5 Tips to Make Talent Acquisition Less Painful In a Down Market

business professional working from home office

Many companies are reducing headcount budgets in light of the economic downturn, bringing about new challenges for talent acquisition professionals:

  • Layoffs or hiring freezes on your People team can make it more difficult to manage the recruitment process. For instance, you may not have dedicated sourcers to find passive talent or recruiting coordinators to schedule interviews.
  • Reduced headcount in other areas of your organization may mean your fellow team members (read: interviewers) are busier as they take on more responsibilities. This leaves less time for them to interview and submit feedback.
  • Headcount reductions may also impact your candidates if offers are rescinded or job requisitions are put on hold once the recruitment process has already begun. These scenarios can impact your employer brand, making it more difficult to attract and engage talent now — and potentially for years to come.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are still two job openings for every unemployed candidate. Job seekers have many choices when it comes to where they want to work and it’s leading employers to face significant talent shortages.

In fact, an Employ report found that four in five talent acquisition professionals say that attracting top talent has become more challenging over the past year, with 33% stating that it has been very challenging.

5 tips to make your life easier

A down market may introduce many new challenges for talent acquisition professionals — but it can also provide some opportunities to level-up talent maturity at your organization.

Here are five things you can do to make your life easier over the next few months and bounce back stronger once the economy recovers.

1) Automate manual tasks

Reducing or eliminating manual tasks can help you build a more efficient recruitment process. This allows your team to get by with lower headcount now — and scale up faster when hiring resumes. For example, you can automate:

  • Job distribution
  • Interview scheduling
  • Candidate follow-up messages
  • Interviewer feedback reminders

An automated and streamlined talent acquisition process also enables you to improve your candidate experience so you can win more great talent for your team.

For example, a nurture queue can help you build stronger candidate relationships and improve your candidate conversion rate.

2) Use structured interviews

Structured interviews are often used because they give each candidate the same recruitment experience so you can evaluate them on a level playing field. But this recruitment strategy also has another key benefit: interview efficiency.

Having an established process and a fixed set of questions you ask every candidate enables interviewers to participate in the recruitment process with less effort and more success.

And when you use the hiring criteria to create a scorecard for each position, your interviewers can easily check off boxes and jot down notes as they chat with candidates. This can speed up the interview feedback process so you can make decisions and get back to candidates faster.

3) Keep in contact with candidates throughout the recruitment process

Communication is one of the most important aspects of the candidate experience. Even if you’re understaffed — and especially if headcount budget issues impact a candidate — great communication is crucial to maintain your employer brand and build strong candidate relationships.

Let your candidates know immediately if anything in your process changes and how they’ll be impacted. Open, honest, and timely communication can keep your candidates engaged in your recruitment process, even if it’s on hold for the time being.

The market will eventually bounce back and you want to be sure you still have a willing talent pool when it does.

4) Recruit, train, and promote high-potential talent

When headcount budgets are low, you may not be able to pay top dollar for top-tier talent. But that doesn’t mean you can’t develop your own top performers.

Recruit high-potential candidates — those with the ability and motivation to become top performers — and develop them to reach their full potential.

Consider internal talent when new job requisitions open so you can fill roles with qualified candidates faster, while also improving employee retention. In fact, LinkedIn found that high internal mobility can double employee tenure.

5) Make more compelling job offers

You don’t want to find a great candidate only to have them turn down an offer or simply ghost you after accepting an offer.

Jobvite’s 2022 Job Seeker Nation Report found that candidates have many reasons for seeking new roles:

  • 27% are looking for better compensation
  • 20% want opportunities for professional growth
  • 16% want the flexibility to work from home
  • 16% want better work-life balance
  • 16% want better health benefits

Find out what motivates your candidates so you can discuss how your organization fits the bill — and make sure you reiterate your best selling points during the offer stage.

This can help you increase your offer acceptance rate and keep your time-to-fill in check.

Keep looking ahead to build a better talent acquisition function

Economic downturns are challenging for many but they don’t last forever. Keep looking ahead so you’re prepared when the market recovers.

Build talent pipelines with skilled candidates — including those you wish you could hire now if you had the headcount budget for them. Evaluate your talent acquisition technology stack and identify opportunities for improvement. Develop a more efficient recruiting workflow. Overhaul your candidate experience.

Any improvements you implement can make your life easier now — and help you come back stronger on the other side of the down market.

Request a Lever demo to learn how our TA suite can help you streamline your recruiting, improve your candidate experience, and scale your hiring once the economy recovers.

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