Why recruiting is a particularly good move in times of crisis

Why recruiting is a particularly good move in times of crisis

Shortened working time, job cuts, orders drying up – at first glance, it may seem like a crazy idea to start looking for new staff during a time of crisis. Take a closer look, however, and you will see that’s exactly when recruiting makes sense. HR staff who sit on their hands now to wait it out will be playing catch-up once the economy gets going again.

Not all crises are equal. It is not always external influences such as the coronavirus pandemic that bring companies to a tipping point. Low product quality, corporate decisions that played out wrong or unmotivated staff can have a massive impact on brands and spell disaster for companies. Take Nokia, for example. This Finnish company played a huge part in shaping the early years of the cell phone market, but then missed the smartphone boat and is only a bit player today. The collapse of the Schlecker chain of drugstores was also solely due to poor management decisions. There are therefore company crises where it makes absolutely no sense to hire new staff.

Thinking ahead in times of crisis

There are other types of crisis, though. Think about the global financial crisis of 2008, for instance, or the current COVID pandemic. Crises of this kind have one common factor – they affect the entire economy rather than a single company, and they frequently cause the situation on the labor market to shift in favor of employers. Essentially, this means companies cut their workforces or even shut down entirely, and lots of workers start looking for a new job. However, anyone who thinks they can simply cherry-pick the best from a huge crowd of applicants would be wrong. The shortage of skilled workers is not going away. In fact, in many fields – such as IT and health care – it is continuing to worsen. It is all the more important, then, for HR managers to not slow down their recruiting activities now, but rather expand them in targeted ways, paying particular attention to the following aspects:


  • Identify strategic positions
    In view of the shortage of resources and limited recruiting measures, it is vital in times of crisis to first of all ensure that strategically important positions are filled. But what are they? To find this out, HR needs must be prioritized. On the one hand, this requires seamless collaboration between managers and the HR department – and this has to be on an equal footing. On the other, high-performance analysis tools such as SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Management make ranking easier. In general, it can be said that the more important a position is for a company’s success, the more vital it is to find an appropriate person to fill it.
  • Keep talking
    It usually takes weeks or months to fill a new position. It is all the more important, then, that HR managers establish contact with interested candidates at an early stage and maintain it in the long term. The key is to think ahead. Keeping your eyes open at this stage, approaching suitable applicants in a targeted manner, having exploratory discussions with them and actively holding their interest will have promising staff on the horizon when push comes to shove. Software solutions such as SAP SuccessFactors make it possible to automate active sourcing and reduce administrative outlay considerably. This enables recruiters to focus completely on selecting the most suitable candidate.
  • Driving forward employer branding
    There are currently two key benefits to impressive employer branding. First, it helps with getting into contact with interested candidates, and second, it also helps establish loyalty among the existing workforce. After all, inward brand impact is just as important as outward brand marketing. Particularly in times of crisis, providing your own staff with confidence and prospects is ultimately of huge importance, as it will nip any external headhunting attempts in the bud. This job also falls under the responsibilities of HR.