August 8, 2023

4 ways to survive a turbulent recruiting market


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

This won’t be the last time that the internal recruitment market takes a dump. Agency too.

A lot of people are out of a job and struggling right now. I’m not attaching any blame. But if we don’t learn from how this happened, and what we could have changed, we’re likely to end up in the same spot again.

Recruiting needs one of two things to justify its existence: growth or turnover. A well run company can make a profit and pay their employees with zero headcount growth or churn. But they don’t need a recruiter.

And that’s why it’s more volatile than any other skill set. Always will be.

So what can you do?

The obvious answer is work in a recession-proof industry. But not everyone enjoys recruiting in food manufacturing, health care, logistics, skilled trades, or the federal government (gross.)

I have 4 recommendations. Do with them what you will:

1. Be a generalist, but become the best at the hardest stuff.

This may sound contradictory, but it’s not. People who can recruit on damn near everything are a hell of a lot more valuable when it’s cut time than people who struggle outside of their main area. People who are the go-to subject matter experts on the most critical areas to a business are indispensable too.

You can absolutely be good at everything and great at the core capabilities of your org.

2. Out-network everyone.

It’s easy to fall into the inbound (collecting job ad replies) and outbound (pounding LinkedIn Recruiter DMs) traps. Depending on your role, you might ‘get it done’ doing only these things.

But creating a personal referral network – whether it’s networking groups, attending events, or creating content  – adds so much more value. People at your company will notice you have another level that most don’t.

And if things don’t go your way and you get cut, you already have a head start on your next gig.

3. Contribute to the sales effort.

People who drive revenue are invaluable when things take a dip. Perhaps you got into recruiting because you *don’t* like sales.

I hate to break it to you: you’re already doing it. Depending on your recruiting focus, you may already be talking to buyers on a daily basis. Or you may have insights into the market that your sales team doesn’t.

This will depend heavily on the org structure and industry. But there’s always a way to add value when your function, at its core, is talking to new people and getting them interested in your company.

4. Don’t work for idiots.

Not even kidding. Don’t expect dumb people to make smart decisions when it comes to who stays and who goes.

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

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