As we move through 2023, the economic climate is continually uncertain. The Fed is increasing interest rates, inflation is still staggeringly high (though stabilizing as interest rates take effect), layoffs continue, and hiring is slowing.
Understandably, candidates look at the current economic situation with trepidation. Many are less likely to leave a stable job, and those willing to make a change may not be fully aware of all the associated risks.
The job of an experienced recruiter is to ask intelligent questions that help candidates thoroughly think through the process of switching jobs in an economy like this.
In this article, we’ll discuss current hiring trends and the right questions an experienced recruiter will ask.
Hiring Trends Right Now
As of April 2023, hiring continues to be on a slow decline. Across all industries, hiring decreased 0.6% in March and is down 28.2% year-over-year. The 0.6% decrease is the smallest seen in the past 11 months, so the hiring slowdown seems to be…slowing down.
Time-to-hire is also down, averaging 97.1 days in January 2022 compared to 81.1 days in March 2023. This itself may seem like a good thing. While it can be, it can also signal a larger problem: urgency to fill open positions before hiring freezes take effect in anticipation of a recession.
Candidates-per-hire, or the number of available, qualified workers for a given job opening, increased dramatically from 84.4 in January 2022 to 136.6 in March 2023; though it did dip slightly, down from 141.5 in February 2023.
Big picture: hiring itself is decreasing, but time-to-hire is down and there are a lot of candidates per open role.
These factors combined paint the picture that hiring teams aren’t getting the resources they need.
Companies may be preparing to slow hiring to deal with higher costs and a looming economic recession – if they haven’t done so already. As such, understaffed hiring teams are moving as fast as possible to fill critical positions, perhaps sacrificing some due diligence along the way.
It’s worth noting that employees are also very aware of this data, and when they look at the job market, most anticipate uncertainty. LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Survey found that US workers’ confidence about “holding or finding a job has also declined since April 2022,” although it did see a slight increase in March 2023.
To convince a candidate to leave their current job amidst times of uncertainty, recruiters will need to be extra diligent. This means asking the right questions so candidates know the risks associated with leaving a job; recruiters will also need to assess a candidate’s ability to leave their current position based on extraneous factors (family, finances, etc.).
Uncertain economies aren’t the time to sacrifice due diligence when evaluating candidates, so an experienced recruiter is essential.
Related: 2023 US Labor Market Guide: Comprehensive Overview and Market Predictions
The Importance of Helping Candidates Evaluate Risk
Times of economic uncertainty require recruiters to ask questions that help candidates gauge risks associated with leaving their current job.
This must be done as early in the process as possible, and the goal is not to convince the candidate to take an open role at any cost. Instead, recruiters should form an open dialogue that ensures the candidate understands potential risks and is serious about moving forward.
Failure to ask the right questions early in the process can result in the recruiter going through the entire hiring process only to see the candidate think through the risks on their own right before the offer or start-date phase.
Overwhelming feelings of doubt arise, but, at this point, the candidate will question the motives of the recruiter and may be less likely to listen to their input. They may worry that the recruiter is simply saying whatever it takes to close the deal. This results in a lose-lose for all, where a qualified candidate backs out at the last minute because the recruiter didn’t do proper due diligence at the start.
The Right Questions To Ask
The best recruiters know what questions to ask when it comes to helping candidates assess risk. These “right questions” help candidates think holistically about a career change while simultaneously allowing the recruiter to gauge how serious the candidate is.
Seasoned recruiters will help candidates think through the following when it comes to switching jobs during uncertain economic times:
- Are my finances in the right place?
- How stable is this new company?
- How does my spouse feel about this change?
- Will this change affect my children?
- Who will I be working with at the new company? Do I like them?
- Is now the right time to leave my current company?
Experienced recruiters know that this is not a sales game. It’s not about closing the deal at any cost – quite the opposite. This is about understanding that candidates likely need help from someone experienced to think through risks they could otherwise overlook.
Asking smart questions creates a win-win for all. Recruiters understand which candidates are serious; candidates are fully aware of the risks involved and avoid unpleasant surprises that may cause them to back out far into the process.
The Importance of an Experienced Recruiting Partner
No recruiter can close all candidates, but a highly experienced recruiter will identify and address risks early on. Doing so keeps candidates happy and ensures they don’t back out far into the process, as that would cost your company lots of time and money.
The best recruiters balance doing their job well with being human. They ask the right questions to identify a candidate’s motives and help them properly assess the situation.
Jennings Executive has over two decades of combined experience asking the right questions. We know how to help candidates assess risk so we can identify who’s serious about working for your company. Contact us today and minimize the uncertainties of hiring in today’s market.
Related: Quiet Hiring: What Is It, Where It Comes From, And How It Benefits Us All