How to Recruit Top Talent Amid an Uncertain Economic Landscape

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Companies are facing new challenges while trying to attract top talent in a shaky economic climate. With inflation climbing at historical rates, the Fed raising interest rates, and workplaces and the economy reeling from the dramatic shifts brought by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the pandemic, workers are facing unprecedented levels of burnout  and personal financial stress. 

On average, about 22 million people quit their job in the United States each month in 2022. To keep up with this demand, employers in every industry need to alter their hiring and retention strategies to determine the best ways to recruit top talent. 

So how do you recruit and retain A-Players for your team in the face of economic forces macro and personal? Well, there’s good news and challenging news. The good news – for recruiters and hiring managers in general – is that you may find it easier to attract top talent for your company right now. Lots of skilled workers are looking for new roles.

The challenges lie in making sure you hire and compensate employees thoughtfully and strategically to put your team in a better position for the long run, not just for now. It’s expensive to onboard new hires – a good strategy to retain new talent will help your company thrive  long-term.

Understand What Motivates Job Seekers

The first step in recruiting top talent during economic uncertainty is understanding potential hires’ needs and motivations. This will help you figure out what tools will help you effectively entice job seekers to your company. 

The economic climate means that a lot of talented people are entering the market who might otherwise stick to their current roles. They may be nervous about their company’s financial health and planning for a way out as a stop-gap, or perhaps they haven’t received a salary increase in a while and inflation has effectively reduced their earnings. That means there is an opportunity for recruiters who can potentially offer solutions for these pain points. 

Right now is a great time for employers to snag incredible new hires. While your salary offers may not have to climb as high to compete with competitors at the moment, it’s important to keep in mind that employees (and productivity) are strongly affected by personal financial wellness , so compensation packages and benefits offered by your company should be fair and reflect the skills and talents your hire brings to the team. If you lowball a new hire by too much, they might jump ship as soon as they get a more lucrative offer. 

Job seekers are motivated by more than simple salary packages, however. Employees want to know that you have their best interests at heart as well. Employers can support employees by offering innovative health opportunities, charitable giving through work, and financial wellness support programs that go beyond a paycheck. 

Foster a Culture of Growth

Work culture is paramount for job seekers. We spend significant amounts of time with our coworkers – even virtual coworkers – and need to feel confident about working positively with them to reach goals and puzzle through complex tasks.

Culture can be promoted in a variety of ways, from improving communication strategies at every level to offering company retreats or perks that support mental well-being and team cohesiveness. These perks don’t have to be costly for your company – and a little investment in programs that honor the fact that all of your team members are humans with complex lives can go a long way to increasing productivity and loyalty. Learning opportunities can also attract new hires and keep them engaged once they’re on the team.

Your new hires provide value for your company. And your company should provide value for them in return. For some companies, that compensation is primarily financial. For others, it might be offering a new recruit the chance to cut their teeth in a smaller team and grow into a new title or role – something they might not be able to access in a larger company or in their current position. 

Garry Tan famously tweeted in 2021, “At every job you should either learn or earn. Either is fine. Both is best. But if it’s neither, quit.” According to High Point University’s C-Suite  poll, employees with a growth mindset, those who accept feedback, and those who have good people skills are better equipped for success in general and adding to their company’s value in particular. 

So, how do you provide value through growth opportunities? First, hire for “soft” skills: reliability, motivation, and a willingness to improve over time. A bit of curiosity and interest in leadership doesn’t hurt. Then, identify and nurture pathways for growth within your company. Set up mentor-mentee opportunities. Provide optional training for employees who want to improve their skills or shift to new roles within your team. 

You could also offer flexible hours for employees who want to take courses or enroll in training programs on their own. A little upfront investment in your people will pay off in loyalty and productivity over time. When employees feel cared for by their employer, they are more likely to stick around and make meaningful contributions. And the prospect of opportunities like these is attractive for potential new hires.

Learn How to Recruit Top Talent – And Value – Long Term

There’s a lot of opportunity right now to bring top talent to even smaller teams, and this can increase the value of your company over time if you approach your hiring strategically. There are several benefits to offer your team to improve retention. 

1. Offer Flexibility and Remote Work Options

Remote work is here to stay, and for many employees allows for increased productivity, without the distractions of an office environment. Remote options also reduce company overhead and employee spending on transportation. The time and cost savings alone make remote work worth it. 

2. Remember Value Goes Beyond Salary

While salary is the foundation of good compensation, employees are driven by purpose and other motivators. Offer teammates meaningful ways to contribute to company growth, and opportunities for personal growth in your company, and they’re more likely to stick around. 

3. Find Cost-Effective Ways to Foster Company Culture

A healthy culture must be thoughtfully grown – it doesn’t just happen on its own. The foundation of good culture is effective and open communication. Beyond that, you can provide opportunities like company outings/team-building retreats, or offer a chance to volunteer or raise money for charity as a team. 

The economic pressures are part of what has driven The Great Resignation and changes in how we work in the 21st century. Companies that fail to understand how to work with these forces risk losing key players and disintegrating as the economy destabilizes. 

Thankfully, we have experience recruiting top talent in challenging times. Learn more about our recruiting solutions to understand how we can help you identify the top talent you can focus on retaining.


Sofia Hernandez has been a senior HR executive at multiple Fortune 500 companies.

By Sofia Hernandez