Along with most industries, the Recruiting world has flipped
upside down. For many, this is new territory; we don’t often experience drastic
change in such a short time. Like most change, not all is negative and we will
either adapt or find our way out of the Recruiting space. Some of these changes
are a reminder of what recruiting looked like as we clawed our way out of a
recession 10 years ago.
I vividly recall a multitude of incoming applicants, while also pulling from an incredibly large candidate database that was consistently growing. As a team, we couldn’t keep up with the applicants that were flowing in. Fast forward just a few short years and both incoming applicants and our pool began to run dry. The good old days of post and pray, and shooting off a few inmails, were coming to an end.
The lessons from the past can help us navigate these times,
and I have listed the top three lessons derived from our last downturn.
“Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”
– Winston Churchill
1. The Initial Change – who’s running the show?
What we experienced just a decade ago
was the shift from an employer-driven market to a candidate-driven market. All
of the sudden, it appeared candidates had the upper hand, leaving many
companies unsure how to react and still clinging to their old ways. While this
shift certainly made our jobs harder by increasing time-to-fill, cost per hire,
and quality of hire, it forced us to adapt as recruiters. The result was that
we become stronger recruiters, more efficient, and knew how to actually sell
the value proposition rather than just selling the job and salary. Cue the
“this isn’t business as usual” corporate speak.
During the initial change from an
employer-driven market to a candidate-driven market, recruiters needed to take
a whole new approach. As we enter a softer employer driven market, we must not
forget the importance of continuing to provide the candidate experience we’ve
created. But we must also understand there is opportunity ahead to find talent
that was previously unavailable. We need to aggressively go and get that talent,
while continuing to allow the candidate experience to be a differentiator!
2. Candidates and Recruiter Behavior
With this shift in candidate
behavior during our past recession, companies and recruiters began to slowly
shift their own behavior – namely in the level of empathy shown to candidates. I’m
not here to say we recruiters were not empathetic, but I saw a clear uptick in
empathy on the behalf of recruiting teams during challenging times. Having
empathy for those who lost the ability to provide for their families during the
previous economic downturn was a must.
During the 2007 – 2010 recession, there
were many emotionally trying days when speaking to candidates who had fallen on
hard times or lost their career after decades at the same company. We as a
nation had deep levels empathy because so many of our own friends, families and
neighbors were impacted by the downturn.
With that said, let’s be our best
selves during these times and be there for our candidates who need it the most
3. Invest now and resist the urge to divest
Just like opportunists taking
advantage of the stock market, now is the time for recruiting teams to look at
their investment into recruiting strategy and technology. It is the role of
talent leaders to keep your organization committed to its investment into
people and TA strategy. Unfortunately, companies often pull back on non-revenue
generating departments, which they see as a cost center rather than revenue
generating team. Resist the urge to go with the flow and be bold, stick up for
your teams and don’t let your wins from the past years be stripped away along
with your budget.
Additionally, these are often times
when investing in both people and technology can be a cost saving strategy. For
example, I’m currently in the process of an HCM implementation, and we’ve
required a handful of integrations for our both recruiting and L&D teams.
Due to the current landscape and severe dip in revenue for most organizations,
we were able to negotiate our integration contracts in ways we wouldn’t haven’t
been able to previously.
These lessons learned are universal for all organizations and industries. When these challenging times arise, it’s in our best interest to keep the recruiting space thriving. We must evolve rather than ignoring these shifts, regressing, or reducing our investments into people.