The Recipe for Smart Hiring in an Uneasy Economy


There is little doubt that the current economic state is unsettling for businesses.

Imagine putting these contributing ingredients into a blender: a prolonged pandemic, high inflation, global energy supply shortages, continued supply-chain issues, and the lingering effects of the “Great Resignation.” This toxic smoothie could tempt many leaders to lose their appetite for growth and forward-thinking hiring strategies.

In August 2022, Bloomberg published the results of a Fiverr survey that explored how companies are responding to current economic conditions:

  • More than 75% of business leaders are more likely to hire freelancers vs. full-time employees while economic conditions remain uncertain
  • 85% of U.S. companies plan to implement a hiring freeze during the current downturn
  • 78% of U.S. companies plan to lay workers off

But maybe these statistics aren’t the whole story. The Great Reshuffle is a term that LinkedIn recently described as “a moment in the talent market when everyone is rethinking everything.” As with any major disruption to business as usual, there is an opportunity to adjust our recipe for success.


Hungry for Options?

When the economy feels uncertain, thinking about hiring might seem counterintuitive. But it’s actually the ideal time for businesses to re-examine their hiring strategies and recruiting approaches. Knowing your options can help you weather the storm while positioning your company for what’s next.

If you think a hiring freeze is a quick fix, think again. During the 2008 Great Recession, there was a hiring freeze that contributed to a loss of over 8.7 million jobs in the U.S., and it took nearly 5 years to get those jobs back.

There’s nothing like a hiring freeze (or rumors of layoffs) to dampen the workplace mood and raise the collective anxiety level of your organization, as well as its partners and customers. Yet, hiring freezes often seem like the only solution for businesses starting to feel the pressure of stagflation. There is a shift from hiring to employee engagement and retention of current employees.

As an alternative, consider proactively assessing the status of your company and then building a recruiting plan to fit your needs. You can also implement strategies to help manage the recruitment process during an economic downturn.

According to Vervoe, a skills-testing platform company, here are some steps you can take to improve recruiting during a recession:

  • Conduct a skills gap analysis (skills your workforce needs but doesn’t necessarily have yet)
  • Check-in with passive candidates who may be ready for a change
  • Create a task force to target a sector of the workforce
  • Recruit remote workers who typically cost less to hire and bring diverse skills
  • Develop in-house talent since training is often more affordable than hiring

Below are additional tips, curated from Enrollme and a variety of other sources, to help you brainstorm solutions:

  • Prioritize: What marketing positions can your company not afford to leave vacant? Focus on filling the most critical roles, and consider temporary staff or independent contractors to supplement as needed. Hint: If you need help in this area, Marcomm offers four service models to help companies fill marketing gaps: Contract Staffing, Fractional Marketing Team, Projects, and Hiring Solutions!
  • Embrace Workplace Flexibility and Wellbeing: If you haven’t already done so, get used to hybrid and remote work environments. Today’s candidates are looking for jobs with a more flexible workspace and an improved work-life balance:

“Work-life balance and wellbeing have also increased in importance notably since 2015, with 53% of employees citing them as ‘very important’ compared with 61% of today's workforce.”

  • Learn What Motivates Millennials: It is estimated that millennials will represent 75% of the workforce by 2025. Discovering what matters to this generation is a must for any employer. How you attract these candidates—as well as how you manage, motivate and retain them as employees—may require a new approach.
  • Make a Move: According to Lever, a company that provides applicant tracking software, “the need to move top talent through your hiring pipeline more quickly and efficiently will be the key to recruiting success in 2022.” To help you do that, utilize the Hoodo recruiting tool, which connects prospective candidates to compatible jobs quickly and without bias. And once you’ve found the right candidate, don’t delay. When you move forward with urgency, it communicates to the candidate that you value them and are committed to getting them on your team.
  • Be Your Own Brand Ambassador: Candidates want to know why your organization is different, and how you are a good fit for them as an employer. What makes your culture unique? What do you value? How are your products or services making a difference in the world? In uncertain economic times, people need to feel confident that their next career move is with an employer they can trust.

The Secret Sauce

Yes, hiring norms may be shifting. But organizations that are willing to regroup and explore new recipes for finding and retaining talent are up to the challenge.

Looking for options to fill your marketing gaps? Contact Marcomm today to learn more about our Contract Staffing, Fractional Marketing Team, Projects, or Hiring Solutions.