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Five Things Recruiters Can Take Away From The Recession

by | Oct 7, 2010 | Recruiter Training, Top Echelon Blog

With every recession, recruiters learn lessons—many of them hard lessons—and this latest recession was no exception.  Top Echelon Network interviewed a number of its recruiters and asked them what they’ve learned as a result of the recession.

1. Staying positive is more important than you realize.

Being positive is more than just a frame of mind.  It also translates into every interaction that you have with candidates and clients and can ultimately affect how successful you are.

“Clients and candidates don’t want to hear how bad things are for you,” said Marc Tappis of Opportunity Search, Inc.  “They don’t want to hear you complaining and whining about how bad the economy is.  The same holds true when talking to other recruiters.  I refuse to let other recruiters bring me down and communicate as little as possible with recuriters that are always negative and complaining. If you have nothing positive to say to candidates, clients, and fellow recruiters, don’t say anything.”

2. There are still companies hiring.

It may not seem like it, but there are companies that are hiring new employees.  Even in the worst of recessions, there are job orders to be had.  However, finding them can often be another matter.

“Even in a downturn, SOMEBODY is hiring people,” said Glenda Smith of Metalworks Network.  “You’re not sure where or who, and it takes some searching and foraging to find out, but there is work out there.  You just have to work harder and be more focused to find it.”

3. Make certain your searches are tied to urgency.

Just because a company gives you a job order doesn’t necessarily mean they plan to fill it soon . . . or at all.  If you think companies engage in unorthodox behavior in good times, they turn it up a notch in a recession.

“During these times many companies, especially large companies, will engage you in searches that go nowhere,” said Alan Carty of  “We’re seeing that much more now than in strong economies.  Job orders go away with no explanation.  I recently made the decision to ask for an engagement fee or retainer, or I let prospect clients know that without this, their searches will not be a priority.”

4. Your process could be much more streamlined than it has been in the past.

During a recession, recruiters often have to work longer and harder for the same results they enjoyed in previous years.  Sometimes, they work longer and harder and still can’t achieve the same results.  It can often be an eye-opening experience.  Not only that, it bodes well for the future for those recruiters who take these lessons to heart.

“I’m working harder and smarter than I’ve ever worked,” said Cheryl Campbell of Career Search Associates.  “If I worked the way I am now five years ago, I could have retired.  Back then, you didn’t have to work as hard as we are now.  I do think, though, that all of us that have survived will make a lot of money when things do turn around.”

5. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

For many of the reasons listed above, things have changed within the recruiting industry during the past 18 to 24 months.  However, some recruiters would contend that recruiting—at its core—has remained the same and probably always will.

“Although how we’re identifying candidates is changing rapidly, moving from job boards to social networking, the mechanism of identifying a candidate, connecting with the candidate, qualifying the candidate, and shepherding them through the process has remained the same,” said Philip Bartfield of Bartfield Search, Inc.

What things have you learned from this latest recession?  Are they the same as the ones listed above, or are they different?  What kind of activity are you seeing in your niche right now?

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