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Employment Branding > Survey Results > Talent Acquisition

Snatching up layoffs: other companies’ losses are your gain

There’s a great scene in When Harry Met Sally when Meg Ryan’s title character is having lunch with her girlfriends Marie and Alice, and she breaks the news that she and her long-time boyfriend, Joe, broke up. Immediately, of course, Alice exhibits sympathy, but Carrie Fisher’s reaction as Marie is priceless: “You mean Joe’s available?”

Oh, Marie, if only hiring managers today thought the way you do. 

While Marie’s not the most sympathetic character, homegirl knows how the dating game is played – and won (at least in the world of romantic comedies).  A good man is hard to find, and sometimes you have to wait for someone else to let him go.  The same goes for recruiting.

The employment industry is an interesting phase right now, where the economic situation that’s forcing some companies to lay people off is presenting an opportunity for businesses looking to grow – or simply improve – their staffs.  

While managers would like to believe that they lay off the weakest employees, that’s not always the case.  In many companies, internal policies place outstanding employees on the street looking for new opportunities.

Last month, CareerBuilder.com released a survey revealing that employers are leveraging the softer job market to strengthen their staffs, replacing lower-performing employees with new, better talent.  On the flip side, the economy is spurring currently employed workers to quietly look for other jobs in preparation for layoffs at their own workplace.  

If you’re looking to improve your talent pool, now is the time to step up your branding and recruiting efforts to sink your claws into snatch up quality candidates – whether recently laid off or currently employed but looking – before someone else does. 

So, how do you seize the opportunity?

First, you need to make your hiring desire visible to job seekers.  Advertise your open positions, targeting one job per advertisement.  (Posting one ad that says, “We’re hiring for these 12 jobs,” for example, will only turn potential applicants off.)  Also, if you’re advertising for a position to replace someone, you probably want to keep a low profile.  Fortunately, several job sites enable you to advertise jobs without revealing your company name, and if you’re advertising in print, you can always use a P.O. Box to collect resumes instead of your street address.

Second, protect your company by accumulating data that supports why you may need to let certain people go.  Performance improvement plans are a good way to do this.  (And be careful not to tick off your workers, because you might not find someone better for every position you are targeting right away.)

Finally, be thoughtful and thorough when making the decision to hire.  Don’t let your eagerness to replace someone cause you to make a hasty decision.  If you play the market right, you’re likely to find people who will become your top performers.

Of course, there are countless resources out there for ways to enhance your recruiting and branding efforts, and every company is different in its needs.  What about you?  Are you enhancing or rethinking your recruiting strategy as a result of the current economic climate? If so, what has/hasn’t worked for you?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
2 comments
Michael
Michael

I just made an offer to a guy who was slated to be laid off in about 3 weeks. In this case, I got to him before he was given the pink slip. He seemed pretty happy that he got to resign rather than the alternative. Keeping my fingers crossed that he will be good for our company.

Michael
Michael

I just made an offer to a guy who was slated to be laid off in about 3 weeks. In this case, I got to him before he was given the pink slip. He seemed pretty happy that he got to resign rather than the alternative. Keeping my fingers crossed that he will be good for our company.

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  1. [...] months ago, I wrote a post about how other companies’ losses can be a recruiter’s gain.  That is to say, the employee that one downsizing company is forced to let go can be another [...]

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