How to Protect your Corporate Hiring Brand in a Recession

Written by nextpathcp

On October 22, 2020

Written by James Hawley, CEO

In recruiting we see the hiring pendulum swing quickly and that’s especially true in the 2020 downturn.  It was just a few months ago that every headline stated this was the hottest employment market of our lifetime. Then came Covid.

The good news is there are still areas of hiring going on. 

The reality though is there have been many areas hit really hard and one opening will get a firehose of resumes when before you’d see a slow drip.

With this flood of candidates, it’s important to keep a long-term view and strategic hiring focus.  Your hiring brand is built during recessions when candidates are looking at your hiring process.  Even if you don’t hire someone their impression can influence your reputation in the market for years to come.  Simply off the experience they received at their greatest time of need.

With this environment shifting to a “buyer’s market” for a lot of roles it’s key to differentiate your company and elevate your brand at a time when candidates are paying attention.

Here are 5 ways to strengthen your hiring brand during a recession:

  1. Focus on communication.  When a candidate is looking for a role it’s stressful and the silence of no response (not even acknowledgment of resume received) can be very frustrating.  We’ve seen something as simple as an automated email back when someone applies about your process can help.  It’s that first impression that shows you appreciated they took the time to apply to you.
  2. Have someone QB the hiring cycle.  The best companies have a point of contact that manages the steps/stages that allows a candidate to stay informed and engaged. Some companies hand off a candidate from HR to the hiring manager then the manager gets busy which results in days/weeks of silence only to come back to a candidate who’s been turned off by the company. 
  3. Manage expectations at the start.  Often companies make the mistake of never explaining all the steps and timing it takes for them to hire someone.  All processes are different, and candidates often default to thinking the process will be far quicker than most are.  Simply by sharing that there is a call with HR, several calls with the hiring manager and team, then a final video call with the CEO followed by the last step of a personality assessment at the end can provide context for the candidate to understand how they are progressing with what’s next. This can help you because if the candidate is expecting another offer, they can alert you since they know the steps which allow your company to possibly expedite the process to not lose a great hire.  Yes, even in a pandemic company are losing out on their top choice candidates!
  4. Be sure your best salesperson is in your process.  We see all the time a great candidate walks away because they aren’t excited about the company.  You often find that no one in the process really sold the opportunity.  You want to challenge applicants to make sure they fit the bill but never lose sight that you want people to want to work for you.  Even if you don’t choose them perhaps one day you will want them, and an unexcited candidate will skip applying next time they see you’re hiring.  Find your most passionate person that is in a similar role that is relatable and bring them into your process.  Very few companies use this and it’s a missed opportunity to build a great brand in the marketplace.
  5. Close the loop.  Candidates complain constantly about companies ghosting them after interviewing.  Yes, they might get a generic email that tells them the role has been filled. But, candidates that are excited about the company, however, want real communication.  Are they not a fit for the company?  Just for this role?  It’s a missed opportunity for the company to be honest and to keep a candidate engaged for the potential of them fitting another role that opens.  Candidates think “I don’t want to pursue that company again if this is how I’m treated during the courtship what happens when I’m an employee and the honeymoon is over”.  Too many doors get closed that hurts an employer’s hiring brand that a little effort and communication could fix. 

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