In August 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate sat at 3.7%, reaching pre-pandemic levels. And on the brink of a recession, people are in the market to work for a company that appeals to their every need, not just monetarily. To meet these requirements, organizations must truly captivate candidates.

Laurent Benkemoun, Chief Operating Officer, says an economic downturn is the perfect opportunity for companies to snag talent by deploying the right strategy.

“Economy slowdowns are the ideal periods for employers to reconsider their hiring strategy,” he says. “The past two years were the fastest labor market recovery in history, where nearly all of the 20 million jobs lost in the early weeks of COVID have been recovered. Companies have become knowledgeable in adapting quickly and developing hiring strategies that make them desirable.”

Cassie Pike, Managing Director, Consumer Brands and Business Services, also knows that when slowdowns occur and candidates are in the market, it is prime time for companies to campaign for who they want and show why their offerings stand out amongst the rest.

“It’s important to help candidates understand why you’re hiring and why you’re a safe bet for them when it comes to a job change,” she says. “It’s about more than the money. It’s about the full value proposition, including stability of your organization, growth for the organization, and what it provides for your employees as well as other non-monetary benefits like flexibility.”

Benkemoun says companies should build a multitiered talent attraction strategy to stay competitive and be proactive in the market. These efforts include:

  • redefining your employee value proposition (EVP) and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) approaches
  • reevaluating talent needs
  • automating TA processes like communication, onboarding, advertising, market data, and scheduling
  • redefining expectations of the candidate and employee experience
  • reviewing requirements of RPO services and their staffing/recruiting suppliers

Along with these initiatives, in a candidate-driven market, employers must take additional steps to bring in new talent as well as retain existing employees. Benkemoun says offering remote work remains a critical hiring tactic, one that attracted much talent at the height of COVID-19.

“New approaches have been developed in the past couple of years with technologies like assessing talents’ engagement within an organization, their motivation in day-to-day activities, and their willingness to accept internal mobility or upskilling solutions,” he says. “On top of this, new management systems and collaboration platforms help organizations engage with employees to meet performance targets more effectively and in real-time, while relieving their workload and developing their skills.”

Pike adds that fostering engagement should not be lost in the sea of tried-and-true hiring and retention tactics. TA leaders can bolster engagement and connection through listening sessions like town hall meetings or one-on-ones where employees can safely relay their needs and preferences.

“There’s never been a better time to focus on employee engagement. You don’t just want to keep your employees, you want them to be highly engaged and committed to delivering the results needed to drive your business forward during a time of economic uncertainty,” she says.

With 40% of U.S. employees considering leaving their jobs, according to McKinsey, future-proofing talent attraction processes for years to come will always leave organizations in a winning position.

“The market will shift, it’s just a matter of when. So, it’s critical TA leaders make sure that core processes are well-documented, ensuring the recruiting process continuity can be maintained even if there’s a departure of key employees,” Pike says. “It’s a good time to explore the benefits of a hybrid model where an in-house TA team and an RPO team work together. This approach can dramatically enhance your organization’s ability to flex and scale with the demands of your business, especially when it comes to balancing speed, quality, and cost.”

Zee Johnson of HRO Today contributed to this article.