Between the aftershocks of the pandemic, inflation, and supply-chain issues, it’s becoming increasingly clear to experts and common Americans alike that a recession is coming.  

Giacomo Santangelo from Monster says that business owners will need to find ways to cut costs and be more efficient to survive this upcoming recession- and hiring is no exception.

The most common way that businesses ride out a recession is by laying off workers or stopping the hiring process altogether. But in a world where talent is already scarce, and job seekers are more selective than ever when it comes to choosing a job, is it really a good idea to lay off workers or halt the hiring process?

Using our own expertise and 67+ years of experience along with insights from Monster and Enrollme, we’ve compiled an extensive list on what you can do during a recession instead of slashing your recruitment budget or conducting mass layoffs. 

Prioritize positions 

When looking at your entire workforce amidst preparations for a potential recession, it’s important to be purposeful about prioritizing your open roles. Enrollme advises employers to ask the following questions before diving into the hiring process: what positions impact your company’s revenue the most? Which vacancies do you need to fill as soon as possible?  

1 yellow highlighted chair flanked by 2 blue chairsThe answers to these two questions will help you focus on what’s important to your company, instead of panicking and trying to hire or layoff as many employees as possible. Take those questions further by examining not just the impact of the position on the bottom line, but also ask yourself which roles are highly visible across the company, which roles affect your culture, and even if the role will create efficiencies or have a ripple effect on making other employees happier or more productive.

Now that you’ve got your most important positions squared away, look at your least important openings. A good option for these positions is temporary or contract work to help you get through the recession.  

Fix limiting job descriptions

Take a second look at your job descriptions. There may be some requirements or wording that are limiting your overall candidate pool and even deterring top talent from finding or applying for your open positions.

Start with the first thing that people are using to find new employment: the job title. Make sure the title is not only accurate and reflective of the position, but that it also reflects the broader market.  

After the job title, review the descriptions themselves. Be critical and challenge yourself on experience vs degrees, the level of experience required for the position, and even the wording you’re using throughout the posting. Leverage an internal committee or ERG to review your job description language from a DEI perspective to ensure you’re not excluding potential populations.

Many companies often overlook or omit salary and benefits from their job descriptions. As more and more states move towards codifying salary/pay rate transparency requirements, many job seekers are expecting to understand pay before even applying. And while many employers will list “benefits available” or even a brief list, the job description is the first place you can call out any that stands out from your competition, such as paid parental leave upon hire, or if your 401k match is higher than most. 

The job description is often the first impression a job seeker has with your company: use the opportunity to both inform and entice and watch the resumes roll in.

Switch to remote work

Yes, we know you’ve heard this a thousand times before. And yes, it’s still a sensitive and evolving subject. But if you can, consider offering flexible work options. The fact remains is that remote and hybrid job postings can generate 7 times more applications than strictly in-person opportunities.

Going remote can help with recruiting. Your competitors have likely raised wages, beefed up their benefits, and added new perks. If you can’t keep up, making your open positions remote may be the answer. Recruiting remote workers opens you up to cheaper job markets. Imagine having access to a national hiring pool! Many job seekers see remote work as a top priority while hunting. In many cases, this flexibility can be prioritized over pay.

Monster reports that companies in finance and technology especially have proven that they can do remote work and do it well. In fact, going remote can help you cut costs in areas that you probably haven’t thought of before. Think about it: you can reduce office footprint or locations, reduce utility costs, save on furniture expenses, and more. Going remote can open many ways to cut costs. Don’t take it for granted!

Hire part-time contract workers

During a recession, many job seekers are looking for “side gigs” that will help them make extra cash on the side. In fact, Monster reports that 85% of job seekers have already or plan to increase the amount of short-term work that they do in the coming years.  

Temporary work is a great resource for both candidates and employers during times like these. While the process may seem daunting at first, staffing agencies are here to help bridge the gap. With the help of a staffing company, hiring these temporary or seasonal workers will be easier, cheaper, and less stressful than finding full-time, permanent employees. You can also leverage existing partnerships and integrations: the biggest firms have databases with millions of job seekers and can promote your open positions across a variety of job boards.

The best part is that if you find that your temporary employees are a good long-term fit, you can hire them full-time right away! (You can learn more about the benefits of contingent labor during recessions by reading our blog).

Be open-minded

The pandemic has changed the way that our society looks at work forever. Job seekers just aren’t looking for the same things that they were before. Now employers must adjust to keep up.

Leverage insight from your existing workforce: ask your current employees what drew them to your company, why they stay, and if there are any benefits or offerings that would make them less likely to consider leaving.

Then look at your audience: what are your candidates looking for? Who are you targeting? As we see so often in the news, generational differences have a significant impact on what matters throughout the hiring process. Think beyond the paycheck. Many job seekers nowadays are looking for schedule flexibility, a healthy work-life balance, mental health support, DEI initiatives, and remote work. How can you provide those things?

Enrollme says that this step can become crucial in the interview process. Ask your candidates why they left their last jobs. Understanding where they are coming from will help you tailor your recruitment efforts to them- and all you have to do is ask and listen!

Think about quality

Enrollme says that hiring one strong worker can bring in more revenue than hiring several unqualified ones. When shifting through your resumes, don’t discount certain candidates just because they seem overqualified. You need talent like that!

There are some great job seekers out there who would fit your team extremely well, and sometimes those individuals don’t check every single box from the job description. Looking for someone who has the exact degree, years of experience, or training you want will limit your search. Skills can always be learned, but having a good personality isn’t something you can find in every candidate.

The right match

At the end of the day, ensuring candidate-company fit is even more crucial when hiring during a recession. In a time where filling vacancies isn’t easy, it’s so important that your candidates understand the job requirements, agree with your company’s vision, and have aligning values. Otherwise, they will be more likely to leave- leaving you with wasted time, money and resources. 

Recessions are never easy. Job seekers are anxious to secure solid employment, and employers struggle to find the talent they need to run their business. Thankfully, with these tips in mind- and resources like staffing agencies, remote work, and on-the-job training at your disposal- you're bound to prosper during this confusing time.

Nervous about finding candidates during a recession? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Go to to learn how you can find the right talent, right now.