Best Time To Hire Is Now: How To Hire During an Economic Downturn

Best Time To Hire Is Now: How To Hire During an Economic Downturn

Only a few years ago, recessions appeared to strike America once every decade. However, only two years after the first lockdowns, the business cycle is already turning at a breakneck speed, and another recession appears to be on its way. If you’re like most people, your recollection of downturns will be tainted by the last two—particularly the Great Recession of 2008, which was the most significant economic event since the Great Depression.

While we can’t predict when the next recession will hit or how severe it will be, we do know that it’s never too early to start preparing.

TechCrunch recently reported 15,000 tech employee layoffs in May 2022. A number of factors have caused a correction among several tech firms that benefited from pandemic-related surges, including rising inflation, economic instability, war, and changing consumer tastes. Meta and Twitter have publicly announced hiring freezes while Snap confirmed this week that it is cutting back on recruitment as it fails to meet revenue targets.

If you are a growing startup with enough cash flow, now might be a great time to hire. Hiring during a recession can help you get great talent with little competition. It can also send a signal to your employees and customers that you are committed to weathering the storm and continuing to invest in your company’s future.

Hiring During a Recession

When the economy slows, some companies pull back on hiring while others see it as an opportunity to get top talent with little competition. If you are considering making any hires during the next few months, here are a few tips.

Why Hire During a Recession?

There are a number of reasons to hire during a recession.

First, the hiring boom and competitive market in 2021 resulted in significant pay raises for employers to compete and hire new talent. Economic downturns have the potential to assist in bringing compensation back towards normal levels.

Second, hiring during a downturn shows that your company is committed to growth and is preparing for the future. This can give you a competitive edge when the economy recovers and businesses start vying for the best employees again.

Finally, by filling vacant positions now, you can avoid the disruptions that come with having too few staff members during an upturn.

Best Time To Hire Is Now: How To Hire During an Economic Downturn

7 Tips On How To Hire During a Recession

Here are a few tips on how to hire during a recession:

Look for people who are already employed

While it may seem counterintuitive, the best place to look for employees during a recession is among those who are already employed. People who are currently employed are more likely to have the skills and experience you need and will be less likely to job hop.

Look for candidates looking for a career change

In addition to looking for people who are already employed, you should also look for candidates who are interested in a career change. Many people use recessions as an opportunity to switch careers, so there will be no shortage of talented candidates looking for a new opportunity.

Look for employees with transferable skills

When evaluating candidates, don’t just focus on their current industry or job title. Instead, look for employees with transferable skills that can be applied to your business. For example, if you’re looking for a salesperson, consider someone with customer service experience.

Be flexible with job requirements

If you’re having trouble filling a position, it may be because you’re being too rigid with your requirements. During a recession, you may need to be open to candidates who don’t have all the qualifications you’re looking for but are willing to learn.

Offer training and development opportunities

One of the best ways to attract top talent during a recession is to offer training and development opportunities. This shows that you’re invested in your employees and their careers, even when times are tough.

Be competitive with wages

In order to attract the best candidates, you may need to be more competitive with wages than you would during a booming economy. However, be sure to do your research so you don’t overspend on salaries and end up having to make cuts later on.

Offer flexible work arrangements

With more people working remotely than ever before, offering flexible work arrangements is a great way to attract top talent. Candidates will appreciate the ability to work from home or have a flexible schedule, especially if they’re juggling childcare or other responsibilities.

Hirefuel is a premier boutique recruiting firm specializing in placing top talent with hyper-growth companies.

Where To Find Top Talent During a Recession?

While the competition for top talent may be less intense during a recession, that doesn’t mean it will be easy to find great candidates. Here are a few tips:

  • Use your existing network of employees, vendors, and customers as a resource. Ask them if they know anyone who might be a good fit for the open position.
  • Get creative with your job postings. In addition to posting on traditional job boards, try using social media or even Craigslist.
  • Join online forums, communities specific to your industry, or even LinkedIn groups. Many professionals are active online and can be a great source of referrals.
  • Attend industry events and meetups. This is a great way to network and get your company name in front of talented individuals who might not otherwise hear about you.

How To Interview Candidates During A Recession?

The key to conducting effective interviews during a recession is to focus on a candidate’s skills and abilities rather than their employment history.

During an economic downturn, it’s not uncommon for candidates to have gaps in their employment history. Instead of focusing on these gaps, try to learn more about what the candidate was doing during that time. Did they volunteer? Take classes? Start a business?

The goal is to get a better understanding of what the candidate has accomplished, regardless of whether or not they were getting paid for it.

Here are 5 interview questions to ask during a recession:

  1. What skills and abilities do you have that would help you excel in this role?
  2. Can you share a time when you had to overcome a difficult challenge?
  3. What did you do during your last job search?
  4. What have you done to improve your skills since your last job?
  5. Tell me about a time you had to make a difficult decision.

Asking questions like these will help you get a better understanding of a candidate’s skills, abilities, and work ethic—all important factors to consider when making hiring decisions during a recession.

In addition to behavioral interview questions, be sure to ask candidates about their future career plans. While some workers may be content with staying in their current role indefinitely, others may have long-term career goals that don’t align with your company’s plans for the next few years.

Asking questions about a candidate’s future career plans will help you determine if they’re likely to stick around during a recession or if they’ll start looking for new opportunities as soon as the economy improves.

Finally, don’t forget to assess a candidate’s “soft skills.” While hard skills are important, soft skills like adaptability, teamwork, and communication are essential during times of change and uncertainty.

The Bottom Line

No matter the circumstances, an economic downturn is a great time to hire top talent. Not only will you have a larger pool of qualified candidates to choose from, but you’ll also be able to hire top talent without having to compete with other employers for their attention.

So, if you’re looking to hire in the coming months, keep these tips in mind. And, if you need help finding top talent, our friends at HIREFUEL Recruiting is here to help.


Our recruiter picks for recruiting top talent during a recession:

Hirefuel is a premier boutique recruiting firm specializing in placing top talent with hyper-growth companies. Their proven track record is a testament to their passion and expertise in recruiting. As an extension of your brand, Hirefuel takes great pride in its relationships, ability to bring a personal touch, unrivaled experience, customization, and “startup speed” to talent acquisition. is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

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