Resignation began. To prepare for the pending economic downturn, forward-thinking organizations are strengthening their recruitment and employee retention strategies by making strategic investments in HR technology and calibrating their existing strategies to become more attractive to active and passive job seekers.

Recruitment Strategies for an Economic Downturn

Historically, a souring economy meant that organizations could breathe a little easier, knowing their workers would be less likely to look for greener pastures. This time it could be different – a survey of 1,500 employees revealed that more than half had intentions to continue testing the job market, even if the economy does bottom out.

While that may be uncharted territory for many of us, by adopting the recruitment strategies and HR technologies discussed below, your organization will be able to implement sustainable recruitment and retention strategies that are sure to yield better results in any economic environment.

Forecasting: Follow the Economics

First, HR professionals need to understand the environment they are recruiting in. Navigating a recession and implementing effective recruitment strategies simultaneously is significantly more difficult if you're uninformed. 

Organizations need to have a clear understanding of current economic trends, job market dynamics, and, most important of all, an awareness of the innovations in HR tech that can fuel their recruitment strategies. 

The Society for Human Resource Management is the flagship organization of the HR profession, offering a wide array of specific newsletters you can subscribe to. Armed with the right information, recruitment teams can make prudent judgment calls based on solid job market data. 

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Invest in your Existing Workforce | Upskilling

Offering a skills training program to your employees or upskilling can be a remarkably effective talent retention and acquisition strategy, especially when times get tough. A recent study done in the U.K. revealed that 3 out of 10 workers left their jobs over the past 12 months specifically because their employers neglected to offer them any kind of skills development program.

But HR professionals are catching on. After the mass exodus of employees from the workforce, a lot of organizations began to invest more of their resources into employee development. The result? Boosted levels of employee loyalty and a spark in the kind of innovation that drives higher revenues. Not surprisingly, the number of organizations actively adopting a skills development program for their employees has jumped 70% over the past three years.  

As a recruitment strategy, your organization can use its social media presence to promote the upskilling programs that are available to your employees. By showing candidates that your organization has an interest in their professional development, you are showing them how working for your company can boost their own careers.

Take a Position on Social Issues

A majority of the global community believes that the time has come for businesses to play a greater role in solving our challenges as a society. That means candidates are looking beyond compensation and are choosing where they work based on what level of social impact a hiring organization appears to have, as well as how closely aligned that organization appears to be with a candidate's personal beliefs.

Younger workers have an especially keen focus on social justice and environmental issues, and nearly two-thirds of Gen Z candidates place a high level of importance on working for an employer who shares those values. In fact, over 60% of job candidates will consider whether an organization takes any position at all on social issues.

Therefore, taking the lead on social justice issues is more than a recruitment idea; it's a new responsibility that HR leaders need to take seriously. Taking to social media to promote how your organization is getting involved in the community, appointing more members of the LGBTQ+ community, and promoting women at a comparable rate to men are all steps that demonstrate a higher level of authenticity to employees and job seekers alike.

Engage Candidates

This is one strategy that can really give you a leg up on the competition during a recession; investing in technologies that help you establish a deeper level of engagement with candidates as they pass through the myriad stages of your hiring process. 

Candidate engagement determines how a candidate feels about the interactions they have with your application process, and it's often used to build an impression of your company. Nearly half of all job seekers are willing to pass on a job offer if they've had a poor candidate experience. Fortunately, HR tech is leading the way with powerful new tools.

A key step in adopting a candidate-centric application process is to have a powerful applicant tracking system (ATS) at the heart of your recruitment efforts. ATS systems serve as the central platform for a mobile-friendly application process, and they provide recruiters with the tools they need to keep candidates informed of their status throughout the process. In one recent study, the decision to adopt a new ATS system improved the 'drop-off' rate of job applicants by a whopping 30 percent!

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Speed to Succeed | Being First Matters

In a recessionary environment, speed is your advantage, and any unnecessary delays in your hiring process will cost you, good candidates. The best candidates remain on the market for as little as ten days, so the shorter your hiring process, the better. The younger members of our workforce have grown accustomed to immediate accessibility when they want something, so your organization needs to adjust to this dynamic.

This is another area where investments in HR technology can yield dividends. Modern ATS systems are speeding up hiring timelines by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI), and they're taking automation to an entirely new level. That's giving organizations a huge assist in finding good talent before the competition does.

Promote your Brand 

The best candidates are going to research the reputation of any organization they're considering for employment – it's that simple. A noticeable absence of any online brand is a major liability in our modern job market. A brand is the projected image of an organization to the public. It is a blend of an organization's values, strengths, and, essentially, its mission… and it's a powerful tool for attracting and retaining great employees.

Over 70% of the world's recruitment leaders agree that their brand has a crucial link to their hiring success, so it's important to be active on social media where passive and active job seekers spend their time (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). Posts should include information about your positive work culture, how your organization is active in its community, what kind of benefits your organization offers, etc.

During a recession, candidates want to see inside an organization as best they can before they decide to accept an offer. A positive online brand helps communicate this information.

Attract Candidates with a Robust and Dynamic Benefits Package

Workers found themselves being pushed to their limits during the pandemic, and it's caused them to re-evaluate their priorities. Now, candidates have a renewed focus on their mental health and physical well-being, and they want their employers to take an interest in helping them establish a healthy work/life balance. Gaining the upper hand in the talent war means getting the message out to job seekers that your company isn't 'tone deaf' to these demands.

Including benefits that support the physical, emotional, and financial well-being of your employees sends the message that you understand the new factors that motivate candidates to stay with a company for the long term.

Embrace Remote Work

Technology is going to continue closing geographical divides. While remote work may have been rare a decade ago, it's a big part of the "new normal" today, and many candidates expect a remote schedule to be offered to them on some level. Employees appreciate remote working schedules because of how it factors into helping them establish a healthy work/life balance.

Almost every employee will take the opportunity to work remotely when offered, and over 60% of the employees who are working from home are likely to quit if their employers try using a looming recession as an excuse to abolish remote working options.

That makes offering a remote work schedule a very powerful component of modern recruitment strategies. An organization's best chances of recruiting success hinges on embracing remote work instead of trying to eliminate the option.

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Embrace Modern Technology

Even with an economy that's teetering on a recession, modern recruitment strategies are more effective when they're supported by HR technologies that accelerate hiring timelines and can engage with candidates at a deeper level than the competition. To prepare for the pending economic downturn, it is crucial to do a full assessment of the technology that your talent acquisition team relies on to identify areas where technical innovations can amplify your recruitment strategies.

Manatal's cloud-based ATS system is helping organizations around the globe hunker down for the pending economic downturn by offering affordable yet powerful technologies that can streamline their hiring processes and help their recruiters quickly identify the best talent using artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.

Right now, Manatal is offering a 14-day free trial of their ATS platform. In the face of such economic uncertainty, technology can be your greatest ally in the ongoing war for the best talent. Manatal can show you how.

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