In the world of finance, it's a well-known fact that stocks rise and fall. Markets fluctuate, and economic booms and downturns are a foregone conclusion. The larger the financial bubble, the bigger the burst. The last three recessions, in the United States, occurred less than a decade apart, in 2007, 2000, and 1990. Based on this trend, the United States is overdue for another economic collapse. It's not a matter of if, but when.
As a decision maker, preparing yourself, your talent acquisition and your organization for the impending crash is of utmost importance.
That being said, here are some ways your talent acquisition will change during an economic collapse. Use these to begin preparing as soon as possible.
There will be less competition for talent
During an economic collapse, many companies will elect to reduce their recruitment budgets, reducing the impact they have on the talent market—this is the perfect opportunity for companies that don't have a strong employer brand to swoop in and grab a variety of different candidates. It will be your job market because candidates know that they will have fewer options.
There will be more high-quality candidates in the job market
In general, you will see an influx of candidates in the job market due to layoffs and firings. But you will also see a surge of high-quality candidates that have survived the layoffs, fueled by reduced company loyalty and low morale. As a result of this, they will feel that their job is in jeopardy and will be looking to jump ship—this will be the perfect opportunity for you to swoop in and grab yourself a future star.
Your employee retention will increase
Assuming your company plays its cards right and avoids massive layoffs, your employees will be hesitant to leave. They will feel more secure staying in a role with seniority compared to a new job with little tenure and job security. It will be easier for you to retain top talent, but it will be equally as difficult for you to obtain the top talent working at other firms.
Competitors will hurt their employment brands
Large-scale layoffs and public firings are a PR nightmare, and for a good reason—no one is going to look at a company favorably after they've just fired 200 employees. To that point, the employment branding of your competitors will suffer, giving you a critical advantage in the talent marketplace.
And now....the bad:
Low quality candidates
During times of economic hardship, you will experience a larger volume of job applicants. At first glance, this may seem like a good thing, however, a large percentage of these applicants will be low quality. This increased volume of low-quality applicants means that your team will be overwhelmed and a great deal of bandwidth will be dedicated to eliminating bad candidates. The best course of action is to make sure your selection process is more precise to ensure you don't hire bad candidates.
Earlier, we mentioned that companies conducting wide-scale layoffs would hurt their employer brand, and this can be used to your advantage. However, your company may find itself in a position where layoffs are inevitable. While you can't stop this from happening, you can work with your PR team to minimize its impact on your employer brand. You can accomplish this by making sure you control the narrative and spin it in a positive light. The best option would be to quickly put out a company press release so that you set the tone.
Let's be real, during times of economic hardship, you will have your recruiting budget cut—this is unavoidable, and your department won't be the only one. The important thing is that you minimize the amount of spending that gets slashed from your budget. The best way to do this is to start working on building your case now. Start working with your CFO and various other executives in high positions to showcase the impact your team has on business. Ideally, you'll want to showcase the dollar value of low quality hires and how that impacts the company's bottom line.
Loss of trust
Even if you take all the necessary steps to minimize damage to your employer brand, there will still be a portion of candidates and employees that do not trust you. Their trust has shattered, and although you may have done everything right, there is no changing that. To combat this, you will have to make your website more objective. When talking about your employer brand, you'll have to cite real-life examples, stats, and numbers. Your interview process will need to be a well-oiled machine, and your job offers will have to be strong.
The thought of an economic collapse may fill you with dread, but it doesn't have to be the end of the world. If you take the necessary steps and actions today, your future self will be able to breathe a loud sigh of relief. The sooner you develop a concrete action plan, the more prepared you will be, and your organization will thank you for it.