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Repurposing Recruiting and Sourcing During a Downturn

Stacy Chapman
April 8, 2020

Tough times create all kinds of pain and all kinds of opportunities. In recruiting teams, some are under whole new volume pressures (think logistics, critical health care, medical device manufacturing), some are opportunistically hunting top talent from competitors, some have seen an almost total loss of req’s to go with the global job losses and economic downturn and change fears, and most are somewhere in between.  Many teams facing a downturn are trying to repurpose their recruiting and sourcing teams rather than furlough them or worse.   

Here are some ways we’re hearing teams are repurposing: 

  • Focus on critical and pivotal roles, and strategic capabilities:  Most employers, regardless of the impact of the pandemic, are still hiring for at least some roles, the focus will be on those that are critical or pivotal to the survival and/or future of the business.  Those definition might well need to be changed now that the pandemic opens minds and changes ideas about exactly what critical is (the definition of “essential” certainly is).
  • Relationships with furloughed teams:  Andrew and Jason over at the Recruiting Technology Podcast wisely suggested that sourcers are perfect for maintaining relationships with the important talent pool that is furloughed workers.  Sourcers are great at defining and managing specific talent pools, and of course at effective communications and building relationships over time, even with when the timeline isn’t specific. 
  • Data Cleansing and System Optimization:  This should be near the top of your list.  Your systems didn’t help you adapt instantly to this, they don’t support automation, they aren’t integrated well enough and you’ve got data that’s, well, less than optimum at best.  That’s not the best way to come out the end of this in tip top condition, and it’s letting you down for AI, machine learning and analytics, all of which will be increasingly important in your future.  
  • Build and Clean Talent Pools and Pipelines:  Time to get your data updated, and refine your talent pipeline definitions (and contents!) into perfectly groomed datasets.  That way you’ll be ahead of the game when things pick up again. 
  • Customer service:  A lot of companies struggling to meet call center demands could do well to leverage underutilized recruiters.  Need skills to handle tough conversations, work well under pressure and cope with emotional situations, even while working remotely?  Recruiters!  Yes, they are overskilled, but right now higher than usual skill levels is what a lot of customer care centers need. 
  • Wider Succession Planning:  John Sumser suggested that this pandemic shock will also see companies looking differently at succession planning, as they understand that more and wider risks could impact them…and that there are skills and roles they maybe didn’t think about needing succession planning in the past.  Recruiters and sourcers are perfect for building talent pools for any skill, at any size.
  • Prepare for the eventual uptick:  I mentioned this a few times above, but it’s real.  We old folks know that there will be an end to this (although not necessarily a return to the same!), and really smart companies are thinking about that already.  Get recruiters brainstorming and planning soon. 
  • Loans to others: In recruiting groups on Facebook, people are talking about companies loaning recruiters to other companies for short stints, so in the short term the recruiter works for a growing company, but in the longer term returns to the original…but I’m only hearing anecdotes, not seeing any actual cases.  Have you heard of any? 

Even with excellent repurposing, there is already a lot of pain in the recruiting industry.  We’re seeing people band together with all sorts of ideas to help with that, inside their own organizations and beyond.  Drafted have launched a platform to help people who have been laid offindustry groups on social media are helping as they can, and the community is helping out.  But this pandemic is no small deal.  Recruiters are tough, resilient types, and they are whipsawed hard by economic change, on the upward direction as well as the down – what ways are you seeing them adapt and survive?

Get in touch to know how SwoopTalent can help your recruitment teams in these tough times.

Photo by Rick Mason on Unsplash 

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