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hiring and recruiting during economic uncertainty

Concerned About Economic Uncertainty? Here’s How to Keep Your Hiring and Recruiting Process Agile and Adapt to Changes

The economy can significantly impact your organization’s hiring and recruiting strategy. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a rise in the consumer price index of 9.1% in June 2022, the highest in 40 years. While there is still a demand for workers, internal decision makers at your company may be looking to restrict hiring in response to lower demand for its products or services. External forces, such as a slow labor market, can make recruiting more challenging.

During economic uncertainty, a recruiter can still find opportunities to thrive. This blog will explain how to adjust the recruiting process to respond to an economic downturn. We will guide you through what to expect when hiring and recruiting during economic uncertainty and how to improve the agility of your recruiting process to adapt to those changes. 

What to Expect During Economic Uncertainty

As a seasoned recruiter, you may have experienced the 2008 Great Recession and economic turbulence in the following years. If not, you likely heard about it from family or colleagues. Even if you are new to recruitment, you probably noticed the mass employment separations and economic uncertainty during the 2020 pandemic. Recruitment strategy had to adapt to the market, and for many, this meant a slowdown or suspension of hiring and a change in recruiting habits.

While economic uncertainty doesn’t always result in a recession, the two events exhibit similar recruiting challenges. In one Bloomberg article, economists identified a risk of recession at 38%. During economic uncertainty, most businesses experience several external and internal reactions. 

Here are some challenges to expect during an economic downturn:

Slow Labor Market

A slow labor market can make attracting good talent more difficult, primarily if you are recruiting for a small business or startup with little name recognition. Candidates search for companies they can rely on to stay afloat during uncertain economic times. Large companies may spare no expense to keep growing talent and retaining employees, making it challenging to attract quality hires, especially hard-to-find candidates.

Staffing Shortages

With many small businesses recovering from the pandemic and the Great Resignation of 2020, staff shortages can be a significant problem during economic uncertainty. As unemployment rises, you may be shocked to find the number of applicants flat-lining. Those unemployment claims may be job losses in a different industry or position. Certain positions, like highly-skilled or technical jobs, remain challenging to find qualified candidates in any economy.

Hiring Freezes

If you’re a recruiter, a hiring freeze can end the work you are used to doing. During a hiring freeze, your company stops recruiting temporarily or indefinitely, depending on the economic situation. You may need to suspend all active hiring and recruiting campaigns and inform candidates in the recruitment pipeline it could take longer for their application to be processed. After a freeze, layoffs may not be far behind.


When competitors and other organizations lay off staff, the uptick in candidates can be a good thing but may not last. During economic uncertainty, laid-off employees may be willing to take a lower wage, fewer benefits, or a rank-and-file position. In their minds, it may only be temporary. When the economy rebounds, these new hires may return to a competitor for higher wages or more prestigious positions.

If your company is laying off employees, other employees may begin to question the security of their job and benefits. Employees that feel they are not supported can start looking into other opportunities, and your competitors may be looking to snag some of the best hires for the long term. In many cases, the hardships of economic uncertainty can be avoided or reduced by adjusting your recruiting strategy.Hiring and recruiting during economic uncertainty can be an opportunity to attract great talent. 

How Can I Adjust My Recruiting Strategy to Overcome Economic Uncertainty?

During economic uncertainty, the dynamics of the labor market change, and your company’s needs may change. Your recruiting and hiring process should adapt to your organization’s needs and the market. You can make changes internally to ensure your current employees and new hires feel secure in their position. They should understand that opportunity awaits them with your company when the economy rebounds. It also helps to think outside the box, explore new avenues for sourcing candidates, and screen quality hires.

Broaden the Scope of Your Recruiting Duties

Organizations often restrict or freeze hiring during an economic downturn. While you won’t be doing much recruiting, you have time to refine all aspects of the full cycle recruiting process.

If you use templates for job postings or application forms, see how you can improve them to find better candidates as the company loosens its hiring policies. Clean up paperwork and electronic records, and review profiles and resumes for candidates that did not make the cut in previous hiring cycles but may be a better fit for the position now. You can also meet with the hiring manager to refine job descriptions and aim to address the current and future needs of the company.

Outsource Where You Can

If your organization requires quality hires but you have trouble sourcing, outsourcing can be an excellent tool to fill in gaps in experience or the recruiting process. While it may seem cost-prohibitive to outsource talent acquisition for small business and startup recruiting needs, it can save your company money.

External recruiting with the right partner can be cost-efficient and make a meaningful impact during economic uncertainty. We mentioned short staffing and a slow labor market. Outsourcing your recruitment can mean hiring that hard-to-find candidate. If you are missing critical employees in your recruitment staff, temporarily outsourcing their duties can keep your company performing. Always weigh your organization’s needs with an outsourcing partner’s capabilities.

Screen Candidates Thoroughly

While you may want to be less picky during a slow labor market or staff shortage, a more refined screening process will help you find quality hires that are invested in your company long term. During a slowdown, your competitors and large organizations may lay off staff that they feel are unproductive. Be careful that you are not investing time and money in hiring and training bad hires.

Fortunately, quality candidates will also apply to your organization after a competitor’s mass layoffs. Screen these candidates to ensure they are willing to stick around with your company when the economy rebounds. Ensure that you get a sense of what candidates want from your company and the position they are applying for to determine if they will leave when they find an opportunity when the uncertainty fades. If your company cannot offer candidates the salary, benefits, or position they want now or soon after the economy recovers, you may want to reconsider investing in the hire and wait for a candidate with more potential to stay.

Candidates have busy schedules and sometimes cannot commit to a phone screening schedule during your office hours. A rigid screening schedule can make it harder to attract candidates accustomed to flexibility. Instead of scheduling a phone screen, try chatbots, questionnaires, or video screenings that candidates can submit on their own time. Substituting phone screening with an on-demand option can save you time and result in higher quality candidates.

Improve Your Onboarding Process

A good onboarding process prepares your new hires to stay engaged with your company. During an economic downturn, do not let this moment in the full cycle recruiting process go to waste. A memorable onboarding experience can determine if your new hire will stay with your company as the economy recovers and encourage them to be more productive during uncertainty.

While an HR officer may handle onboarding instead of you or another recruiter, you can improve the new hire’s experience with a professional handoff to the onboarding personnel. If you manage the onboarding process, you can make the experience more personal, creating a lasting impression with the new hire.

Focus on Your Current Employees

Layoffs and staffing shortages can lower the morale of current employees, causing them to disengage and look for new opportunities. You can use this time to reach out to current employees to understand their sentiments during uncertainty. Ask your employees what they want from the company and find out what you can do to improve their engagement and become a company that compels employees to work with it.

Improving benefits, allowing hybrid or remote work, and peer recognition are all ways to enhance employees’ quality of life. Perks like complimentary snacks in the employee lounge or monthly gatherings for recreation or entertainment can also be attractive. Offering hybrid work can improve worker productivity and morale, with surveys showing up to 83% of employees prefer hybrid work models.

How Can I Keep My Recruiting Process Agile in an Economic Slowdown?

While you can adapt to make your recruiting process fit economic circumstances, increasing the agility of your recruiting process with recruitment tools and strategic recruiting partners can improve your long-term hiring capabilities. With the right platform, your company may be able to save money while you improve your recruiting KPIs (key performance indicators).

Develop Better Sourcing

During economic uncertainty, you may need to source numerous candidates to fill staffing shortages or try to source quality hires in a small candidate pool. While your candidate pools can get a boost from layoffs, you may need to improve your recruiting sources.

You can try to improve your social media and job posting board recruitment to find new candidates. External sourcing from a recruiting firm can help you find a new pool of candidates. It is essential to thoroughly vet strategic recruiting partners to avoid paying too much or not getting the value your company expects from a third party.

Suppose you have a great candidate already working for your company. In that case, you may be able to recruit them internally if you cannot find quality candidates from outside the company. Ensure that you can fill the internal recruit’s position, but it may be easier to recruit for their current position than the position you need to fill. Referrals can also be an effective method for finding quality hires in uncertain times. Create an excellent referral program to improve morale and find some quality hires.

One of the most effective sourcing strategies for small and large businesses is to rely on a recruiting platform that helps you develop your sourcing pools without costly memberships and subscriptions on premium career networks. Recruiting software automatically sources quality candidates and improves your productivity.

Automate Aspects of Hiring and Recruiting With Software

From sourcing to onboarding, the full cycle recruiting process can benefit from automation. An applicant tracking system (ATS) helps you find the best talent by streamlining the recruiting pipeline. It helps you find quality candidates and hire them faster. An excellent ATS will simplify the screening process by providing a candidate profile tailored to your hiring needs. It can also improve the candidate experience, providing them more transparency as they move from applicant to hire.

When you use a quality platform to improve your recruiting process, you can automate offer letters and onboarding to ensure your workflow is efficient and that every new hire has a consistent onboarding experience. If you are the sole recruiter for your company or already work with a team, a scalable platform grows alongside your recruiting team and energizes your communications. Find a recruiting software platform that will provide you the agility to make it through the economic downturn.

Build Your Team During Economic Uncertainty With an Agile Recruiting Platform

Economic uncertainty can make hiring difficult, and internal and external factors can slow your recruiting process to a halt. Adapting to the changes and improving the agility of your full cycle recruiting process can help you face hiring challenges. You can enhance the recruiting process by partnering with a recruiting platform to improve your hiring productivity. An agile recruiting process will help you find high-quality hires and use your time effectively to improve morale and reassure your current employees. Hiring and recruiting during economic uncertainty is a challenge that can also open possibilities for improved processes and streamlining your hiring tech stack. 

Sourcing and screening can be easy with Comeet, the recruiting platform that sources candidates and displays pre-screened profiles tailored to your hiring needs. You can increase your productivity and hire qualified candidates with a streamlined process—track candidates from start to finish. You can send automated offer letters and ensure candidate onboarding is a consistently pleasant experience. Schedule a demo with Comeet today.

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