Now Is Not the Time to Lay Off Your Recruiters

Posted by Ashley Jones

If you’ve been keeping up with the headlines, you’ve seen the wave of layoffs occurring in the face of a looming recession. When hiring slows, it may be tempting to look at your recruitment department as an easy place to cut personnel for cost savings. However, laying off your recruiters is not a wise business decision in the long-term scheme of things.

Find out why you’ll be at a disadvantage if you cut your talent acquisition team, and consider other uses for their skills during the downturn, such as supporting proposals, business development, and more.

Why Trimming Your TA Team Spells Trouble

Hiring and retaining top talent is key to meeting business goals. And in the cleared space it is particularly important to be able to secure talent in order to staff contracts and continually go after new business. Your talent acquisition team is the linchpin that makes it all possible.

As Kara Yarnot, Vice President of Strategic Consulting Services at HireClix, stated in a recent LinkedIn post, “The first interaction most candidates have with your brand is through a recruiter. If you reduce or eliminate your recruiters now, when your hiring pace increases (and it will), you will either have overworked or new recruiters who aren’t yet able to represent your brand authentically. Candidates will be attracted to those companies who are able to make a connection with them early.”

Organizational culture is important to candidates, and it can make or break an offer being accepted, especially when the market is in the candidate’s favor. Your recruiters’ familiarity with your culture and how to sell it to candidates is crucial. Additionally, each of your recruiters have a network of cleared talent at their disposal—this is not something to take lightly, as candidate relationships take time to secure and develop in the cleared community.

“Given the extreme challenges that our clients find in the security cleared space, now is NOT the time to lay off recruiters, but rather to have the recruiters build their pipelines and relationships with those difficult to land candidates,” urges John Nixon, COO at ClearedJobs.Net. “Because when the cleared talent hiring resumes at a fever pitched pace the best prepared recruiters will be far ahead of their competition to bring in the top talent.”

“Recruiting in the cleared space is extremely competitive and very relationship based,” adds Kara Yarnot. “Great cleared recruiters have a ready-made pipeline of candidates that trust them personally. When you let those recruiters go, the pipeline goes with them.”

Your recruiters’ understanding of your contracts, clients, budget cycles and proposal timelines require significant knowledge and deep relationships to stay ahead of the game. Their experience within your organization is vital to how well they are able to get the job done. You can’t start from scratch with a new recruiting team when hiring picks up down the road and expect to resume where things left off without running into significant roadblocks to your TA efforts.

How to Leverage Recruiters When Recruitment Slows

When hiring goes on hold, how can you make the most of talent acquisition personnel? Recruiters have a great set of transferable skills ready to help your organization – even in areas outside of the hiring process. Consider using your recruiters’ expertise for business development, HR and retention efforts, and TA process optimization when recruitment is slow.

Engage Recruiters in Proposal and Business Capture

Getting your recruiters involved in business development is a natural fit, as both recruiting and BD involve relationship building, employer branding, and gathering community intel.

Get your recruiters and proposal team together to help build out the most competitive and realistic proposals, looking at the cost competitiveness of talent. Your recruiting team has relevant knowledge to share gleaned from interviewing candidates. They can help with pricing, as they know what the market can bear in terms of salaries.

Engaging your recruiting department early in the proposal process and sharing details spanning key personnel, types of candidates, timeframes and incumbents also helps them to prepare recruiting for the RFP. This allows them to start cultivating the incumbents, which is ideal since it takes time to build and cement relationships with candidates. Explaining what the contract entails also helps recruiters to speak knowledgeably with incumbents about the work.

While a slowdown in hiring is a great time to start this kind of collaboration if you haven’t already, be sure to keep proposal managers and recruiters in close contact when hiring picks up again. Ideally, your recruiters should be well versed on the proposal team’s timelines so that they can find candidates in an adequate timeframe. And on the flipside, recruiters can continue to share timely market information gathered from candidates with the proposal team to keep them informed.

Promote Engagement and Retention

Another area recruiters can spend additional time is in HR activities that promote employee satisfaction and retention. They spent precious time and resources securing your current workforce, so take the time now to reach back out and ensure they are likely to stay.

One way to do this is to have conversations with your current employees about their career development and trajectory within the company. Are they happy with the scope of their current role? If not, are there other areas within your organization they can move to so that you retain that top talent?

Aside from career mapping, your recruiters can also work towards developing various focus groups to improve engagement and retention. In addition to focus groups related to veterans or diversity, you might also consider a focus group to ensure you’re providing the type of benefits that truly matter to your employees.

Optimize TA Processes and Strengthen Relationships

You can also have your recruiters make the most of the slowdown by finding ways to optimize the recruitment process. Discuss your interview process with recent hires and hiring managers to find out what can be improved on both the candidate and employer side of the process. Think about how you can optimize now to make hiring run more smoothly down the road.

Kara Yarnot suggests also using this time to build out your content library. “Tap your recruiters to build candidate personas, identify messages that matter, and create content that will attract top candidates,” says Kara. “Get all of your content and assets in place now. Build and test your engagement strategies now so you can implement them at scale when your hiring needs escalate.”

And finally, use this time to strengthen relationships, both internally and with customers. Meet with the clients that you support to determine their culture needs and anything else that could improve how you find the “right” candidate for them. Find out who on their team works out really well and what is it about them that you can try to replicate in future candidates.

We all have tasks that we should or would like to get to if we only had the time. Look at the glass as half full and commit to making the most of your talent acquisition team in times of hiring downturns. When things return to full speed ahead, you’ll be thankful to have your recruiting abilities fully intact.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 5:14 pm

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