Sailing Through Uncertainty: Architecting an Elastic Recruitment Plan

Advice from experts · 6/7/2023 · 1 min read

Sailing Through Uncertainty: Architecting an Elastic Recruitment Plan

The last three years have proven to be a period of remarkable volatility, leaving the tech industry, particularly Silicon Valley, in a state of uncertainty. For those of us in the Talent Acquisition space, it has been an unpredictable rollercoaster ride, from the pandemic-induced layoffs of 2020 to the phenomenon of the "great resignation" we witnessed in 2021-2022, where recruiters transitioned from unemployment to earning 1.5x their previous salaries. In this dynamic landscape, recruiters have become one of the most affected roles during periods of layoffs, and unfortunately the demand has fluctuated dramatically.

So far this year, the job market has already seen 168,000 individuals who have been impacted by layoffs. At RocketPower, our team started experiencing the initial shifts as early as April 2022. The subsequent summer and fall months were challenging, filled with uncertainty. However, we are cautiously observing glimmers of life returning to the tech ecosystem.

Recently, we had a conversation with a client who sought advice on planning their Talent Acquisition (TA) strategy for the next 12-24 months. While the topic of conversation was not new to us, it served as a stark reminder of the burnout experienced by numerous colleagues over the past three years. The client shared her struggle (and excitement) of hiring and building her TA team in 2021-2022, only to face painful layoffs last December of ‘22, and now being confronted with the need to rehire and scale her team again due to recent hiring forecasts, albeit without sufficient budget. Her exhaustion and frustration were palpable.

As professionals in the recruiting field, we are inherently people-oriented. We genuinely care about the individuals we interview, hire, develop, lead, and promote. Consequently, laying off employees we once invested in can be an incredibly painful experience; and one this client was looking to avoid moving into the second half of this year.

In light of these challenges, our team at RocketPower has identified six measurable focus areas that our clients are currently evaluating and implementing plans, as they prepare for what is anticipated to be a busy Q4 and Q1 of 2024.

  1. Assess + Capacity Plan: Begin by assessing your current operating rhythm and capacity of your team. Understanding the existing capabilities and limitations of your current team is essential for adapting to rapidly changing circumstances and identifying areas where you may need to hire or outsource as your forecast evolves. Using a capacity planning calculator, re-evaluating and firmly setting KPIs for your team, and evaluating your tools and resources while business is slow are essential to be able to scale in the future.

  2. Culture Assessment: If your team has experienced layoffs or been impacted by the fluctuating tech economy, morale and engagement have undoubtedly been impacted. Unfortunately “survivors guilt”, fear and uncertainty are rampant in the TA space currently. This is a great time to reinvest and refocus on your team's culture, what makes your mission special and support your people. Implementing Employee Resource Groups (ERGS) and other peer led communities to reinforce culture and lift team morale organically is a great way to combat this as a collective unit and help your people manage through times of uncertainty.

  3. Culture, Training & Development: Invest in the upskilling of your internal teams. Prioritizing training in areas such as Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB), stakeholder management, and emerging technologies like ChatGPT/Generative AI is essential! Equipping your team with new knowledge and expertise will enhance their ability to navigate diverse challenges effectively, increases productivity, and positively impacts morale and retention - essential during this economically challenging time.

  4. Explore Global Hiring Options: With tightened budgets, remote teams, and the availability of top talent globally, many organizations are considering scaling their teams abroad. Tapping into a global network at a lower cost can be incredibly impactful for TA teams. It is crucial to establish key operating rhythms to support seamless collaboration and effective management across geographical boundaries.

  5. Measure Quality and Cost per Hire: Cost per hire, recruiter cost ratio, and quality of hire are cornerstone metrics for recruiting effectiveness and critical data to share with Leadership. Taking the time now to implement robust metrics to assess the quality and cost of each hire will enable you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your recruiting strategies for efficiency and effectiveness and influence stakeholders.

  6. Evaluate Recruiting Partners: Now is a great time to ensure you have the right recruiting partner to outsource any gaps in your current team. Assess their strengths, weaknesses, and ability to meet your evolving needs. Consider 1-2 top recruiting firms that are inherently bespoke and flexible, relationship driven, transparent, easily able to ramp up/down, and partner with you to ensure the service is fitting the business demands. Depending on your business needs, abilities to source and recruit globally, existing executive networks, direct hire capabilities, or source/screen functionalities may all be solutions needed down the line. Having a partner who understands your company before things get busy is essential.

While challenges persist, the future holds promise. We are hopefully gradually moving towards a more stable and prosperous period in the job market. By developing an elastic recruiting plan that can adapt to change, we can navigate through the uncertainties with precision and resilience. As recruiters, we understand the human impact of these turbulent times. Let us embrace the opportunity to build stronger, more resilient teams, fostering environments where individuals can thrive and organizations can succeed.