Choosing a recruitment system in an economic downturn needn't be complicated.

8 factors when choosing a recruitment system in an economic downturn

Kimberly Groat
20 Nov
Reading time: 7 minutes
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With talk of a downward turn in the economy becoming more frequent (see here, here and here) you start looking at ways to cut costs now. When we’re talking about a tool critical to your team’s roles, there are several factors worth keeping in mind.

Some factors, such as price, remain the same regardless of when you’re looking to make a recruitment system purchase. Others, such as the ability to deal with an increased volume of candidates may not always be necessary.

Here are 8 factors to consider when selecting a recruitment system in an economic downturn.

1. The cost of the recruitment system

There’s no getting around it. The cost of your recruitment management system plays a pretty big part in making the right decision. Expensive holidays, clothing and Netflix tend to get the boot when family budgets are tightened during a downturn. So too, do expensive recruitment systems for recruitment agencies and in-house teams. With rapidly shrinking budgets, you need an online recruitment system that allows the team to continue their day-to-day tasks without the eye-watering cost.

Something else to consider: make sure that the system you decide on has a flexible pricing model that works for you. Does it contract and expand according to your needs? Jobadder’s cloud-based solution allows for a per person pricing model and with no tie-in contracts.

2. The ability to deal with an increased volume of candidate traffic

Consider Newton’s third law of physics which states, that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. What happens when a tightening of the market results in a loss of jobs? You guessed it. An exponential increase in candidates!

When your recruiting team is inundated with candidate queries anxiously waiting for a response, it can become stressful very quickly. Does your current system allow you to automate some of your team’s efforts so they can focus on business goals? In a downturn, the focus tends to move away from candidate management. But you can play the long game by automating those functions that take up valuable time such as scheduling interviews, posting to job boards, inputting candidate records or sourcing/search activities. Work smarter, not harder.

3. A move away from permanent roles

When your clients’ needs change, your recruitment system should be able to change with them. That could mean a shift from permanent roles to contracting or temp work. In an economic downturn, there’s a tendency for companies to take a position of caution and freeze permanent job postings. They focus on more flexible work options if hiring is required.

Your recruitment system should address this sector’s needs, including timesheet management for contractors. Can your candidates update their own profile to let you know they are actively seeking work? Can temps or contractors easily inform you of their day to day availability?  

4. Capitalising on competitors

An economic contraction is a chance for you to capitalise on competitors. A strong employer brand will set you apart if you happen to be a lesser-known brand. While this should be ongoing, employer branding has a tendency to take a backseat when faced with other priorities. Your recruiting solution should enable you to keep on top of your employer brand and be consistent in your messaging.

For in-house human resource teams, this can mean the difference between job seekers choosing your company or another. Meanwhile, staffing and recruitment firms benefit from creating a value proposition that resonates with potential clients seeking an alternative solution.

There is never a time when you shouldn’t focus on your candidates. There’s an increase of talented job seekers on the market during an economic decline. Recruitment companies and corporate teams would do well to develop and nurture talent pools during their application process. This ensures they’re able to offer the best candidates when the good times roll back again. Candidates have a long memory, they will remember if you treated them poorly.   

5. Ease of use

When time is money, it’s imperative your recruitment system is simple to use. You don’t want to waste valuable recruiter time figuring out a complex or clunky system.

A key aspect should be the support you receive when you sign on as a customer. Regardless of whether you get round-the-clock service, it’s the quality of the support that will matter most. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • How many people address your issue before it is solved?
  • How long does it take to have your support ticket picked up?
  • How friendly and responsive are the staff to deal with?
  • Does your issue actually get resolved?

And here’s something else to keep in mind. Great support service doesn’t need to cost the earth. In fact, it shouldn’t cost anything at all, so question any support that is offered as an add-on.

6. Maximise investment without expensive add-ons.

This is an extension of the support mentioned above which, as I suggested, you shouldn’t have to pay additionally for.

Yet it goes beyond this. The recruitment system you choose needs to ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Your select system’s core offerings should include features such as electronic signatures, offer approvals and SMS texting. These are key to creating a recruitment process that gets results.

7. Quick to set up and integrate into your environment

Time is money. Whether you’re an agency recruiter dealing with a corporate client or an in-house recruiter dealing with a hiring manager. You need a recruitment solution that is quick to set up and integrate into your current environment.

Efficient migration of your database means less time being wasted that should be spent achieving business goals. The hiring process during a downturn can take significantly longer, not least because of an influx of candidates. It is, therefore, crucial that the recruitment system you choose doesn’t unnecessarily slow down your hiring process.

8. Ability to nurture candidates through the bad times

I touched on this earlier when I spoke about capitalising on your competitors but it’s an important one to stress. You need a system that lets you nurture your candidates even if you can’t provide them with a job offer. Candidate nurturing during lean times means better options to present to clients or hiring managers when hiring freezes are over.

What should your system be able to do?

  • It should allow you to maintain communications with candidates via automation that doesn’t require a great deal of manual thought.
  • It should allow a candidate to update their profile, status and communication preferences so you can adjust your nurturing strategy accordingly.
  • Allow SMS texting to quickly communicate with candidates and enable you to develop an ongoing dialogue.

The option to bypass an applicant tracking system and go back to basics with old-fashioned hiring spreadsheets is always available. And, depending on the size of your agency, may even be a viable one. Despite the ease of use, spreadsheets become a drain on resources and wastes time precisely when these are most needed.

It can be business as usual during a downturn. Just make sure that the recruitment system you choose helps rather than hampers you during this crucial period.

Has this article made you question whether you’re using the right recruitment software? Contact us for a demo of JobAdder to see how your needs during an economic downturn can still be met.

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