Recruiting During a Slowdown

We may not be actively hiring, but we can still be planning who to hire for when the time comes.

Recruiting During a Slowdown

A slow patch for business can be scary for recruiters. Not only is hiring often frozen until the market recovers, but the threat of layoffs is very real. Rather than sit back and stress that there are no requisitions to fill however, the best recruiters will get to work planning with their stakeholders to pipeline for when things inevitably turn around.

Let's look at some of the things recruiters can do during a slowdown.

Demonstrate Your Value

This goes for all times, not just tough times. The most important thing a recruiter should be doing is showing real value to the business. The best recruiters know that what they do for a living is of extremely high strategic value to the company and they consistently add value by supporting business leaders on headcount planning, sourcing strategy and pipelining.

The best of the best don't sit around and wait for instructions - they get on with things proactively because the business needs them.

Plan for Growth

Slow downs and hiring freezes come and they go. Of course some companies will be permanently scarred and some jobs will be lost, but most companies will rebound quickly when the climate inevitably changes. Recruiters need to work with their stakeholders to plan for these times, and stakeholders need to enable the recruiters by supporting them on collaboration and engagement.

Prepare your IP

The best recruiters will have gathered a formidable amount of talent intelligence over their time in the job, building talent maps that are equally valuable in good or bad times. Most will have a certain amount of IP, but it will be fragmented and scattered across systems or PC's, and if recruiters have no visibility into their talent market because they have no talent maps, they need to take action immediately.

It is the responsibility of talent acquisition leaders to enable their team's success on the IP front. At some point this will be an industry standard, so becoming an expert early on only has merits.

Talent Mapping

Good intelligence on the candidate market that can not only guide HR and hiring managers on decision making around hiring and L&D, but also deliver for the business when the time comes. The value of a talent map is to know how we stack up when compared to our peers and competitors in terms of skills, diversity and talent. In filling any gaps, not only do we need to know exactly who the top people are in every key business role, but who among our team can help us to hire them. Again, it's hard to understate how important the IP is.

Engaging the Talent Map

If the recruiter has a talent map that shows precisely who the top-20 sales people are in the market, or who the top-20 engineers are, for example, this is powerful value for the business. Some of this top talent will be affected by the downturn and either need a new home or be on the look out for a more stable environment. If you can meet the needs of these candidates, then you need to be engaging with them before they make any decisions.


Rather than go it alone, recruiters need to know who on the team they can depend upon to engage top talent. If talent mapping helps recruiters know who on the team can help them engage a top prospect then we are in a stronger position to collaborate on that engagement, This increases our chances to provide the candidate the information they require to join our mission.

Hiring Managers

When times change the race for talent will be intense! Hiring managers should be planning for the turn around by providing executive sponsorship to the activities of the recruiters. Confident recruiters need to have these conversations with stakeholders and what better way to demonstrate your value than by giving them a road map to success!

The best talent acquisition teams will be working on all of this before any dust settles. Sure, when we hear of scary global headcount reduction we naturally pull our head below the parapet, but the best of the best will quickly respond by doing what is needed of them. They will keep on keeping on - doing the right things by the business. Doing so greatly increases their positive impact on the business and their value for when things inevitably turn around.


Referable AI is the talent mapping automation that makes collaboration easy and enables recruiters to do the things highlighted in this post. Now is the perfect opportunity for recruiters to demonstrate their value to the business and Referable is here to help!

Talk to us today if you want to learn more about how Referable AI can deliver your talent map.


[UPDATE: The mention of "threat of layoffs" is now no longer a threat. This is very real.]