The Great Hesitation: What Companies Need to Know About Hiring

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Many businesses have been waiting for the end of the Great Resignation, but now they find themselves amid the Great Hesitation. Many companies are closely watching the economy and the job market to determine what the next step should be for their company. 

Should they have a hiring freeze? Take advantage of this time to hire new talent? Or lay off some employees? 

If this sounds like questions you’ve been asking yourself at your own company, keep reading to find out what you should do in the middle of the Great Hesitation. 

What Is the Great Hesitation?

According to’s September 2022 Recruiter Index Results, September was the first month that hiring slowed down. Out of all the recruiters that we surveyed, none of them said that the roles they were recruiting for were brand new roles. Most of the jobs they were recruiting for were existing jobs that still hadn’t found the right hire. 

Now, recruiters are spending more time backfilling roles that had opened while rapidly hiring. One of the reasons that hiring has slowed since the height of the Great Resignation is that many companies are waiting. They watch the job market before making any decisions about firing or hiring. 

Many economic experts are still predicting that a recession will happen soon if it hasn’t happened already. This is due to the high inflation, causing many people to cut back their spending. The ripple effects are being felt throughout the market. However, despite these issues, many open job numbers exist, and the job market is still showing healthy signs. 

While the economy is slowing down, the labor market is still hot. In September, there 263,000 jobs were added. Many economists predicted this number, showing that companies aren’t immediately delaying hiring. However, it is the lowest monthly total compared to the past two years. But it’s still within a healthy range. This signals that many businesses are moving forward with expanding their business, regardless of the expected uncertainty in 2023. 

While many news headlines are detailing new layoffs, there aren’t as many unemployment claims that correlate with these reports. These claims are still deficient and aren’t any worse than they were in 2019. In 2019, the average unemployment claim was 218,000  weekly, which was a very tight market. The latest report showed 228,000 new unemployment claims for the week. So while we might be in a similar situation as we were at the start of the pandemic, many companies aren’t worrying just yet. 

Evan Sohn, CEO of, commented on this current phenomenon in the job market: “It’s the Great Hesitation. We have a hiring freeze; companies don’t want to hire and they don’t want to fire. They spent all this money on hiring, and are wondering if they really want to lay people off or wait three months from now and see when things start to turn. There’s a hesitation.”

What Should Companies Expect During the Great Hesitation?

During the Great Resignation, companies were struggling to fill their open roles. Some might hope that the Great Hesitation will make it easier to hire top talent. It might be, but it will depend on your hiring industry. 

According to the September 2022 Recruiter Index, the three most active industries in hiring are architecture and engineering, apparel and fashion, and accounting and auditing. The industries that have reduced hiring compared to August were education, recruiting and staffing, and IT and software engineering. 

If hiring engineers, you’ll still see a bit of competition in the race for great talent. However, you might have a better chance of finding top talent if you’re looking to hire recruiters or staffing experts. 

However, keep in mind that candidates are still selective about the jobs they accept. 

“It’s still a candidate’s world. Candidates certainly think it’s still their world in terms of their ability to decide what roles they want,” said Sohn. “Job mobility is not going away anytime soon.”

The recruiters surveyed also noticed more applicants per job posting since the number of open job descriptions is declining. That means that there might be more applicants for each job posting, so companies will have more candidates to choose from. This will ensure that companies have a better chance of finding the right candidate for a position, so companies who weren’t able to hire during the Great Resignation could end up finding the talent they need now. 

But this also means that companies must be equipped to screen all of these candidates to ensure they choose the right one. 

How Should Companies Move Forward?

The first thing that companies will need to do is evaluate their budget and operations. Each company will have different priorities, but in general, the Great Hesitation is a good time for companies to use this time to reflect on their company and their goals for the future.

For example, if you still have a lot of open roles that you’ve been struggling to fill, now might be the perfect opportunity to keep hiring, especially if they are essential. You’ll also want to ensure that if you’re hiring, you have the resources necessary to recruit all of these candidates. 

This might be the best time for companies to invest in recruiting solutions, like’s on-demand recruiters. You can hire these recruiters monthly and avoid the hefty headhunting fees. 

Are there any roles you need to backfill to help you get through a tough economic time? Are there any employees who have been repeatedly underperforming and don’t show any signs of improving? 

Many companies will think about the Great Hesitation in terms of either hiring or waiting, but it can be a mix of both. You can scale back your hiring efforts while capitalizing on this opportunity to get talent that wasn’t available beforehand. 

Companies must remember that even if there is an inevitable recession in the future market, it won’t last forever. The companies that performed best  in past recessions were the ones that focused on their long-term goals. While you need to ensure that you have enough money to make it in the long run, you want to have great talent that will help your company get through the recession. 

If you’re looking for affordable recruiting solutions that can help your business grow while also being careful during these uncertain times, has the solutions that you need. Contact us today to find out how our on-demand recruiting can help you.


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By Alyssa Harmon