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Management Tips

How to Attract Top Talent in a Down Market

Get Ahead of Job Seekers’  Hottest Concern: Job Security

A lot has changed across the job and labor markets since 2020, and a very major shift is happening at this very moment. Despite recent hiring surges, the nation is preparing for the possibility of another economic recession ーor at minimum a downturnー and headcount is now being reassessed in many businesses. Layoffs, offer rescinds and hiring freezes are making headlines daily, and job seekers previously in the power-seat are using greater caution when considering new employment opportunities. In early 2022, skilled job seekers were in complete control and had greater leveraging power to earn higher salaries than ever at great companies. Simultaneously, they were negotiating lifestyle preferences they could only have dreamed about in 2020 like working from home and flexible hours. Today however, it’s a completely different market. 

“Power is shifting back to the employer, and top talent is more likely to push pause on their job search. How can you manage and secure top talent if you’re actively hiring? Speak directly to their greatest concerns, and give them a reason to feel confident in the job security they could have at your company.” – Moira Dorst, CEO

Are you and your business leadership prepared to talk about this with prospects as early as a first interview? Talent is cutting to the chase and not wasting time on companies that can’t communicate their strength ー especially during an interview.  Our tips below will help you restructure your interview to ensure you’re addressing the top concerns of talent before they even need to ask you. This will not only build trust and respect, but it will instill confidence in your business for prospects, and assure these job candidates that you have nothing to hide. 

Tips to Restructure Your Interviews

Job seekers are sharpening their focus on more than simply securing the dream package, but securing longevity. The great resignation and subsequent reshuffle are coming to a close. Bouncing around has lost its luster now that ー despite record volume of job openings ー the market is shifting back to being an employer-driven market again amidst financial concerns for the economy. Let’s back up for a quick moment… if you’re building your Team and you’re not prepared to responsibly weather a possible recession, you might want to reconsider your hiring plans altogether. Otherwise, keep reading! 

1.) Control the Flow Instead of waiting until the end of an interview conversation to see if candidates ask you about your company’s financial health and downturn plans, we recommend leading with it. Getting in front of talent’s greatest concern off the bat will help build trust, comfort, and lead to an informed discussion of your business. Lead with transparency. Your top priority as a leader responsible for hiring must be to communicate the strength of your business with candidates. It’s also your responsibility  to inform everyone conducting an interview in order to prove this to candidates. Let’s face it, whether you’re watching, reading or listening to the news ー even scrolling socials ー we’ve all been hearing about companies issuing layoffs and hiring freezes. Seize the opportunity to get ahead of this key concern. 

2.) Prepare to Talk About 2020 What happened in 2020 unfortunately didn’t stay in 2020; It hasn’t been forgotten. Our direct-hire recruiters have heard many stories of layoffs and business closures over the past few years and recommend you are also prepared to discuss how you handled pandemic hiring. They’ve also heard incredible stories of resilience. While many companies are back on track to scale, it’s harder to know which will make it through the fall and winter before a hiring freeze or another round of layoffs comes through. “Candidates are interested in knowing how your business weathered the pandemic, especially back in 2020. Did you need to reduce headcount substantially and reevaluate? Did you miraculously retain your entire Team thanks to smart financial planning? There is no wrong answer here, but being up front about your course and how you’re mitigating risk todayーespecially if you’re actively hiring ー will alleviate concern.” says Alexandra Kaplan, an Account Executive on our Direct Hire Team. 

3.) Synch Your Team’s Company Narrative Every brand has a story to tell, and every business’ purpose should be clear. The story of your brand is more important than ever. Consider the following questions: What’s your origin story? What is interesting about your CEO or  founder(s)? What are your mission and values? How are they being lived out? Has this been communicated to your entire Team? “A surefire giveaway that your purported mission and values aren’t being lived out is if they’re never mentioned in an interview, or are untraceable online. Not every person or brand is a born storyteller, and that’s okay. Consider training your team up on your brand values and give them access to support from your marketing/comms teams if needed. This investment in how your team communicates will pay dividends in a fiercely competitive market for top talent.” says Serena Bartolucci Rubino, Clarity’s Director of Communications.

We’d love to hear how hiring is going for you. Email Serena to share your stories or insights: and you could be featured on the Watercooler.

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