July 14, 2022

How the 2008 recession changed Hirewell forever

Authors:

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

In the 2008 recession, some recruiting firms thrived. A lot more folded.

Hirewell? We treaded water and lived to fight another day. But we treated that moment as a call to action to make our business bulletproof.

Here’s what we spent the last 14 years doing:

👉Diversified the skillsets we recruit for: Create comprehensive solutions and maximize “stickiness.”

In 2008, we were a pure play tech recruiting firm.

In 2022, we have dedicated practices of specialized recruiters in tech, HR & TA, marketing, sales, finance & accounting, real estate, and manufacturing.

There’s literally not an area on the org chart that we don’t have specialists dedicated to. Which gave us 3 benefits:

  1. We can create large scale, comprehensive hiring solutions. Solving our clients’ full recruiting problems. Not just assisting with a few searches here and there.
  2. We don’t lose relevance when one area stops hiring. Can’t tell you how many clients we “lost” in the tech-only days because they stopped hiring devs. A year goes by and the decision dynamics changed. There’s always something we can help with now.
  3. When the macro environment shifts (one sector cools and another stays hot) we can move resources to accommodate.

👉Diversified by clients and industries: Don’t go all-in one sector.

Over a long enough time frame, every sector crashes. The dotcoms in 2001. The credit and real estate markets (and eventually a lot of things) in 2008. Dare I say high tech and crypto now.

Two types of companies go all-in on one sector:

  1. Those that haven’t grown enough to scale beyond it.
  2. Those who are absolutely out of their minds.

We have VC-funded tech clients. B2C clients. Tech consulting clients. B2B SaaS. Fortune 500’s. Non-profits. Financial & fintech. Manufacturing. Real estate. CPG. Health care.

Working in a wide variety of industries makes you a better, more knowledgeable recruiter.

More importantly: it takes the sting out when one of those industries takes a dump.

👉Diversified by type of offerings: Lots of people hate paying per-hire fees.

Stop me if you heard this one: “we don’t work with recruiters because we hate paying those fees.”

Maybe throw in the word ‘expensive’. Once that’s dropped, you know they’re not buyers.

But why? All hiring is expensive. Building your own TA team and the spend that goes with it ain’t free.

For a lot of companies, it’s not the cost. It’s the model. Per hire fees stick out on a budget like a sore thumb.

Our OnDemand recruiting offering flipped the script. Flat rate, dedicated resources, all you can hire. Companies that shot us down became some of our biggest clients.

Turns out just listening to the market and not doing what every competitor does opens up a world of possibilities.

That’s also why we acquired Rainmakers and Sourcewell. Excellent recruitment tech orgs that allow us to offer next gen solutions. Not just hammered square pegs into round roles.

No one knows what this year will hold. But this is our plan and we’re sticking to it.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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