Don’t Panic: A Guide to Recruiting in a Recession

By March 12, 2020 No Comments
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“Don’t waste a good crisis”

So said economist Shamubeel Eaqub at a breakfast seminar hosted by Trade Me Jobs yesterday morning. In a surprisingly chipper presentation, he told a room full of recruiters and hiring managers that he had muddled his way through three recessions now, and each time he felt more sanguine than the last.

Whilst this is clearly a benefit of getting older and more experienced, it is also sage advice for those of us at the helm of an SME business as it sails towards choppy economic waters.

By this point in time a recession seems like an inevitability. Business confidence in New Zealand was already shaky, coronavirus has been declared a global pandemic, Trump has gleefully exercised his most jingoistic self by banning all travel to the US from Europe, and a stoush between the Saudis and Russians over oil is never likely to end well.

But more tellingly, my commute into Auckland this morning was practically traffic-free!

Opportunity Knocks

So what did Shamubeel mean when he said not to waste a good crisis? Well the simple truth is that, whilst the next 3 – 6 months might be tougher trading conditions than usual, it is also a great opportunity to take advantage of weakened competition. Hiring good talent into your business will be slightly easier this year than usual, but the labour and skills shortages will quickly come back around again, simply because we’re not having enough babies in New Zealand, and as long as NZ First is meddling in an MMP Government immigration is going to be slowed down too.

Being frank, 2020 represents a small window of opportunity to steal good talent from your competitors. Talent that won’t be so easily lured across once we have traded our way back out of this. If you can hire, retain, and afford the salaries of good talent for the next 6 months, then just do it.

To know if you can manage to afford this strategy, you need to:

  • Understand your business, how at risk is your sector?
  • Plan for the recovery and take advantage now
  • Be obsessive about cashflow and your strategic direction
  • Switch on your radar as opportunities will come

At JOYN we provide companies with their own internal recruiting resource on a totally flexible and agile basis. It’s cost-effective and ideally suited to these times, enabling you to focus on your business whilst we focus on getting you top talent without breaking the bank.

Keep focused, be brave, and get your business in tip top shape ready for when things pick up again.

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