7 strategies to recruit top job candidates who were laid off, according to a veteran tech recruiter – DAVID RAUDALES

DAVID RAUDALES

Businessman, musician / former Full Stack Developer

DAVID RAUDALES UK

7 strategies to recruit top job candidates who were laid off, according to a veteran tech recruiter

Jessica Hicks said recruiting laid-off talent could be a huge win for companies, but it must be done with care.

Courtesy of Jessica Hicks

Jessica Hicks has worked in corporate recruiting for 10 years.Hicks said it’s easier to recruit for smaller companies when Big Tech companies are doing layoffs.She sets Google alerts, shares layoff lists, and offers special guidance to help laid-off workers.This article is part of “Talent Insider,” a series containing expert advice to help business owners tackle a variety of hiring challenges.

I’ve spent roughly 10 years in corporate recruiting. I’ve recruited talent for FleishmanHillard, Nestlé, Nestlé Purina, Audible (an Amazon company), and Vox Media. Throughout my career, it’s been common for talent-acquisition teams to use layoff news to recruit talent in niche and hard-to-fill areas such as IT, data science, and media.

When I was recruiting tech talent at small and midsize companies, I struggled to compete with the top tech giants. Once those companies went into a layoff season, I was better able to highlight advantages of working with a smaller company. And new hires were able to gain visibility, recognition, career opportunities, and a faster track to leadership by making the switch from Big Tech.

Layoff periods can be a great time to recruit qualified talent that may not have naturally considered your company because of the industry, size, location, etc. But first, it’s important to know how to get ahead of other recruiters who want to engage with the same talent pool.

Here are seven steps I take to target and recruit people who were recently laid off. These actions give me an advantage and help to keep the process fair for all job candidates.

1. Set Google alerts

Recruiters can find affected talent quickly by creating Google alerts targeting layoff news at specific companies. I have alerts set up now to track signs of staff reductions as well.

Have competitors been a part of a merger, acquisition, office closure, or business divestiture? Take time to review business news and then plan to strategically source talent based on the information before layoffs even officially hit the news.

2. Locate and share layoff lists

Of course, it’s an unreasonable expectation to know of every layoff in your space. Human-resources and recruiting teams in your industry may know of displaced workers. Connect with your network regularly, share that you’re actively hiring, and talk openly among your recruiting team.

I’ve used shared lists of employees affected by layoffs and had others reach out to me directly about specific people I should recruit. Most are willing to share names or even make introductions as they want to see their talented former employees land a great role and are eager to partner with recruiters.

Be sure to ask whether candidates know that their name has been shared and the best way to approach them given the sensitivity.

3. Don’t ignore ‘open to work’ posts

During layoff season, your LinkedIn feed may be oversaturated with “open to work” posts. I advise recruiters not to skip over them. Dedicate time to review LinkedIn and identify talent that may not show up in a standard LinkedIn search. Take a moment to engage with the community and share when you’re hiring to gain referrals.

Offer your assistance by making introductions or reviewing résumés. Be active on LinkedIn and reach out to candidates with care to make the most of the engagement.

4. Be transparent about the company you’re recruiting for

Following a layoff, it’s understandable for candidates to want to ensure it will not happen to them again. Candidates may have less trust in employers. Be ready to discuss the financial climate and longevity of the company you’re recruiting for.

Prepare to answer some tough questions, and refrain from making promises about the company not having layoffs in the future. Be as transparent as you can to share how the business is doing based on data and not just from your perspective. Highlight the importance of the role you’re recruiting for to the success of the organization and its long-term plans.

5. Listen carefully to determine the fit

Recruiters will need to build a strong rapport before a recently laid-off candidate opens up. Candidates won’t want to talk themselves out of a job, so you need to spend sufficient time connecting with them and asking the right questions. Ensure the role truly matches their experience and interests. And always be transparent if a role isn’t a match.

There are times when I’ve needed to tell a candidate a role isn’t a match for one reason or another. Many companies have policies about giving feedback, so be sure to know what you can and cannot say to candidates. Active job seekers may be more sensitive to rejection, so always do this with care.

6. Provide interview guidance and support

Getting laid off can also lead a person to question their skillset and talent, so be sure that the candidate knows why they were selected to interview for the role.

Always help candidates by telling them about the full interview process and how to prepare. I’ve had multiple cases where I’ve worked with candidates who had never completed a formal interview or had not done so in a long time. Every organization has its own interview process and style. Provide support for those who’ve been away from interviewing for a while.

7. Don’t negatively single out candidates who were laid off

Thankfully, job seekers are no longer heavily scrutinized or made to feel ashamed of a layoff. These events are so common that recruiters and hiring managers have likely experienced one or two themselves and are therefore more understanding.

Unfortunately, depending on your team, you may find there’s still some hesitation about employees who have been laid off. I’ve heard hiring managers question a person’s talent or request backdoor reference checks when that’s not the standard process.

Know your candidates’ qualifications well and be able to advocate for them. You may need to work a little harder to understand specific concerns and make sure the process remains consistent so nobody is singled out. If a person has been referred, always share this as well since this is typically a top resource for hiring.

Recruiting laid-off talent can be a huge win for your business, and recruiters should approach the process carefully to recruit and hire the right person. And always provide a positive candidate experience.

Read the original article on Business Insider